Flannery Fired Up: Illinois General Assembly, abortion controversy

Although banned by a Catholic Bishop from receiving Holy Communion in the Springfield Diocese, the president of the Illinois State Senate says he still considers himself a Catholic in good standing.

In an exclusive interview on Flannery Fired Up, Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said he’s found inspiration in a famous speech delivered at the University of Notre Dame by the late Mario Cuomo.  As governor of New York, Cuomo supported abortion rights, while proclaiming himself personally pro-life on the issue as a practicing Roman Catholic.

“I would ask anybody, just Google ‘Mario Cuomo Notre Dame.’ Go back to the famous speech that he gave there. How does a Catholic, in his case a pro-life Catholic, how does he take his role in the legislature?  And it’s very informative.” Cullerton added, “There’s separation of decision-making in your personal life and how you act as a legislator.”

Springfield’s Bishop Thomas Paprocki specifically rebuked Cullerton’s argument when he delivered his “No Communion” decree.

“I’ve never heard it said on any other topic, subject, ‘I’m personally opposed to racism, but I wouldn’t impose that belief on anyone else!’ Or, ‘I personally believe in gun control, but I wouldn’t impose that belief on anyone else.’ Yet, we hear that repeatedly with abortion,” Paprocki said.

Bishop Paprocki said his “No Communion” decree applies with equal force to each of the dozens of Catholic lawmakers who voted last week for a bill declaring abortion a “fundamental right” in Illinois.  A spokeswoman for Gov. JB Pritzker said he will soon sign the measure into law.

Cullerton said he continues to worship at a North Side parish where he’s long resided.  Cardinal Blase Cupich, who condemns abortion as a grave sin, has not imposed a “No Communion” decree on pro-choice politicians, meaning they are free to receive the sacrament at churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

On this edition of Flannery Fired Up, our panel also tackles the emotional issue of abortion.  It provoked a fiery exchange between State Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) and Dan Proft, host of Chicago’s Morning Answer on AM-560.

“I mean I don't think you'll have to worry about Madigan, Cullerton and Martwick in church. The Holy Water burns! I doubt you're gonna see them there anyway!” Proft declared.

Rep. Martwick responded, “Mr. Proft … talks about his policy being consistent with his faith? Apparently, he only cares about life before it leaves the vagina! Afterwards, he doesn't want to provide anything for them.”

Proft said back, "You're wrong as usual. And you're a scumbag because you use those individuals as human shields while you're promoting gambling and drugs and infanticide!”

All three of our guests also addressed a long list of legislation enacted in the General Assembly’s spring session, including legalization of adult use of marijuana and an enormous expansion of gambling. More than a dozen new gambling venues have been authorized for Chicago and the suburbs, both new casinos and new sports books for wagering on professional sporting events.