The bishops of Illinois, led by Cardinal George, have issued a strong statement in response to the news that Catholic governor Pat Quinn will grant an award at an event hosted by a pro-abortion political organization:
We have recently been made aware of Governor Quinn’s decision to present a Pro-Choice Leadership Award at an upcoming event for a political organization known as Personal PAC. This organization describes itself as a “political action committee (PAC) dedicated to electing pro-choice candidates to state and local office in Illinois.” Personal PAC has raised and spent millions of dollars in this effort and supports the lobbying efforts of Planned Parenthood in Springfield.
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. 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.
The next two paragraphs are even stronger (emphasis mine):
Pope John Paul II asked in his Letter to Families (1994), “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, he promotes them and publicly presents awards to their advocates. This approach is irreconcilable with any honest profession of the Catholic faith. While we deeply regret and oppose his actions, we continue to pray for his conversion and the protection of unborn human life.
To our Catholic institutions statewide, 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.
A local reporter followed up with the Archdiocese about whether this statement means Gov. Quinn is now barred from receiving Communion. A spokesperson responded (again, emphasis mine):
The Catholic dioceses in the state have policies prohibiting any politician who has voted in favor of policies that go against the Church’s teaching from speaking at or receiving an award from a Catholic institution, like at a school.
The bishops have not banned Quinn from receiving Communion. An individual priest could make the decision not to give Quinn Communion.
I’m curious to see how canon lawyers react to this statement. My simple question is, what more could Gov. Quinn possibly do for the bishops to officially bar him from receiving Communion? (UPDATE — my father, canon lawyer Ed Peters, has posted his comment.)
Governor Quinn also has signed into law Illinois’ bad same-sex civil unions bill which is directly responsible for excluding Catholic adoption agencies in the state from caring for foster kids. So when it comes to the Church’s fundamental teachings, he’s a repeat offender.
Good for the bishops of Illinois!