Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn defended his actions as governor on Monday after a meeting with the state's Catholic bishops.
Over the weekend, Quinn described last week's meeting with Cardinal Francis George and Illinois' 13 bishops as productive and mostly about poverty, with small discussion on the governor's position in favor of abortion rights and gay rights laws regarding adoption.
In a written statement on Saturday, the 13 bishops accused the Catholic governor of mischaracterizing their meeting as mostly about the works of faith rather than its principles.
The bishops also said that as governor, Quinn's actions have not been consistent with a Catholic conscience.
"On several occasions, the Governor has referred to his Catholic conscience and faith as the justification for certain political decisions," read the Bishops' statement. "As Catholic pastors, we wanted to remind the Governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the Church, as defined by Scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience. The Catholic faith cannot be used to justify positions contrary to the faith itself."
"I am who I am. I don't really wear my faith on my sleeve. I don't go around and say I'm carrying out anything other than my own conscience," said Quinn.
The bishops requested the meeting after a public disagreement with the governor last month. They were upset Quinn agreed to present an award at a ceremony hosted by an abortions-rights organization.