A meeting between the governor and a handful of Catholic bishops is not being made public. Gov. Pat Quinn Friday met with the Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and a group of other bishops from across the state. George likened it to confessional, where what’s said between a priest and a member of the flock stays between the two.
“It was a pastoral meeting and so we raised pastoral issues that aren’t directly political and in that sense it was a personal meeting that, you know, we agreed, would remain a pastoral conversation,” George said. George called it a “friendly and open” meeting.
Quinn had drawn fire from bishops recently after he presented an award to a rape victim that had an abortion. The award was presented at an abortion right’s group luncheon that gave more than $500,000 to help elect Quinn. Bishops sent him a letter requesting the meeting to talk about Quinn’s “personal approval of laws permitting the killing of unborn children." But George says the bishops were invited by Quinn. “He invited us to meet with him when he felt that we didn’t perhaps understand what he was about,” George said. “He said ‘why don’t they talk to me’ and so that was a good question ‘why didn’t we talk to him.’ We have at times but then we said ‘well we’d like to talk to you’ and so it was at his invitation.”
George and other bishops wouldn’t specifically say if the meeting was related to the award incident. Quinn is a Catholic who has defended his pro-choice position. Quinn had no comment as he was leaving the meeting which was held in Chicago.