The Bishop said, “Catholic Charities is one of the lead providers of foster care services in the state. They have been valued partners for decades. Clearly the intent of the civil union law was not to force the state to end these contracts and force the transfer of thousands of children’s cases.” He continued by stating, “We continue to believe we can adhere to our religious principles and operate within Illinois law.”
The Bishop, his Priests and the faithful of the Diocese of Peoria, are simply astonished that the politicians of the state of Illinois seem to be unwilling to grant the same kind of religious accommodations that have been granted in the states of New York and Rhode Island regarding their establishment of civil unions. Bishop Jenky is sad to observe that important elements of the political establishment in the state of Illinois are now basically at war with the Catholic community and seem to be destroying their institutions. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria will be reviewing the judge’s written ruling to determine their next steps.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, IL wrote:
The court’s decision yesterday regarding Catholic Charities’ foster care services marks a sad day for the children of Illinois.
The State of Illinois is actively taking steps to push Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria and Springfield out of foster care services, which would end a partnership that dates back to the mid-1960s with the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The message from the state of Illinois is simple: Organizations that only place children in accord with their religious beliefs are barred from state contracts – Catholics need not apply.
Catholic Charities has been caring for vulnerable children for more than 100 years, leading to DCFS’ current success rate.
As we consider the next steps in our course of action, we pray for the children and for our dedicated employees who may be so adversely affected by this decision.