Panel to explore Catholic voting issues

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Higher Education reporter
  • October 06, 2008 @ 12:00 PM

Catholics and anyone else on the fence about who to vote for in this year’s presidential election could gain insight from a pair of panel discussions being hosted at DePaul University next week.

“It’s aimed at anyone who wants to gain a Catholic perspective on some of the issues that come up, the religious issues of the campaign,” said Roxanne Brown, a spokeswomen at DePaul, today.

The back-to-back panel discussions will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

The topics of the first panel range from a look at a statement from U.S. Bishops on what Catholic doctrine says about political involvement to voting trends among Catholics in previous national elections.

The second panel will analyze where U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain -- the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, respectively -- stand on a host of issues and how those stances align with the Catholic Church.

Abortion, stem-cell research, the Iraq war, immigration and health care are all very likely to come up, says political science Professor Patrick Callahan, who will be on that panel.

Callahan says within the church, many people are divided on whether to vote for a candidate based on a single issue, such as abortion, or based on a candidate’s broader policy positions.

“It’s a question of prudent judgment as to which candidate would most effectively promote the demands of justice,” Callahan says.

Most of the panelists are members of the DePaul faculty. The panels will also feature Robert Gilligan, the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, and Nicholas Lund-Molfese from the office of the Chicago Archdiocese.

The free and public event is at the Cortelyou Commons on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus, 2324 N. Fremont St.

Peter Sachs is a Chicago-based journalist. He covers higher education for the Daily News.