Common Sense and the Common Good: Helping the Poor and Protecting Religious Liberty
D uring the symposium held at Baylor University which is the subject of this book, Brett Latimer, a doctoral student in Baylor's Church-State Studies program, was gathering up some of the symposium presenters to drive us back to the hotel where we were staying when one of his children, along for the ride, asked him, "Are they the scholars?" Brett's answer was yes, but he failed to consult me before offering his gratuitous answer. The van was full of scholars, but I was not among them.
I am not a scholar. Nor a theologian. Nor a lawyer. Nor a preacher. I guess you could say that I am a church-state practitioner. As Vice-President for Social Policy of Catholic Charities USA, my main responsibility is to develop a consensus among the staff, boards, and volunteers of our 1,400 member agencies and institutions on various legislative issues, and to relay those views to Congress and the Administration.
Our 1,400 Catholic Charities agencies and institutions are all firmly nestled in the bosom of their dioceses and operate with the support of and under the supervision and control of the local bishop, so it is essential for Catholic Charities USA to work closely with the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. We try always to coordinate our work and to make sure that our positions are firmly rooted in the theology, tradition, and