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Ill. Bishop Asks If Catholics Are Bigots

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Sunday Jan 29, 2012
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Illinois Bishop Daniel Conlon, the Bishop of Diocese of Joliet, recently released a statement that slammed the state’s decision to stop funding Catholic adoption agencies because of the organizations’ anti-gay policies. In the statement, Conlon defends the church’s views, but asks if Catholics are bigots, in an obviously rhetorical question.

"Are a bigot? If you are a believing Catholic, chances are many people will consider you a bigot," the bishop wrote. "To believe, as Catholics do, that homosexual acts are disordered, as well as immoral, is considered a form of prejudice against people with same-sex attractions."

Last summer, Chicago passed a same-sex civil unions bill and stopped funding Catholic adoption agencies that discriminated against gays by not offering adoptions to gay couples. Some of the agencies took legal action and sued the state but in November, Conlon, along with two other bishops released a joint statement and said they would end the lawsuit.

The bishop said the statement, which was first reported on the Catholic news-advocacy website Life Site News
"was necessitated by the fact that the State of Illinois has made it financially impossible for our agencies to continue to provide these services and the courts have refused to grant a stay for these operations to continue while further appeals are pending."

Several of Illinois’ Catholic adoption agencies will shutdown except for the Diocese of Belleville, which decided to follow the law and separated its agency from the church’s aegis. It subsequently changed its name to the Christian Social Services of South Illinois.

"For years, the Department of Children and Family Services had contracted with Catholic Charities to assist with funding for adoption and foster services," Conlon wrote in his commentary. "Then, one day the Catholic Church became a discriminatory organization, and its ability to function as a religious institution was curtailed."

"How does this happen?" he asked. "In my view, the United States, and the Western world in general, has thrown overboard its traditional moral values that are based on the Judeo-Christian code."

This isn’t the first time a member of the Catholic hierarchy in Illinois has spoken out and made anti-gay remarks. In late Dec. 2011, EDGE reported that Chicago Cardinal Francis George compared gays to the Ku Klux Klan on a Fox News interview. "You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," he said.

The reason for these remarks? The Chicago Gay Pride Parade was rerouted and would pass a church during a time of worship. After receiving criticism for his statements, George defended himself in a statement.

"One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan" he said at the time, "which, well into the 1940s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate."

George also says that the LGBT community has been "harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm," the pride parade can be held without interfering with the "orderly public worship of God in a country that claims to be free."

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