Noted Catholic scholar from Notre Dame to speak about debated political issues

By Britany Wright
October 30, 2008

As the election comes to a close this week, voters search for answers from political experts. On Thursday, Oct. 30, the Rev. Richard McBrien, noted author on the subject of religion and politics, will be providing views on election issues at 7 p.m. in the Mansion at Cabrini College.

McBrien, author and former theology chairman at Notre Dame University, has been scheduled to come to Cabrini for two years to talk about the relationship between politics and American Catholics.

Dr. Leonard Primiano, associate

professor of religion, explained how significant McBrien’s visit is to the campus.

“I booked him two years ago to come on the Thursday before the election. He is one of the most significant Catholic scholars

to come and speak on campus in many years. He is coming here and nowhere else in Pennsylvania and the East Coast,” Primiano said.

The issues McBrien will touch on are related to how American Catholic voters will decide which presidential candidate to vote for on Nov. 4.

“Some of the issues [that he will talk about] are who Catholics will vote for [based on their stand on the issues]. They [American Catholics] will usually vote Democratic. But since Ronald Reagan, [former president] they have been voting Republican,” Primiano said.

McBrien is well versed on the topic as he has had more than 24 books published on the topic. The event is free to the general public and is sponsored by Cabrini’s department of religious studies, the offices of academic affairs and student development and the Wolfington Center for Service and Leadership.

The main issues of particular concern to American Catholics include healthcare, abortion, national security, poverty and war. Voters have the opportunity to elect a new president who represents their views, who they in turn believe will fight for policies that they wish to see.

McBrien is focusing his lecture

on the issues important to Catholics. He will reference some his points to the five Catholic principles taken from Catholic

teachings. According to an article by Thomas C. Fox titled, “Theologian says one-issue bishops

violate their own teaching,” there are five principles.

“Bishops and other Catholic officials have a constitutional right to participate in public policy debates they must impose certain limits on themselves; Catholic

voters and bishops need to focus on the issues with integrity, philosophy and performance; the voters and bishops must not forget the distinction between moral principles and their application in political order; no moral law can or should be expected to be translated into civil law; due to sacramentality, moral implications should not be imposed onto others.”

“He’s very accessible. He’ll speak in a way people will understand the issues,” Primiano said. The lecture will invoke thought amongst the community.

In response to a noted author on religion and politics coming to campus, Dr. Mary Laver, director of applied social teaching, said, “I’m delighted that a theologian

of McBrien’s stature is coming to Cabrini College. His strong focus on the Church as the people of God is a refreshing

and empowering view that is especially welcome on a campus like ours inspired by Frances Cabrini’s commitment to those on the margins. This is an excellent time to hear his message, in an election season when it’s ‘the people’s turn’ to speak from our consciences about who should represent us in the search for a better nation and world.”

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Britany Wright

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