Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is coming under fire from the Catholic bishops in his state for agreeing to present a leadership award for a pro-abortion group.
Quinn agreed to present an award at a November 17 event sponsored by Personal PAC, a pro-abortion political action committee that supports pro-abortion candidates in Illinois and also gave nearly $500,000 to Quinn’s election campaign in 2010 in cash and campaign support. The Catholic Conference of Illinois has condemned Quinn, saying the award honors those “supporting the legal right to kill children in their mothers’ wombs.”
“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,” the Illinois Catholic bishops said in a joint statement in response to the news Quinn would give the award. “With this action, Gov. 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.”
The statement stated “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.” Cardinal Francis George and the and bishops from the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford, Belleville and Joliet dioceses signed it.
Quinn’s office defended his appearance, according to the Chicago Sun Times, and said “The governor is attending Personal PAC’s annual lunch, and will be presenting a leadership award to a woman who is a rape survivor and preeminent advocate for victims of rape.”
The newspaper also said Personal PAC president Terry Cosgrove has attacked the bishops for condemning Quinn’s decision and said they were just upset that Quinn beat pro-life state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in last year’s election.
“The governor is saying a few kind words about a woman who has been raped and had the courage to tell her story,” he said. “The Catholic Bishops attacking him for that and accusing women of killing their children is a new low in public discourse, even for them.”
“They’re getting bent out of shape because of the whole Brady thing. Everyone is still resentful that Personal PAC played a big role in getting Pat Quinn elected,” Cosgrove said.
But Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeNews he supports Cardinal Francis George and the five Illinois bishops.
“We at Priests for Life thank the bishops of Illinois for their clear and firm stand in regard to Gov. Quinn,” Father Pavone said. “The faithful around the country are encouraged by actions like these that not only protect the integrity of the Church’s witness to her teachings, but also save human lives. The Governor’s actions not only contradict Catholic teaching; they contradict the meaning of public office. We need public servants who can tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public.”
“Moreover, as a worldwide network of priests, the Priests for Life association is ready to help our brother priests to carry out the policy articulated by the bishops, and to do so in a way that is clear and compassionate,” he said.
ACTION: Contact Governor Quinn at http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx to complain.