Poll Release, National Press Club Panel: A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters

September 14, 2015, 4:43 pm | Posted by

Media Advisory for: September 16, 2015

Contact: Michele Setteducato, 732-614-3818michele@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Poll Release, National Press Club Panel: A “Francis Effect” on Catholic Voters?

In less than two weeks, Pope Francis will make his first trip to the United States and become the first pontiff in history to address Congress. Many have speculated about how the pope’s leadership and priorities might impact the nexus of religion and politics in this country. How is a pope who puts the moral dimensions of economic inequality and climate change at the forefront of his papacy shaking up the Catholic political narrative?At a time when eight Catholics are running for president, many of the nation’s most powerful elected officials are Catholic and Catholic voters in battleground states could prove decisive in the 2016 election, is there likely to be a “Francis effect” on American politics?

Faith in Public Life and The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey testing how Catholic voters are responding to the pope’s messages. The results, based on data collected from 1,400 likely Catholic voters, will be released at the National Press Club as part of a panel discussion with prominent Catholic analysts, academics and journalists.


·   Moderator: Luke Russert, NBC News

·   Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

·   David Buckley, Professor of Political Science, University of Louisville

·   Melinda Henneberger, Senior Writer, Bloomberg Politics

·   John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life

·   Stephen Schneck, Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at CUA

WHAT: Poll release and panel discussion

WHERE: The National Press Club

First Amendment Room

529 14th St. NW

Washington, DC 20045

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16th  9:30-11:00 am (EST)

For interviews with John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life please contact Michele Setteducato at michele@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

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Christian Leaders Cite Pope Francis in Lead-up to GOP Debate

August 4, 2015, 9:44 am | Posted by

A presidential election should be about more than candidates scoring political points and the sharpening of partisan divides. The issues debated in a campaign are fundamentally about values and priorities. The 2016 election is an opportunity for a national examination of conscience.


Poverty, inequality, environmental damage, mass incarceration and a broken immigration system that tears families apart all undermine our nation’s values and highest ideals. These are not isolated issues, but the result of financial and political structures that perpetuate inequality, exclusion and a culture of indifference.


A healthy democracy requires a commitment to the common good. In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis reminds us that “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” are one and demand a collective response. The same global economic system that puts profit before human dignity leads to the sin of environmental degradation.


“Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules rather than serves,” Pope Francis recently said. “That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”


Candidates for the most powerful office in the world have a responsibility to clearly articulate plans for addressing two of the most urgent moral challenges of our time: economic inequality and climate change.


In Cleveland, where the first presidential debate will take place, more than half of all children grow up in poverty. Infant mortality rates in Cuyahoga County are so high that the city’s newspaper recently described them as “abysmal.” Northeast Ohio has some of the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association. Latino and African-American children in low-income neighborhoods disproportionately suffer from unacceptable levels of asthma and lead poisoning. These intolerable conditions are the reality in many cities and communities across our country and globe. It’s a reality no nation should ever accept.


Poverty, inequality and climate change are not abstractions. They are life and death issues. A five-year study from the Environmental Protection Agency found that a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions would prevent nearly 70,000 premature American deaths per year by the end of the century.


We ask all presidential candidates – in particular those who identity as people of faith — to recognize and act upon our shared responsibility to be stewards of the earth and to build an economy of inclusion.


In faith,


Sister Donna Markham, OP

President and CEO

Catholic Charities USA


James Winkler

President and General Secretary

National Council of Churches


Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II


Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (USA)


Rev. Gradye Parsons

Stated Clerk of the Office of the General Assembly

Presbyterian Church (USA)


Dan Misleh

Executive Director

Catholic Climate Covenant


Jim Wallis

President and CEO



Richard Cizik


New Evangelicals for the Common Good


Sister Simone Campbell, SSS

Executive Director

NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby


Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D.


Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities


Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza

Former President

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


Francis X. Doyle

Former Associate General Secretary

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D.

Ambassador to the Holy See, Ret., The John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service

Loyola University Chicago


Sister Sharon Holland, IHM


Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR)


Sister Ann Scholz, SSND

Associate Director for Social Mission

Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR)


Sister Pat McDermott, RSM

Leadership Team

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Sister Eileen Campbell, RSM

Leadership Team

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Sister Anne Curtis, RSM

Leadership Team

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Sister Deborah Troilett, RSM

Leadership Team

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Sister Mary Pat Garvin, RSM

Leadership Team

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Patrick Carolan

Executive Director

Franciscan Action Network


James Hug, S.J.

Past President

Center of Concern


John Gehring

Catholic Program Director

Faith in Public Life


Eric LeCompte

Executive Director

Jubilee USA Network


John Baumann, S.J.


PICO National Network


James Birge

Interim President

Marygrove College


Rev. Dr. Serene Jones


Union Theological Seminary


Daniel Curran, Ph.D.


University of Dayton


John Smarrelli


Christian Brothers University


Kevin Wildes, S.J.


Loyola University New Orleans


Eugene J. Cornacchia


Saint Peter’s University


Stephen A. Privett, S.J.


University of San Francisco


John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J.


Regis University


Charles Dougherty


Duquenesque University


Peter M . Donohue, O.S.A.


Villanova University


Beverly A. Wharton


Briar Cliff University


Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson


Auburn Seminary


Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD


Barry University


Charles T. Strauss

Assistant Professor of History

Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)


Neomi DeAnda, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

University of Dayton


David O’Brien

Emeritus Professor of Catholic Studies

College of the Holy Cross


Anne Clifford, Ph.D.

Msgr. James A. Supple Chair in Catholic Studies, Dept. of Philosophy & Religious Studies

Iowa State University


Pam Rector

Director, Center for Service and Action

Loyola Marymount University


Sister Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Theology

Boston College


Rev. John P. Lanagan, S.J.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought

Georgetown University


William George, Ph.D.

Professor of Theology; Chair, Dept. of Theology

Dominican University


Sandra Yocum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

University of Dayton


Dennis M. Doyle

Professor of Religious Studies

University of Dayton


Terrence W. Tilley

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. Professor of Catholic Theology

Fordham University


Joseph J. Fahey

Professor of Religious Studies; Chair, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice

Manhattan College


Kevin Ahern, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Manhattan College


Kathleen Maas Weigert, Ph.D.

Carolyn Farrell, BVM, Professor of Women and Leadership

Loyola University Chicago


Tobias Winright

Maeder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics

Saint Louis University


Ron Pagnucco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Dept. of Peace Studies

College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University


Sister Leanne M. Jablonski, FMI, Ph.D.

Scholar in Residence for Faith and Environment, Hanley Sustainability Institute

University of Dayton


T. Michael McNulty, S.J.

Scholar in Residence

Marquette University Center for Peacemaking


David P. Gushee

Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life

Mercer University


Ronald J. Sider

Distinguised Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy

Palmer Seminary


Stephen Schneck

Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies

The Catholic University of America


Christopher Kerr

Executive Director

Ignatian Solidarity Network


Dr. Moya K. Dittmeier

Executive Director

Conference for Mercy Higher Education


Sister Joanne M. Burrows, SC


Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati


Ken Wilson


Blue Ocean Church


Brian D. McLaren

Activist and Author

The Convergence Initative


Rev. William Kelley, S.J.

Secretary for Social and International Ministries

Jesuit Conference, The Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States


Anthony Cutcher


National Federation of Priests’ Councils


Clete Kiley

Director of Immigration Policy

Unite Here


Tom Allio

Former Social Action Director

Diocese of Cleveland


Christopher J. Hale

Executive Director

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good


Anthony Annett

Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor

Columbia University


Dolores Christie

Retired Cleveland ethicist


Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D.Min.

Director, The Institute for Pastoral Initiatines; Professor, Department of Religious Studies; Marianist Educational Associate

University of Dayton


Sister Carren Herring, RSM


Nuns on the Bus Ohio


Carol Devine

Minister and Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, Associate Minister

Green Chalice, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


Shantha Ready-Alonso

Executive Director

Creation Justice Ministries


Richard M. Gibson


The Elizabeth Baptist Church


Sister Patricia Chappell

Executive Director

Pax Christi USA

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Pope Francis Poll

July 29, 2015, 1:46 pm | Posted by

Several polls were released this week examining American public attitudes toward the Pope in advance of his visit to the US in September. The polls showed that the Pope continues to enjoy remarkably strong approval ratings with American voters of all stripes, who agree with his message of equality and inclusion and his call to do more to address climate change.

Lake Research Partners poll of religious or faith-affiliated likely 2016 voters showed that the Pope is more popular than Oprah, and that his messages of togetherness, community, inclusion, and equality have broad reach and acceptance with these voters.

Quinnipiac University’s survey of registered voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia found that voters agreed by a more than 2-1 margin with the Pope’s call for the world to do more to address climate change.

