Illinois Bishops MIA

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by Joseph Enders  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 1, 2020   

Protestants and Muslims step up, hierarchy submits

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TRANSCRIPT

In the state of Illinois, it took legal action by Protestants and defiance by Muslims to get houses of worship open.

Meanwhile, the state's bishops throughout six dioceses took a powder on the sidelines.

Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker has now backed away from his planned extension of authoritarian lockdown orders issued on April 30 that was limiting attendance to 10 people.

The move comes after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh responded favorably to an emergency injunction filing by Protestant pastors.

Kavanaugh gave a same-day deadline for a response from Pritzker, who did an about-face almost immediately, permitting houses of worship to run their affairs as they see fit.

The request for an emergency injunction was filed by Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries.

But Protestant churches were not the only ones rejecting the state government's shelter-in-place orders. 

Masjid Darus Salam Foundation Mosque in Lombard, Illinois packed its building with Muslim worshipers on May 24. 

But in Catholic quarters, there was nothing but docility to the governor.

For example, the same day the Muslims were defying the governor's orders, faithful Catholics of Lombard's Divine Mercy parish, in the Illinois diocese of Joliet, were being shut out — forced to watch Mass from outside and kneel on the concrete. 

The apostolic administrator of the diocese, Bp. Richard Pates, has remained compliant throughout the reopening dilemma, telling parishioners in his May 27 statement on starting to reopen to obey the 10 person limit — even though the Kavanaugh order lets each parish decide for itself whether or not to follow the limit.

Bishop. Pates: "The very first phase is that we can gather for prayer and our sacraments with only a limit of 10 people."

Divine Mercy's pastor, Fr. Miroslaw Stepien, told Church Militant that the 10 person limit was too strict, pleading with the bishop to allow more Catholics to receive the sacraments.

Parishioners displayed signs reading "My Catholics, my Catholics, my Catholics, why have you abandoned me?" — leaving Illinois' faithful wondering where the bishops were while Protestants and Muslims fought for their freedom to worship.

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