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.


July 17, 2017 show

After two years of gridlock, Illinois finally has a fully-funded budget — and an income tax increase. Jack Tichenor, interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University and longtime statehouse journalist, joins Bob to recap the budget and income tax increase put into place earlier this month when the Illinois legislature overrode the governor's vetoes of both initiatives. Left in the lurch, however, is funding for K-12 education, since the budget calls for school monies to go into an "evidence based" formula. Senate Bill 1 has such a formula, has been passed by both the House and Senate, but has yet to make it to the governor's desk since he has promised to amendatorily veto it. Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Chicago Catholic Schools, joins Bob to talk about CCI's efforts to add changes to SB 1 that would create a scholarship tax credit resulting in grants to qualified low- and middle-income students to attend Catholic and private schools. Then, Jim Geoly, a partner with the downtown Chicago law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, joins Bob to talk about the recent U.S. Supreme Court 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, which is being hailed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a "landmark victory for religious freedom."  Finally, John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, joins Bob to talk about the case of Charlie Gard, the 11-month old boy in England who has a life-threatening disease. His parents are locked in a legal battle with a London children's hospital in an attempt to take Charlie to the United States for highly experimental treatment the hospital believes will not help and will cause him pain.


June 19, 2017 show

Dr. Brian Callister, an internal medicine specialist located in Reno, Nevada, joins Bob to tell the story of how an insurance company told him it would pay for assisted suicide rather than an expensive medical treatment for two of his patients. He recounts this story in a short video produced by the Patients' Rights Action Fund. Then, Msgr. Pat Pollard, director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Chicago, talks about this unique ministry as he approaches a June 30 retirement date. Closing out the show, Rachel Yarch, a partner with the downtown Chicago law office of Burke, Warren, MacKay and Serritella, discusses a recent unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that holds that faith-based hospital pension plans are covered by the “church plan” exemption under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The decision in Advocate Health Care v. Stapleton represents a major victory for religious-based health care systems. 


May 15, 2017 show

State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, joins Bob to talk about last week's Senate passage of House Bill 40, which allows taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid participants and state employees. Gov. Bruce Rauner has promised to veto the legislation, but Senate leadership is using a procedural move to keep HB 40 in the chamber. Next, Hillary Byrnes, Assistant General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins the program to talk about President Donald Trump's recent executive order on religious freedom and what it means for Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations. Then, Sam Tuttle of Heartland Alliance joins Bob to talk about House Bill 3142, which would "ban the box" asking about criminal history on state college admission applications. The question discourages many ex-offenders from completing an application. Studies have found that recidivism rates drop dramatically when ex-inmates further their education. Finally, Sue Barrett, executive director of Aid for Women, a pregnancy resource center in the Chicagoland area, talks about the organization's upcoming fundraisers, including a "A Day at the Races" on Sat., June 10 at Arlington International Racecourse and "Swing for Life" golf tournament on Mon., June 19 at Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove.


April 17, 2017 show

Greg Dolan, associate director for public policy for Catholic education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins Bob to talk about what the Donald Trump administration means for Catholic education. The first school Trump visited as president last month was St. Andrew Catholic School located just outside of Orlando, Florida. Next, Fr. Tom Walsh, pastor of St. Martin de Porres parish located in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, talks about what Cardinal Cupich's new anti-violence initiative will mean to parishes like his. Finally, Kate Kuhn, assistant director of Catholic Charities of Chicago’s refugee resettlement program, talks about the program and the need to raise $250,000 by July 1 to continue it.