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.
CCI Executive Director Robert Gilligan is joined by Illinois Catholic Health Association' Patrick Cacchione to address the controversy over Senate Bill 1564, which the governor recently signed into law. The new law, which modifies Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience Act, takes effect Jan. 1. CCI and ICHA took a neutral stance on the legislation, after negotiating a less harmful version of the legislation. Next, Sister Ann Scholz, SSND, Associate Director for Social Mission of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, talks about the letter the organization sent today to the presidential candidates, their running mates, and their party chairs asking for civil discourse as we approach the Nov. 8 election. Nearly 5,700 Catholic Sisters across the nation signed the letter. Then, Jim Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life, offers a Catholic perspective on a recent 4-part investigative series the Chicago Tribune produced on mega-hog farms in downstate Illinois. The stories touch on abuse to the animals, abuse to the environment, abuse to nearby neighbors because of the overwhelming stench, and the hard-scrabble life of contract farmers who raise the hogs for a small, set price. Next, Bryant Jackson-Green of the Illinois Policy Institute talks about a recent public opinion poll commissioned by IPI that shows the public wants bold reform of the state’s criminal justice system. Finally, Pat Shehorn, a board member of Aid for Women, a crisis pregnancy center with several offices in the Chicagoland area, talks about the organization’s annual dinner on Wed., Sept. 21 at the Union League Club. The keynote speaker will be Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University, and legal counsel and close friend of Mother Teresa, who will be canonized on Sept. 4.
Members of St. Martin de Porres parish in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago regularly go out into the streets after Mass, holding signs of "Honk for Jesus," and "Prayer Changes Things." Pastor Tom Walsh tells Bob about the programs offered by the parish to residents as an alternative to the sometimes violent unrest found in a neighborhood beset by high unemployment and poverty. Next, Cook County Circuit Judge Colleen Sheehan talks about the upcoming pilot program for a Restorative Justice Community Court in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Stephanie Murray Johnson, director of government relations for Catholic Charities of Chicago, alerts listeners that the stopgap state budget approved for the first six months of the new fiscal year that began July 1 offers only a little relief for social service providers since they are getting reimbursed for 65 percent of contracted costs. Regina D'Amico of Illinois Right to Life tells listeners about the organization's upcoming "Barnyard Bash" set for Aug. 7.
Sr. Cathy Ryan, executive director of Maryville Academy, joins Bob ito talk about Maryville’s new direction since she recently announced the longtime institution would end its residential program for wards of the state as of June 30 in the face of shrinking state funding for such programs, as community-based placements are seen as more beneficial for children. Ned Dolesji, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, joins the program to talk about that state’s new physician-assisted suicide law, which went into effect on June 9. Additionally, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget calls for $1.2 million for lethal drugs for the state’s Medicaid patients who are seeking physician-assisted suicide – and the Medicaid program does not pay for palliative care. Next, David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, discusses the new report by the institute that compiles results from its public opinion polls over the past nine years. The conclusion: We, the voters, bear significant responsibility for the current debt crisis and gridlocked government in Illinois. Why? Because we the voters elected the leaders responsible for this state of affairs AND we consistently insisted on an untenable high-service/low-tax status quo. Finally, Greg Schleppenbach, former executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, talks about his new job as associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He replaces Richard Doerflinger, who recently retired after 36 years with the USCCB.
Cynthia Canary, executive director of the Independent Map Coalition, talks to Bob about the organization's effort to put on the November ballot an amendment calling for an independent commission to draw the state's legislative districts. Currently, lawmakers draw the lines, and whatever party is in power gets the honor. The result: gerrymandered districts that protect incumbents. Next, state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, discusses her efforts to protect juveniles in custody for homicide or sex offense cases by requiring minors under the age of 15 — now the age is 13 — to have a lawyer present. Senate Bill 2370 also calls for a simplified Miranda warning to be given to juveniles younger than 18. Then, Patrick Murray, a consultant for Granada Liturgical Arts, made national news recently with his “Church Madness” that was set up like an NCAA basketball tournament bracket. The event showed up on his blog, www.artandliturgy.com, in March as a competition for the most beautiful church in the Unites States. The winner — St. John Cantius of Chicago. Wrapping up the show, Joanna Arellano of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace & Justice talks to Bob about the national Social Action Summer Institute her office is hosting in July. Speakers include Fr. Michael Pfleger of Chicago, Fr. Larry Dowling of Chicago, and Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville.