Governor Quinn and the Illinois State Legislature to enact
legislation to care for the remains of the indigent
The attached is a
copy of Bishop James Wilkowski’s letter to Illinois Governor Pat
have been sent to House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President
John Cullerton, Representative Elizabeth Hernandez and Senator
William R. Morton
Office of Media and Public Relations
(T) 773.721.5353 (C) 773.998.2014
Welcoming Community of Faith Rooted in the Catholic Tradition”
Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest
Post Office Box 178388 Chicago Illinois 60617-8388
Office: 773-721-5383 Fax: 773-721-2581 Email: email@example.com
Office of the Bishop
January 30, 2012
The Honorable Pat Quinn
Governor for the State of Illinois
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield Illinois 62706
I hope that this
letter finds you well.
I am writing to
you in my capacity as the Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the
Diocese of the Northwest regarding the latest scandal that has hit
the Cook County Morgue.
It is my belief
that the current policies of the Cook County Morgue regarding the
final disposition of the remains of indigents are outdated for the
Twenty-First century. I believe that the practice of burial by
mass grave is disrespectful to the basic dignity of human life. We
do better with the carcasses of animal road kill than we do with the
remains of the indigents.
I am reaching
out to you to ask your assistance to the creation of legislation
that would standardized within the State of Illinois a common policy
for the final disposition of the remains of indigents.
Permit me the
opportunity to share with you recommendations which I have made to
Cook County Board President Preckwinkle on this matter:
custody of remains, the County Medical Examiner will obtain the
DNA of the deceased and created an ID record with this
have been in the custody of the County for more than 60 days,
they will be cremated and place in a simple container with a
file identification number attached and returned to the custody
of the County for storage in a non-refrigerated location with
the hope of possible reuniting with family.
cremains of indigents are not claimed within one year, the
County can purchase one or two traditional size grave lots and
install an ossuary as a final dignified resting place for the
cremains of the indigents. And if at some future date in time,
a family member becomes identified, they may be directed to
where there family member has been placed at rest.
I realize that these suggestions represents a “broad
stroke” remedy to this scandal, but I believe that the current
scandal that has again happened in Cook County calls our state
community to consider thinking outside of the current box to
policies for new and caring policies which will allow the State of
Illinois to become the template for others to follow.
I invite you to consider my plea to you and to help create
the appropriate legislation to redress this issue.
Please know that I have committed myself to this issue and
to walk whatever lengths to prevent such scandals from happening
again. It is my prayer that you would join me in this journey.
I thank you for taking the time to consider this letter and
look forward to hearing from you soon.
Until then, I remain
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
Community of Faith Rooted in the Catholic Tradition”