The Chicago Tribune reports that three dioceses in Illinois, Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville, have decided to end their foster care program rather than placing children in homes with same-sex couples:
Calling off legal efforts aimed at keeping Catholic Charities of Illinois in the foster care business, three Roman Catholic dioceses have dropped their lawsuit against the state, agreeing to transfer more than 1,000 foster care children and staff to other agencies in their regions.
The decision by leaders in the dioceses of Joliet, Springfield and Belleville ends a historical partnership between Illinois and the charitable arm of the Catholic Church, which inspired the state to address child welfare in the first place and led to the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Springfield's Bishop Thomas Paprocki said that Catholic Charities of Illinois in the state would be able to “focus on being more Catholic and more charitable, while less dependent on government funding and less encumbered by intrusive state policies."
The decision comes during the same week when US bishops asserted that religious liberty is under attack in the US, preventing the Church from living out its mission. From National Catholic Reporter:
Religious liberty is under attack in the United States, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., told the U.S. bishops at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14.
"There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith through works of education, health care and charity," Lori said in his first address to the bishops as chairman of the newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Like Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities of Illinois halted its adoption program earlier this year when the state compelled all agencies to be open to placing children in homes with same-sex couples.