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July 12, 2011

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Kathie Sass: (217) 698-8500

For the sake of the children in our Catholic Charities Foster Care program, I am grateful that Judge John Schmidt of the Circuit Court of Sangamon County has issued a preliminary injunction freezing the State’s contract with Catholic Charities as it was before the State decided to cut it off earlier this month.

It is tragic that some State officials are moving to push Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services by refusing to contract with us. Contrary to statements of certain government officials, the practices of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois fully comply with the new Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which includes a provision that says, “Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any religious body.”

It is the State of Illinois that is violating this provision of the law by seeking to force us to act against our religious beliefs. If these services of religious organizations like Catholic Charities are terminated, it would be the children who would suffer because some politicians have put their political agenda ahead of the best interest of the children, who have been served by the top-quality, nurturing care of Catholic Charities since 1921.

We pray for a final outcome of this case that will allow Catholic Charities to continue to provide a faith-based approach to foster care and adoption services in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

+ Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois