Past Event

A Moral Purpose

How Catholic Progressives View the Role of Faith in Governance

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT

A Moral Purpose: How Catholic Progressives View the Role of Faith in Governance

Featured Speaker and Panelist:
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20)

Sister Simone Campbell, National Coordinator of NETWORK
Bill Press, Radio Talk Show Host
Stephen Schneck, Chair of the Department of Politics and Director of Congressional Studies at Catholic University; author of Person and Polis

Moderated by:
Denis McDonough, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

In February, 55 Catholic Democratic Members of Congress signed a “Statement of Principles,” emphasizing their commitment to their faith and confirming their belief that government has “moral purpose.” In this statement, they affirm the Church’s role in providing moral leadership but also point to the “primacy of conscience” as a guiding force in making legislative decisions.
During this conversation, we will explore the challenges that exist for public servants who are motivated by Catholic social teaching but disagree with Church leaders on controversial political issues. How do they remain true to their religious beliefs and their political conscience? How do they balance their private obligation to their faith and their public duty to preserve the separation of church and state?

Please join the Center for American Progress for a thought-provoking discussion of these vital issues.



Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
12:30 P.M.-2:00 P.M.
Lunch will be served at noon
Admission is free

Center for American Progress
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Map and Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

For more information please call 202-741-6246


The Honorable Congressman Charles A. Gonzalez is currently in his fourth term in the United States Congress as the Representative from the 20th Congressional District of Texas. Congressman Gonzalez is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  Currently a Senior Democratic Whip, Congressman Gonzalez has served as a Texas Regional Whip for the Democratic Caucus and as Chair of the Hispanic Caucus Civil Rights Task Force since 1999. Congressman Gonzalez serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he sits on the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials.

Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service, is the National Coordinator of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C. Before coming to Washington, Simone was the executive director of JERICHO, an interfaith public policy and advocacy organization in California. Simone has eighteen years of experience as an attorney for the working poor in California, and five years as the leader of her international community.

Bill Press is the host of The Bill Press Show, a syndicated radio talk show and former co-host of MSNBC’s Buchanan and Press, a lively debate show on current issues he hosted with former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. Press and Buchanan still appear together daily on MNSBC as political analysts. Press is the author of Spin This! in which he explores the culture of spin. He investigates exactly what spin is, who does it and why, and the impact it has on American society. He is also the author of How the Republicans Stole Christmas: The Republican Party’s Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take It Back, tackling the topic by drawing on his life as a Catholic, his degree in theology, his knowledge of Scripture and his decade spent in the seminary – as well as over 30 years of active involvement in politics as campaign manager, strategist, candidate and political commentator on television and radio. Press is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, whose weekly column is distributed by Tribune Media Services to newspapers across the country.

Stephen Schneck is chair of the Politics Department at The Catholic University of America, where he also is director of the Life Cycle Institute.  His research field is political philosophy.  He has been a frequent lecturer at the Smithsonian and other Washington-area venues on topics related to the intersection of religion, ethics, philosophy, and politics.  He is the author or editor of four books in the field of political theory and is currently writing a book on religion and the American founding.

Denis McDonough is Senior Fellow and Senior Adviser to Distinguished Senior Fellow Tom Daschle at the Center for American Progress where his work is focused on national security and energy as well as faith and public policy. Prior to joining American Progress, Denis was Legislative Director for Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado. From July 2000 to December 2004, Denis was Foreign Policy Adviser to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. In that role, Denis worked extensively on legislation related to the war on terrorism, the response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, Iraq and the greater Middle East. He earned a Masters Degree from Georgetown University (1996) and graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN (1992).