Gov. Pat Quinn is still at odds with the state’s Catholic bishops, but he doesn’t know it. Quinn met on Friday with nine bishops, and in describing the meeting before he left for Germany on Monday, he emphasized the areas where they agreed.
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“We had a good conversation about how to help the poor and help people who don’t have a job get a job, how to feed the hungry. Those are important matters of faith for me and I think for just about everybody,” he said. But the bishops say Quinn doesn’t yet understand their concern: That just because he’s Catholic doesn’t mean anytime he follows his conscience it’s consistent with Catholic teachings. Quinn says he doesn’t make that claim. Illinois’ Catholic bishops requested the two-hour meeting to discuss areas of total disagreement: abortion and same-sex civil unions. The bishops who met with the governor issued a letter that said, in part:
“As Catholic pastors, we wanted to remind the Governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the Church, as defined by Scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience. The Catholic faith cannot be used to justify positions contrary to the faith itself. It is a matter of personal integrity for people who call themselves Catholic to act in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” The bishops said they were particularly concerned about Quinn’s influence on others “since he holds a highly visible and influential position.”