It’s hard to imagine the likes of Illinois governor Pat Quinn and his latest foray into the absurd. What is even more disgusting is the politically motivated response to Quinn from the Illinois Catholic Conference.
So what’s the beef?
Governor Quinn recently announced that, on November 17, he will be presenting an award during a luncheon sponsored by Personal PAC, a pro-abortion, non-partisan political action committee.
Quinn’s argument in defense of his decision is that it is the “proper, Christian thing to do.” The female recipient, Jennie Goodman, to whom Quinn is presenting the award is a victim of rape who, according to Quinn, is a very strong advocate for helping women who have been sexually assaulted. But regardless of this woman’s heroism and desire to help other victims, the point is that even though Goodman did not have to choose to abort her own child because she did not get pregnant as a result of the rape, she associates herself with a state-wide pro-abortion organization. She appeared in a political ad prior to the last election, speaking out as a victim of rape and against the pro-life Republican running against Quinn.
In that ad Goodman states, “Forcing a rape victim to carry a pregnancy is unthinkable and scares me to death.” In other words, Goodman is committed to abortion.
In response to the public defiance exhibited by Quinn, the Illinois bishops issued a statement denouncing Quinn’s decision and reaffirming their position that pro-abortion politicians like Quinn should not “be given special recognition on Church property or at functions held in support of Church ministry.”
After the November 2 statement was made by the bishops, the media went into a veritable frenzy, accusing the bishops of lacking all compassion and stated that they should be “listening” instead of “lecturing.” The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Personal PAC president, Terry Cosgrove as saying, “The Catholic bishops attacking him for that and accusing women of killing their children is a new low in public discourse, even for them.” The fact that the bishops made no such accusation against women appears to mean little to Cosgrove; the accusations are what matters, not the facts.
In response to these confrontational comments aimed at Catholic bishops who speak out, the media reported that Cardinal George “regrets rape victim Jennie Goodman felt hurt by a statement he and other bishops issued last week criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn for agreeing to give her an award at an abortion-rights event, but George said they were unaware of Goodman or her background before they released the statement.” Further, the cardinal explained that the statement was about the governor, not the victim of rape.
But what is lost in this story about a pro-death Catholic governor and his shepherds is that the Illinois bishops failed to make it clear to Quinn that the seriousness of his behavior is such that he not only must not receive Holy Communion until he repents, but that if he does attempt to receive the sacrament, he will be denied. In addition, the bishops could have made it crystal clear that Quinn’s actions are tantamount to egregiously insulting Christ.
Thus far, however, the Illinois Catholic bishops have not taken this approach. Instead we find politically-fashioned white noise coming forth from the very Catholic leaders who could have provided a remarkable example of heroic defense of Catholic teaching despite the media circus. After all, at the end of the day it is souls and their salvation that matters most to bishops—right?