The Catholic Diocese of Rockford lacks the integrity to own up to the real reason for it discontinuing its adoption service and foster care program. Saying that the state of Illinois has forced it out of foster care and adoption is both disingenuous, and bleaches the truth of the situation.
Catholic Charities in the Rockford Diocese handles approximately 350 foster family and adoption cases in 11 counties in northern Illinois with a state budget of $7.5 million. Forty-two full-time caseworkers are employed to monitor these placements. An additional 24 employees have, as part of their duties, work in this area. In all 58 workers will be terminated. These workers are spread through-out offices in two regions-one in the East with offices in Aurora, Elgin and McHenry. Catholic Charities Western Region has offices in Rockford, Freeport, Belvidere and Sterling. When this transition and redefinition of services is complete, Catholic Charities will work out of three offices–one in Rockford, one in Aurora and one in McHenry.
The Diocese of Rockford has chosen to disagree with state when it comes to adoption, foster care and gay and lesbian couples. The state of Illinois is well within its legal parameters to insure that all Illinois citizens are treated with equality when it comes to both of these state funded programs. Theology should never replace both civil rights and human rights. The tug of war being played out by the Diocese of Rockford, and Catholic Moral Theology should never be used as a litmus test for either civil rights and/or human rights. Since when is discrimination a right under freedom of religion?
OnJune 1, 2011, the State of Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act is scheduled to take effect. Catholic Charities wanted the State of Illinois to allow their agencies to refer such couples to other adoption and foster care agencies so as to not violate Catholic moral teachings . This matter is strictly about nondiscrimination, not theology. While Catholic Charities of Rockford has tried to make this a theological issue rather than civil rights issues it has decided to close down its foster care and adoption agencies. To say the state of Illinois has closed them down is totally delusional at best, and worst a down right lie.
The Rainbow Sash Movement is glad to see that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has set up a task force to further study the situation. Let us hope that more rational and reasonable minds prevail. We wonder where the Diocese of Rockford’s call to serve the needs of the Children is.
Rainbow Sash Movement