Bishops’ Statements on Current Issues
Illinois’ six diocesan bishops occasionally make statements on current issues important to the Church, either as a group or as individuals. When the statement is issued as a group, it reflects the view of the Church statewide. Individual bishops may choose to make a statement on issues of specific interest to their dioceses.
The past few years have seen gun violence increase in the city of Chicago, claiming the innocent lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The geographic and cultural diversity of Illinois, however, is reflected in varying attitudes towards guns across the state. The Constitution's guarantee of the right to bear arms only adds to the conundrum of firearms in today's society. The Catholic bishops of Illinois have pondered the various factors surrounding guns in Illinois, and offer their reflections in this statement.
Recent news has focused on the hardships of individuals who work at minimum wage jobs. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour, $1 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Proposals in the state legislature call for increasing the minimum wage to $11 an hour, although we do not expect action before the current General Assembly ends in January.
Our Illinois bishops have approved a statement on a "living wage," which can be viewed here.
Cardinal George of Chicago today sent a letter on redefinition of marriage efforts to every priest in the Archdiocese, asking that the letter be distributed in parish bulletins this weekend.
The Cardinal stresses that the "Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God’s ways and maintain friendship with Christ."
However, he notes that "marriage comes to us from nature."
"It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love," he writes. "Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish “same-sex marriage” create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible."
The Cardinal expands upon the letter in his latest column in the Catholic New World.
State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago have said they will introduce legislation that redefines marriage this week during the legislature's lame-duck session before new lawmakers are sworn in on Jan. 9. Their proposal changes the current definition of marriage set in state law from "between a man and a woman" to "between 2 persons."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois in November issued its Marriage Toolkit to parishes across the state.
To stay updated on the redefinition of marriage legislative efforts, keep checking our Redefinition of Marriage web page.