Bishops blast Catholic governor's role in abortion award ceremony
By Benjamin Mann
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn

.- Illinois' six Catholic bishops have deplored Catholic governor Pat Quinn's role as the presenter of a “Pro-Choice Leadership Award” at an abortion advocacy group's upcoming ceremony.

“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 six bishops said in a Nov. 2 statement released by the Catholic Conference of Illinois. 

“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.”

An Oct. 27 e-mail from the abortion advocacy group Personal PAC announced that the Catholic governor “will present Jennie Goodman, Pro-Choice Leadership Award recipient, with the 2011 Award at its Annual Luncheon” on Nov. 17.

The announcement asks supporters to “join Personal PAC and over 1,000 other people in thanking Jennie for her courage and leadership on behalf of the women of Illinois!”

Personal PAC describes itself as a “political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois.”

Tickets prices for its 18th annual awards luncheon range from $150 to $5,000. Table service at the event is available at $2,500, $5,000, and $10,000 levels.

The Illinois bishops, including Chicago's Cardinal Archbishop Francis E. George and Springfield's Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, quoted a 1994 statement of Blessed John Paul II  in their reaction to Governor Quinn's involvement.

The late Pope, they recalled, “asked in his 'Letter to Families,' '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,” the bishops stated, “he promotes them and publicly presents awards to their advocates.”

“This approach is irreconcilable with any honest profession of the Catholic faith.”

The bishops said they would “continue to pray for (Quinn's) conversion, and the protection of unborn human life.”

Meanwhile, they declared that “those acting in the manner of the governor” should not be honored “on Church property or at functions held in support of Church ministry.”

Previously, Governor Quinn drew a sharp response from Bishop Paprocki, for saying in November 2010 that his “religious faith” moved him to support a same-sex civil unions law. 

On that occasion, Bishop Paprocki – whose diocese includes the state capitol – said the governor's motivation was “certainly not the Catholic faith,” which “does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.”

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