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.
Sr. Rosemary Connelly of Misericordia and Scott Mendel, an attorney and parent of a Misericordia resident, join Bob to talk about state legislation that would create a special state license to oversee the continuum of care for the developmentally disabled. The license would allow for a streamlining of operations at Misericordia, which offers a variety of living situations for the developmentally disabled. Next, state Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Westmont, talks about the extension of the All Kids health insurance plan to 2019, since the 10-year program initiated by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich will expire this coming July 1. House Bill 5736, which extends the deadline of the program to Oct. 1, 2019, passed out of committee last week and is ready to be called for a vote before the full House. The program is for children who do not qualify for the traditional Medicaid program. Then, state Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, discusses House Bill 5973, which would make it easier for ex-offenders to get occupational licenses — barber, cosmetologist, real estate, public accountant, etc. — unless their crime was connected to the profession. Closing out the show, Ralph Rivera, lobbyist for Illinois Citizens for Life, joins Bob to talk about House Bill 4013, which would allow taxpayer money to be used for elective abortions.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week will hear the Little Sisters of the Poor's case against the federal government regarding the mandate requiring insurance coverage of morally objectionable services. The sisters and others say the government's opt-out method still makes them complicit in offering the services. Chicago attorney Jim Geoly joins Bob for an update on the case in light of the recent death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, leaving only eight judges to hear the case. Fr. David Kelly of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago tells Bob about his work in restorative justice. Then, Andrew Walther of the Knights of Columbus discusses the organization's recent report documenting instances of genocide against Christians by ISIS in the Middle East. Finally, amidst a bruising Republican presidential primary election race, Michael Josephson joins Bob to talk about civility in politics. Josephson is the founder of a Los Angeles-based institute on ethics, as well as Character Counts!, a company that offers training materials to schools to teach character to students.
Monsignor Michael Boland, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Chicago, talks to Bob about the state owing the social services arm of the Church $25 million because of the state budget impasse, and the potential for program and staff cuts. Dr. Richard Dye of the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs discusses a report issued Feb. 15 that outlines the fiscal status of the state midway through this fiscal year without a budget. Considering the governor’s budget address last week, and the Democratic leaderships’ reaction to it, it appears the state is still stuck. Dyes’ report offers harbingers of what’s to come. John Maki, executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, offers his perspective on the recommendations issued in December by the Illinois Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. Maki is a member of the commission and former head of the John Howard Association. The only issue that has received bipartisan support in the legislature during the past year concerns corrections and sentencing reform. Eleanore Strong, a founding member of the new Chicago chapter of Young Catholic Professionals, wraps up the show by talking about future speaking guests after the chapter’s successful launch earlier this month.
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.