Gov. Pat Quinn sat down with Cardinal Francis George and Illinois Catholic bishops Dec. 16 to talk civil unions, abortion rights and solutions to poverty.
The relationship between Quinn and the bishops has appeared strained this year. The meeting comes just a month after the bishops chided Quinn for presenting an award at a luncheon for pro-life group Personal PAC.
In a statement by the bishops released to Windy City Times, the bishops suggested that they took issue with Quinn speaking openly about being Catholic while at the same time disagreeing with official stances of the church.
"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," read the statement. "In addition, since he holds a highly visible and influential position, the Governor's statements about conscience or other matters of faith can affect many other people for whose spiritual care bishops are responsible."
LGBT Catholic organization Rainbow Sash Movement said that its inside sources at the meeting reported that Quinn responded that he represented all the people of Illinois, and that he would speak for more than just the Catholic position on issues of abortion, civil unions and gay adoption.
"Clearly the meeting showed that the Governor's office was open to listening to the many voices that make up the citizenry of Illinois," Rainbow Sash Movement wrote in a statement. "Cardinal Francis George and the Bishops of Illinois could learn a great deal from Governor Quinn's open-door policy."
According to Quinn, the meeting focused on poverty.
"A lot of the discussion was how we could work together to fight povertyhelp the people who are less fortunate and need a helping hand," Quinn said in a statement released to Windy City Times. "Getting people jobs, helping people who don't have enough food to eat, that's what the church's social mission is all about. And I'm well versed."