CCI Radio Hour

CCI Executive Director Robert Gilligan hosts the Catholic Conference Radio Hour on the third Monday of the month on Relevant Radio. Gilligan discusses current public policy issues affecting the Church with experts and newsmakers.


Jan. 25, 2016 show

Dr. Robert Sawicki, Senior Vice President of Supportive Care for OSF Health Care headquartered in Peoria, joins Bob to talk about palliative care, a mystery to most people who are not dealing with a chronic or terminal illness but serves as a key issue in the physician-assisted suicide debate. Then, Tony Cube, head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants project, discusses two current issues regarding immigration: 1) the deportation of Central American children and mothers who entered the United States during the summer of 2014, when individuals were fleeing the drug violence in those countries, and 2) the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case against President Barack Obama’s 2014 fall executive action preventing millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. The executive action has never been implemented since it has been tied up in the court system. Finally, Dr. Rodney Stark, co-founder of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and a sociology professor, talks about his new book, “The Triumph of Faith,” which was recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal book review section. Dr. Stark takes issue with often-cited Pew Research public opinion surveys that show an increasing number of “nones” – those adults who claim no religious affiliation. However, Dr. Stark writes that “there is abundant evidence of an ongoing worldwide religious awakening,” noting the results of other surveys.


Dec. 21, 2015 show

At the end of this month, Illinois will have gone without a state budget for six months. Emily Miller, director of policy and advocacy for Voices for Illinois Children, gives an overview of the state budget impasse as we approach the end of the calendar year, and offers her insights into when it may be resolved. Jim Finnegan, founder of the American Nativity Scene, talks about his organization, which provides nativity scenes for display in state Capitol buildings during the Christmas season, as well as in the Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago. Mike O’Neill, creator of the website – the leading source for Marian apparitions – discusses how his website was featured in the National Geographic December cover story on the Virgin Mary, as well as his new book, “Exploring the Miraculous." Emily Zender, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, talks about the upcoming March for Life Chicago on Sun., Jan 17, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago. Emily serves as the chair of the committee overseeing the March, and will also serve as the emcee for this year’s March. For a list of guest speakers, click here.



Nov. 16, 2015 show

Daniel Blomberg of the D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty joins Bob to talk about the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear in March the case by the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based nonprofits regarding their objection to the HHS mandate. Mike Clark, a high school sports writer for the Chicago Tribune, then talks about how Chicago-area Catholic high schools have fared during the fall 2015 football season. Maria Fitzsimmons of the Archdiocese’s Office for Peace & Justice discusses the Catholic Campaign of Human Development (CCHD) and its upcoming collection on the weekend of Nov. 21-22. Grant Gallicho, new director of publications and media for the Archdiocese of Chicago, joins Bob to talk about the recent Synod on the Family in Rome. Gallicho just finished a long stint as associate editor of Commonweal, and covered the Synod, as well as Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. 


Oct. 19, 2015 show

October is Respect Life month, so Bob kicks off the show by talking about the current status of adoption in the United States with Elizabeth Kirk, a resident fellow in cultural and legal studies at the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University. As a lawyer and an adoptive parent with her husband, Kirk brings a unique perspective to this topic. Bob is then joined by Tony Paulauski, executive director of the Arc of Illinois, who talks about the concerns of the disabled community regarding physician-assisted suicide. Since California Gov. Jerry Brown two weeks ago signed legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients, the issue is on everyone’s radar. Pat Winn, director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockford, joins Bob to talk about the five Syrian families who have recently arrived in the diocese as part of its Refugee Resettlement program. Then, Dawn Fitzpatrick of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Respect Life Office, joins Bob to plug the Chastity Education Initiative dinner on Nov. 5.