Priest to Discuss Faith-Based Delivery of Social Services

A discussion of faith-based social service programs in a pluralist society will be the topic of the winter presentation in the Catholicism and American Life lecture series presented by the UCSB Catholic Studies Research Focus Group.

"Catholicism and the Engagement with Public Life,"a talk by Father John Coleman, will be presented at 4 p.m. March 1 in the McCune Conference Center at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

Father Coleman is a Jesuit priest and a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University, where he also holds the Charles Cassasa Chair in Social Values.

He is the author of four books, Sociology: An Introduction (1968), The Evolution of Dutch Catholicism, 1958-1974 (1978), Context of Our Ministries (1981) and An American Strategic Theology (1982).

His talk will focus on four main areas dealing with recent Bush Administration proposals to address some of the country's social service needs by providing government funding to religious groups already engaged in battling the problems.

Coleman will address:

Fears that taking government money will diminish the religious nature of church programs.

Fears that faith-based social service will be pervasively sectarian and thus violate the First Amendment.

The government's desire to tap into the social capital of church-based programs.

The diverse faces of public Catholicism in its engagement in broader social service and advocacy.

In May, Demetria Martinez -- novelist, poet, journalist and a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter -- will speak on Catholic social activism and the Latino experience in the United States.

She will base her remarks on her involvement in the Central American Sanctuary Movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s and on her recent work in protesting vigilante attacks on undocumented immigrants along the Arizona-Mexico border.

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