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Catholic Charities plans appeal

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011

* After losing a case when the judge declared that it had no “property rights” to a state contract, Catholic Charities plans an appeal that will focus on religious rights to continue to refuse to handle adoptions and foster-care placements involving couples joined under the civil unions law

Peter Breen said the group will ask for a stay of Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt’s Aug. 18 ruling that sided with the state, which severed work with Catholic Charities after the agency refused to recognize Illinois’ civil union law. Breen said the charity also will ask the judge to reconsider, then take the matter to a state appellate court if Schmidt declines. […]

Illinois authorities had said they were canceling the contracts because Catholic Charities’ practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies was discriminatory, a violation of the state’s civil union law. Catholic Charities argued that it was exempt under a provision in the civil unions law that protects religious practices.

Breen said Monday that Catholic Charities will seek a stay to give it time to appeal, believing “the financial impact on the charities of not receiving (such a reprieve) would be catastrophic.” Breen added that the not-for-profit agency’s “main thrust (on appeal) would be that you do not need to hold property in order to exercise religious rights.”

Catholic Charities hopes Schmidt reconsiders his ruling, “particularly on the issue of religious freedom,” Breen said.

* Springfield’s Bishop Thomas John Paprocki pretty well summed up the position of the church

The message from the state of Illinois is simple: Organizations that only place children in accord with their religious beliefs are barred from state contracts – Catholics need not apply.

* A columnist at Catholic Online was far more blunt

[I]f the state of Illinois wanted, it could easily pursue its secularist agenda without forcing Catholic Charities to violate its beliefs or shut down it services.

But the state clearly refuses to do this: the pattern of lies, manipulation, and abuse by the state, reveals an extreme level of intolerance and malevolence toward the Catholic Church and an utter disregard for the children. We need to pray for the welfare of children and religious freedom in our country.

* The Belleville News-Democrat wants the focus put back on the kids

However, just because the state can legally cancel its contract with Catholic Charities doesn’t mean it should.

Catholic Charities has a decades-long track record of providing high-quality services for the children of Illinois at a reasonable price for taxpayers. These agencies combined handle about 20 percent of adoptions and foster care placements in Illinois; more than 600 children are served by Catholic Charities based in Belleville.

Why won’t the Department of Children and Family Services allow a religious exemption? Some other states with same-sex laws including New York do. Gov. Pat Quinn just signed into a law a bill that could allow Amish people to not have their photograph on state IDs, but Illinois can’t accommodate a Catholic group on the issue of civil unions?

Everyone in state government keeps talking about acting in the best interest of the children. Well, it’s in children’s best interest to keep this proven social services network in place.

* And what about those children?

The battle between the Catholic Church and state of Illinois over foster care and adoption services has real-life ramifications for more than 250 East Central Illinois children.

Currently, about 135 children in Champaign County are in foster care homes managed by Catholic Charities, according to state figures. In Vermilion County, the agency oversees 125 foster cases. […]

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the other major provider in this region, has a caseload of 131 in Champaign County and 48 in Vermilion. The remaining cases are handled by DCFS caseworkers directly or other agencies where families may have moved to another county. […]

DCFS will send a team from its licensing division to review the status of every child’s case. At the same time, it will review the capacity and performance of other agencies that may be interested, he said.

“If we get asked, yes we’re interested,” said John Schnier, executive director of Lutheran’s Children’s Community Services. “At this point, nobody’s heard anything from DCFS.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 12:25 pm:

    Jim Leach in Springfield IL had an interesting interview with Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki on 8-26-2011.

    Interesting of note at 8:30 the Bishop said that he felt he had ‘absolutely no problem’ with private agencies or other religious adoption agencies discriminating against Catholic couples by not performing services for Catholic couples.

    In effect the Bishop has no issue with discrimination, as long as it’s only the private sector engaging in it. But the State needs to keep paying money for religious organizations to continue to discriminate against the law.

    Pathetic. These children need better role models than that of what Catholic charities is providing. Discrimination is discrimination. And tax money shouldn’t be used to prop it up.

  2. - L.S. - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    It’s a little over the top to claim that “religious freedom” is at risk here. This is about whether or not public funds can be used in a discriminatory way. C.C. should tone it down and stop with the sky is falling nonsense.

  3. - Its Just Me - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 1:17 pm:

    Catholics should not be complaining of lies and abuse by others. That institution has done nothing but abuse gay couples for decades and bully the gay kids who sit in their pews (not to mention sexually abuse thousands of innocent children and then cover up their abuses).

    It is really easy here, the Catholic Church can continue to discriminate if it wants; it just can’t use taxpayer money to do so.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 1:21 pm:

    –Catholics need not apply.–

    Clearly, Catholics have no clout at all in Illinois government, politics and business.

  5. - Me, Again - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 2:07 pm:

    Catholic Charities has had children REMOVED from gay relatives’ homes and placing them with “good, catholic” homes for adoption. BLOOD relatives who have raised children for YEARS denied the ability to adopt their own grandchildren, nieces, simply because they are gay.

  6. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 10:09 pm:

    Adoptions are more important. The State has its priorities wrong. Kids’ happiness should be the focus. Catholic Charities did far more good than the State has in this area. Catholic Charities do more good than bad.

    This is a harmful and stupid ruling.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 31, 11 @ 8:37 am:

    I cannot stomach bishops and cardinals lecturing on the welfare of children. It ain’t about the money, right?

    Where is the humility after all these years, and all the crimes and suffering aided and abetted by the princes of the church? These sinners reserve the right to pass judgment on other sinners? I can recommend four books — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — that might set them straight.

    The state’s power structure, in politics, government and business, is dominated by former Catholic school boys. Their silence when it comes to the hierarchy’s protests is deafening.

  8. - A few facts - Thursday, Sep 1, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    It is not true that children have ever been removed from gay relative homes. Catholic charities always leaves children with relatives whenever possible. Also, you don’t have to be catholic to be a licensed foster parent for Catholic Charities. It’s only discrimination if Catholic Charities were the only place for someone to become a foster parent. Why would Same sex couples or cohabitating couples seek out a religious institution to work with if they would not feel supported by that institution? it seems those people would be seeking a way to make some money by crying discrimination. It would make more sense to go to an agency that would be supportive of them. Foster parents are joiners in the work, not clients, and not the subject of the contract.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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