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CHICAGO (CBS) — Francis Cardinal George is toning down his stance against an abortion rights group supported by Gov. Pat Quinn, saying he didn’t know all the facts.
George tells the Chicago Tribune he “deeply regrets” negative statements about the group, Personal PAC, which plans to give an award to a rape victim. Quinn is scheduled to present the award on Nov. 17.
George says he did not know the victim was raped, and tells the newspaper that rape victims are entitled to “all the respect and sympathy that anybody can give.”
But as for the governor’s involvement, George told the newspaper there are “inconsistencies” that Quinn needs to address as a practicing Catholic.
Quinn is on the record as being pro-choice, which is a problem for the Church hierarchy, just as it is with all pro-choice elected officials. But in a letter last week, George and five other Illinois bishops said Quinn had taken it a step further by giving an award at a meeting of the pro-choice political action committee.
“With this action, Governor Quinn has gone beyond a political alignment with those supporting the legal right to kill children in their mother’s wombs to rewarding those deemed most successful in this terrible work,” the letter said.
George, after visiting a parish school to highlight the benefits of Big Shoulders funds, said he thought the governor had crossed a line.
“It’s one thing to live in a society where abortion is legal, it’s another thing to say that the people who, in fact, kill unborn children are to be praised and to be funded,” George told CBS 2 last week. “And, at that point, you’re into an activity that is incompatible with the profession of the Catholic faith.”
Quinn released a statement last week, which said he would merely be “presenting a leadership award to a woman who is a rape survivor and preeminent advocate for victims of rape.”