Governor Pat Quinn Has Face-to-Face with Cardinal George to discuss “Faith, Conscience, Common Good”

The Chicago Tribune:

Gov. Pat Quinn met with Cardinal Francis George and other area Catholic leaders today to try to clear the air after some recent public disagreements.

Quinn, a practicing Catholic, met privately with George and bishops at the Union League Club in the Loop. With reporters waiting outside two of the doors to the club, the governor quickly ducked into a car at a third entrance without commenting after spending about two hours inside.

George spoke briefly to reporters after the sit-down, saying it was “a pastoral meeting, so we raised pastoral issues that aren’t directly political, and in that sense it was a personal meeting that we agreed would remain a pastoral conversation.”

… The cardinal said today’s meeting took place at Quinn’s invitation.

“I think we shared some concerns on both sides,” George said. “It was a friendly and open meeting, but it was pastoral. So it was on faith and conscience, and the way in which the church engages in public life for the common good.”

Well, it’s good to see that the meeting happened. On another level, however, this gives Governor Quinn even less excuse to claim he is ignorant of the Church’s teaching and less ability to claim his public positions are in harmony with his Catholic faith. Dialogue is not an end in itself. Still, we should continue to pray that he experiences a conversion of heart before the situation further deteriorates.




  • Kevin

    Actually, the press in Chicago is reporting that the majority of this meeting concerned how Church and State government can best work together to alleviate the plight of the poor in these days of horrific economic hardship.

    That’s a WHOLE lot more important than who is loving whom.

  • charlie

    The man with the red needed to limit the conversation with the governor to one question, and one question only; a question that the Cardinal’s Boss (and ours) ask every man, particularly those in positions of power: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and then lose his soul”

  • charlie

    Perhaps (and hopefully so) the man, who is priveleged by Jesus Christ to wear that red hat, handed a copy of “The Life of St. Thomas More” to the Catholic governor. Enough said!!

  • Jamie West

    I don’t think Governor Quinn has ever claimed to be ignorant of the Church’s teaching. He just understands that he was elected to represent all the people of the state, not just Catholics. As such, he has a duty to do what is right for all people, not to use his position to force Catholic morality and religious beliefs on all people.

    • Jeannine

      An elected official has a duty to uphold the inalienable rights of all his constituents esp the innocent & defenseless. It has nothing to do w/a particular religion. It is Gov Quinn who is choosing to represent only those who agree w/his inconsistent belief system & screw everyone else.

    • faith and reason

      Dear Jamie,

      The question is not whether or not the Cardinal wants to force Catholic teaching via lawmakers and politicians. The fundamental question is: What minimally is the moral responsibility of Quinn, a responsibility that is rooted in reason accessible to all human beings? The Christian believes that faith enables “reason” to be itself. The heritage of faith which Quinn professes appeals to reason, which implies responsibility toward others, especially others one is appointed to serve in civic society. The person who professes the Catholic faith must work in favor of what is reasonable and all things that are rational. Faith demands that reason be reasonable and not skewed so that one may perform one’s civic duty for the good of the community. A person of faith, like Quinn, knows that he must respect the freedom of others and their dignity, and since he is in the political arena, he would be good to say, “Such and such is good for our community because it is reasonable” not “Such and such is good for our community because the Church teaches it.” Reasonable arguments must be his tool. This is why Quinn needed to meet with his bishop, so that whatever philosophy of ethics he is operating on would be in harmony with his ethic of faith. Reason and faith can both reasonably exist in harmony, without at the same time imposing Catholic teaching (like making laws that everyone must believe in the Trinity to be American). So when something related to abortion comes up, Quinn has a responsibility to be reasonable. And because he is both a public figure and a Catholic, Quinn’s bishop has the responsibility to help Quinn be reasonable. Rational arguments for the existence of a human being from the moment of conception, and thus the right to be treated as a citizen with full protection under the law, is something that can be argued from reason and science, and not faith. But, because Quinn professes to be Catholic, if he does something public that is, according to reason, based on a faulty ethic on life (like giving a pro-abortion award), and this faulty ethic on life is also contrary to the Church’s ethic on life, and he has a responsibility to be both a good public official and a good Catholic, then a conversation with his bishop is perfectly appropriate. Again, not so the Church can impose itself on the public via Quinn, but to help Quinn merely be reasonable (to respect all human life, and not award those who destroy innocent human life). This is a great example of faith helping reason be reasonable.

  • Matt

    I’m just disappointed that Cardinal George couldn’t be more vocal when Quinn led the movement to end the death penalty in the state. Given the Catechism’s statement on “rare, if ever” need for the death penalty in the current age, I’m afraid the Cardinal comes off to the public as playing politics to a degree from this lack of consistency.



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