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Catholics Praise Gov. Quinn’s Leadership, Reject Bishops’ Condemnation

November 8, 2011

SPRINGFIELD—Following an unprovoked attack from the Catholic Conference of Illinois on Governor Pat Quinn, Catholics for Choice has written to the governor expressing their support for his actions and thanking him for standing up to the local bishops.

Last week, the bishops of Illinois issued a statement condemning Governor Quinn for his plans to present an award to an advocate for rape victims at a ceremony hosted by Personal PAC, a local abortion rights organization.

Governor Quinn, a Catholic, has been a long-standing advocate for women’s health and rights. Through his outspoken support for those who make conscience-based decisions, rather than blindly following the Catholic hierarchy, he has been a model for prochoice Catholic elected officials and a champion for women.

In the letter, Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, thanked the governor for articulating a “belief central to our faith—that one has the right to follow one’s conscience in all matters of moral decision-making. This respect for individual conscience extends to policymakers and other public leaders, who have both an obligation to serve each of your constituents—not simply those shouting the loudest—and a right to form your decisions by following your own conscience.”

The letter concluded: “Thank you, Governor, for advocating for the rights of all Illinois residents to live according to their individual beliefs, not those of one particular ideology. Thank you for acting as a model for Catholic public servants and for shedding light when those who attack you would only bring heat. The agenda of those who attack Catholic public servants is clearly to silence those who believe that the truth matters—and it is by speaking out from a place of conscience, as you have, that these intimidation techniques will fail. We, your fellow Catholics, stand with you and thank you for standing up for all those whose voices might otherwise be drowned out by the bishops.”

Read the full letter.