* Cardinal George and the rest of the state’s Catholic bishops issued a press release this afternoon blasting Gov. Pat Quinn…
We have recently been made aware of Governor Quinn’s decision to present a Pro-Choice Leadership Award at an upcoming event for a political organization known as Personal PAC. This organization describes itself as a “political action committee (PAC) dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois.” Personal PAC has raised and spent millions of dollars in this effort and supports the lobbying efforts of Planned Parenthood in Springfield.
We deeply regret the Governor’s decision to present this award, which so closely associates him with a political action group whose purpose is contrary to the common good. With this action, Governor Quinn has gone beyond a political alignment with those supporting the legal right to kill children in their mother’s wombs to rewarding those deemed most successful in this terrible work.
They’re obviously very upset about this Personal PAC event. But check out the next two paragraphs…
Pope John Paul II asked in his Letter to Families (1994), “How can one morally accept laws that permit the killing of a human being not yet born, but already alive in the mother’s womb?” Governor Quinn not only accepts these laws, he promotes them and publicly presents awards to their advocates. This approach is irreconcilable with any honest profession of the Catholic faith. While we deeply regret and oppose his actions, we continue to pray for his conversion and the protection of unborn human life.
To our Catholic institutions statewide, we reaffirm our desire and policies that those acting in the manner of the Governor should not be given special recognition on Church property or at functions held in support of Church ministry. [Emphasis added.]
* Not being a Catholic myself, I asked the Catholic Conference for a clarification, including whether this somehow meant Gov. Quinn would be barred from receiving communion. A spokesperson responded…
The Catholic dioceses in the state have policies prohibiting any politician who has voted in favor of policies that go against the Church’s teaching from speaking at or receiving an award from a Catholic institution, like at a school.
The bishops have not banned Quinn from receiving Communion. An individual priest could make the decision not to give Quinn Communion.
The bishops’ statement further underscore existing policy, and expresses extreme disappointment in Quinn’s intention to give out the Personal PAC award.
It seems highly irregular for a sitting governor to give out an award on behalf of any Political Action Committee.
Quinn is also involved in a lawsuit over his administration’s refusal to allow Catholic Charities to continue doing adoption and foster care services as long as the institution won’t work with gay parents in civil unions. A major fight has been building for some time now.
* The AP talked to Personal PAC’s Terry Cosgrove…
Cosgrove says the bishops should not try to “enforce their religious dogma” on a woman’s private decision and asked them to join in efforts to promote contraception and sex education that would lower the number of unwanted pregnancies.
I’ll let you know if the governor’s office responds.
*** UPDATE 1 *** From the governor’s office…
The governor is scheduled to attend, but on the political side. [The event is] Not on state calendar.
Quinn is presenting an award to a victim of sexual assault who is also a rape victim advocate.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From Personal PAC…
A few minutes ago, the Catholic Conference of Illinois released a statement to the press attacking Personal PAC, Governor Quinn and the reproductive rights of all Illinois women. The Bishops’ objection stems from our support of Governor Quinn and all other candidates who stand on the side of women in believing that the profoundly personal decision to use birth control and seek a legal abortion should rest with women, and not politicians. The Bishops take issue with Governor Quinn attending our Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, November 17th. In their statement about our luncheon, the Bishops state “With this action, Governor Quinn has gone beyond a political alignment with those supporting the legal right to kill children in their mother’s wombs to rewarding those deemed most successful in this terrible work.”
While I don’t expect the Bishops to apologize for this inflammatory and outrageous language accusing women of killing children, I do hope that each of you, and everyone you know, will join us at the luncheon to demonstrate that we fully support elected officials who refuse to back down in the face of threats. The absolute best response we can have for the Bishops is to pack the Hilton Ballroom on November 17th and show them that we intend to protect the reproductive rights of EVERY woman in the State of Illinois.