That’s on the heels of a Gallup survey of US adults (not just voters) that found some polarization in attitudes and a drop in favorability among political conservatives.

Faith in Public Life’s Catholic program director, John Gehring, is the author of the upcoming book The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church. John looked at all three polls, and said:

“Pope Francis brings a powerful message that is both inspiring and challenging. He is making new again what is ancient wisdom about the common good at a time when our politics and culture are too often shaped by individualism on both the right and left. The pope is connecting with people because he taps into a deeper hunger for community that goes beyond self-interest. This has implications for the values that must frame our political and policy debates. Voters are paying attention to the pope’s insistence that addressing climate change, honoring the dignity of work and building an economy of inclusion are at root moral issues.”

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Ohio Clergy Coalition to Launch Campaign to End Pregnancy Discrimination

July 28, 2015, 6:13 pm | Posted by

Faith leaders will outline legislative goals, release compact signed by over 100 clergy from across Ohio

Columbus, OH – Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00PM, a diverse group of Ohio clergy will gather at the statehouse to kick off a campaign to end workplace discrimination against pregnant women.

No woman should ever have to choose between her job and her pregnancy. But in Ohio it is perfectly legal to deny pregnant women reasonable accommodations that let them work safely as they carry their child. It’s time for the state legislature to stand up for workers and family values by outlawing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

A background memo on the issue will be circulated to press today.

Ohio Family Values is made up of Republicans and Democrats, pro-choice and pro-life advocates, and clergy from across the theological perspective, including Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals, Muslims, Mainline Protestants and Unitarian Universalists.

At the press conference, the clergy will release the Compact for Ohio Families, signed by over 100 clergy from across the state that are committed to passing pregnancy discrimination legislation.

More information about the coalition can be found at: http://www.ohiofamilyvalues.com/



Ohio Family Values clergy coalition press conference announcing campaign to pass legislation to end pregnancy discrimination


Rev. June Wilkins, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Columbus

Rev. Joshua Stoxen, Vineyard Central Church, Cincinnati

Rabbi Eric Woodward, Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus

Amanda Hoyt, Faith in Public Life


George Washington Williams Room, Ohio Statehouse


Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00PM

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Protecting pregnant workers is a must

July 17, 2015, 12:06 pm | Posted by

This blog post by FPL’s Amanda Hoyt originally ran in Policy Matters Ohio

No woman should ever have to choose between her job and her pregnancy. But that’s the choice some expectant mothers in Ohio are facing right now.

As a working mom of two young girls, I know firsthand the challenges women face in balancing their career, their family and all of life’s competing priorities.

But too many women in Ohio carry an unthinkable burden that no mother should have to bear — pregnancy discrimination. Thanks to inadequate federal protection and no state law, it’s legal in Ohio to deny pregnant women reasonable workplace accommodations that let them work safely as they carry a child. Temporary relief from heavy lifting, being able to sit for a few minutes every couple of hours, or being able to go to the bathroom when you need to are basic things pregnant women need on the job, but all too often do not receive.

The story of one woman in particular, Peggy Young, inspired me to fight to end this injustice. Peggy worked for UPS while she was pregnant, and per her doctor’s orders to not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds, she requested temporary “light duty” — an accommodation that had been given other workers who weren’t pregnant. But UPS denied Peggy’s request, forcing her to take unpaid leave and lose her company health care at a critical time for her health and the health of the child she was carrying. No pregnant mother should have to sue just to be able to avoid lifting 70-pound packages or losing her health insurance.

That’s why Ohio needs to protect pregnant mothers on the job with a common-sense state law. More than 1,000 women have filed complaints with the state of Ohio alleging pregnancy discrimination.  Check out www.ohiofamilyvalues.com, a resource for the initiative to end pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Our campaign launched this week in Columbus (See the Cincinnati Enquirer story.)

Putting adequate protections in place for Ohio women isn’t just the moral thing to do. It will also benefit the state’s economy. Approximately 75 percent of the 68 million women working in the United States will become pregnant at some point in their lives, and they are staying on the job longer than in years past. Losing a job during a pregnancy negatively impacts long-term career paths, and pregnancy is the number one factor driving women into spells of poverty.

States around the country – including West Virginia and Illinois – have passed laws to ensure that women don’t have to choose between the health of their child and their ability to pay the bills. It is time for Ohio’s leaders to take action.


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