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George says criticism was aimed at Quinn, not rape victim

Cardinal Francis George outside St. Elizabeth Parish banquet Martinique Banquet Hall 8200 s Cicero. Saturday November 5 2011 | Brian

Cardinal Francis George outside of the St. Elizabeth Parish banquet at the Martinique Banquet Hall 8200 s Cicero. Saturday, November 5, 2011 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: December 7, 2011 8:35AM

Cardinal Francis George said Saturday that he regrets rape victim Jennie Goodman felt hurt by a statement he and other bishops issued last week criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn for agreeing to give her an award at an abortion-rights event, but George said they were unaware of Goodman or her background before they released the statement.

“That Ms. Goodman would feel attacked, I regret that very much,” George said. “But the statement is not about her, it is about Gov. Quinn, who on one hand identifies himself as a member of the Catholic Church and on the other hand is identifying himself strongly with a group that supports the killing of unborn children in their mothers’ wombs.”

Speaking outside a banquet celebrating the 130th anniversary of Chicago’s St. Elizabeth Parish, George said “had we known that [Goodman] was involved and known her story we may have found another occasion to say something about the governor.”

Later Saturday, the Catholic Conference of Illinois also said the “bishops were not aware of her and her tragic story.”

The statement said that conference executive director Bob Gilligan “takes responsibility for not adequately informing the bishops.”

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