Press Releases


CCI issues statement on Senate Bill 1564

The Catholic Conference of Illinois on May 25 released a statement on Senate Bill 1564, which just passed the Illinois House after previously passing the Senate. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence on a minor House amendment. The Senate is expected to concur.

UPDATE: The Senate did concur with the minor House amendment. The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration.

UPDATE 2: Governor Bruce Rauner on Fri., July 29, signed SB 1564 into law. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The statement follows, or can be viewed as a PDF.


May 25, 2016


As originally proposed, Senate Bill 1564 would have gutted the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.  Although the original bill had sufficient support for passage in the legislature, the Catholic Conference of Illinois was successful in negotiating removal of the more problematic provisions of the bill.

Consequently, the Catholic Conference of Illinois is neutral on Senate Bill 1564 as amended by Amendment #3 in the Senate. Amendment #3 protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals and facilities.  They can still refuse to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, pay for, recommend, refer or participate in any form of medical practice or health care service that is contrary to his or her conscience.  
What will be "new" is an information protocol that says when a conscience objection is invoked, the patient's condition, prognosis and treatment options will be discussed. This is already standard medical practice at Catholic healthcare facilities.  If the patient insists on a morally objectionable service, a list of healthcare providers without specific reference to any particular service will be given to the patient to seek out different medical consultations.  In our opinion, this list does not constitute a direct referral nor does it guarantee an outcome.  

Even with these protections, we would rather not alter the law in any way.  It is important to recognize that neutrality does not mean support.  However, considering the current realities of politics in our state, we believe that refusing everything but the status quo was going to lead to a much worse result.


The Catholic Conference of Illinois was created in 1969 to serve as the public policy voice of the Illinois bishops and the six dioceses of the state: Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield-in-Illinois.


The Catholic Conference of Illinois today issued the following press release on the Illinois bishops' updated "A Catholic Perspective on Gambling in Illinois."

The document may be found here in English, here in Spanish, and here in Polish.



Illinois Catholic bishops urge lawmakers to reconsider

proposed gambling expansion as revenue fix

CHICAGO – Illinois Catholic bishops today released a statement on gambling, updating their 1999 publication on the issue in light of the possibility of a massive expansion of gambling to help fix the finances of both the state and the city of Chicago.

Media reports indicate that a city-owned casino in Chicago is being considered, in addition to four other casinos located throughout the state and smaller so-called “satellite” casinos in central and southern Illinois. Additionally, slot machines may be allowed at horse-racing tracks.

In the updated “A Catholic Perspective on Gambling in Illinois,” the bishops noted they drew from the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s statement about gambling as stated in paragraph 2413: "Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for one's needs and those of others.  The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement.”

Gambling is not immoral in itself, they noted, and can often be used for legitimate fundraising purposes.

However, the bishops also recognize the increasing pervasiveness of gambling in society, as riverboat casinos, the lottery, and video gambling have been authorized by the state during the past 40 years.

“For it seems that in our state, to use the language cited above, ‘the passion for gambling’ is becoming ‘an enslavement’ both for individual persons and for society,” they wrote.

They encouraged an examination of conscience, both on an individual and state level, observing that government should not look to gambling as a revenue fix.

“It is important to commit to a fair system of taxation to support public programs, as it is not healthy to rely upon gambling as an alternative,” they wrote.

They also called for transparency of financial records of gambling enterprises doing business with the state, as well as a stop to gambling-related advertising that targets the poor.
“We must have a public examination of the impact of gambling upon the poor and upon the political process itself,” they wrote.

The bishops are also asking Catholic institutions to "openly examine and debate the impact of gambling in their fundraising."


The Catholic Conference of Illinois was created in 1969 to serve as the public policy voice of the Illinois bishops and the six dioceses of the state: Belleville, Chicago, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield-in-Illinois.



The Catholic Conference of Illinois released the following statement on the death of Cardinal George. Click here for a PDF version.

April 17, 2015

Statement on Cardinal George’s death
from the staff of the Catholic Conference of Illinois

CHICAGO – The staff of the Catholic Conference of Illinois is greatly saddened by the news of the death of Cardinal George.  He served as chairman of the Catholic Conference from his installation as Archbishop of Chicago in May 1997 until his retirement In November 2014.

“I was very sorry to learn of Cardinal George’s death,” said Executive Director Robert Gilligan. “I had the great privilege of working with Cardinal George for over 15 years. He was one of the most holy and intelligent men I have ever met.  He was my boss, but also an important mentor, and I dare say, my friend. I will miss him greatly.”





Illinois' Catholic bishops today sent a letter to Illinois House members to reject House Bill 4013 and its call for public funding of abortions. Both the House and Senate reconvene today after a two-week spring break. House Bill 4013 passed the House Human Services Committee on a partisan 8-6 vote on March 18.

Read the letter below, or in PDF form. Read the accompanying press release. View the letter in Spanish and Polish.


April 14, 2015

Dear Representative,

We, the Catholic bishops of Illinois, write in regard to House Bill 4013, legislation which is a radical departure from longstanding Illinois health policy. As it allows taxpayer money to pay for abortions and funds grants to organizations that advocate for and perform abortions, we ask that you join us in opposing it.

These specific provisions of the legislation proposed are troubling:

  • It removes the prohibition on state employees' health insurance plans from paying for elective abortions.
  • It removes the prohibition on using taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions in the state's Medicaid program.
  • It removes the prohibition on state-funded grants to organizations that refer, counsel for, or perform abortions. Current law calls for those grants to go to organizations that assist women experiencing problem pregnancies.

The American people have opposed the use of public money to support or promote elective abortion. As recently as March 2014, a CNN/ORC poll of over 1,000 adults nationwide found the public opposes the use of public funds for abortion by a margin of 56 percent to 39 percent. Additionally, there is nearly a forty-year history of federal legislation embracing this principle through the Hyde amendment to annual appropriations bills, and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs.

The provisions of House Bill 4013 will force all taxpayers, even those opposed as a matter of conscience, to participate in funding the abortion industry. This is a radical shift in public policy as it totally disregards the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans steadfastly have opposed contributing their personal resources through tax dollars for the destruction of innocent human life.  We ask that you reject this bill and not allow the use of public funds for abortion.

As we thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our request, this letter gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude for your public service and our high regard for the sacrifices it involves for you and your families.


Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich           
Archbishop of Chicago               

Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton           
Bishop of Belleville             

Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon                
Bishop of Joliet                  

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria

Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford

Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki        
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois