Illinois: Catholic Charities ends adoption-services appeal, will 'focus on being more Catholic'
CWN - November 15, 2011
Three Illinois bishops have announced that they are ending their legal appeal against legislation requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples in adoption and foster-care services.
“It is with deep regret that we have decided to relinquish our appeals in the litigation concerning the provision of foster care and adoption services by Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Joliet and Springfield in Illinois and by Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois in the Diocese of Belleville,” the bishops of the three dioceses said in a joint statement. “This lawsuit had sought clarification as to whether the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act passed at the end of last year protected the freedom of faith-based agencies to provide foster care and adoption services in accord with their religious beliefs.”
“The decision not to pursue further appeals was reached with great reluctance, but 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,” the bishops continued “Since we now need to close offices and lay off employees, further appeals would be moot.”
“Because the State of Illinois has put an expedited process in place to transition to other agencies the foster children under the Charities’ care, any relief ordered by the Appellate Court would come too late to save the Charities’ foster care ministry,” the Thomas More Society, which represented Catholic Charities, stated in a press release announcing the end of the litigation. “Both the Circuit and Appellate Courts denied the Charities’ emergency motions to prevent the transition.”
“The silver lining of this decision is that our Catholic Charities going forward will be able to focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies,” said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield.
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