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Allen, Smith among notables at summer institute

by Joe Bollig

ATCHISON — What makes Catholic institutions really Catholic?

It’s a provocative question, especially in light of high-profile disputes between bishops and Catholic health care entities and providers.

The question of how to preserve Catholic identity in Catholic programs and Catholic health care institutions will be the focus of three conferences to be held from July 11 to 16 at Benedictine College in Atchison.

The registration deadline is June 30. Two keynote addresses, by Janet E. Smith and John L. Allen Jr., are free.

The conferences will be held during the Natural Family Planning Outreach’s National Summer Institute, which has as its theme and focus, “Catholic Healthcare Identity: Pastoral and Medical Strategies.”

The conferences will include keynote addresses by notable Catholics:

• Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, and co-initiator of the Manhattan Declaration

• Smith, professor of moral theology and chair of life ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit

• Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

• Jan Hemstad, M.D., president of the Catholic Medical Association

• Allen, Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio, and senior reporter for the National Catholic Reporter.

The first conference, “Virtues: Moral Development and TOB,” from July 11 to 12, is for Catholic educators and marriage preparation leaders. Smith will be the keynote. The tuition is $200. Attendance at the keynote is free.

The second conference, “Communicating God’s Plan: Marriage and Human Dignity, is on July 13. Allen will be the keynote speaker. His keynote is offered free, but attendees must register.

The third conference, “Bedside Manner and the Bedroom,” from July 15 to 16, is for medical professionals and health care administrators. George, Hemstad, and doctors of the Catholic Medical Association will be the keynote speakers.

The tuition is $450, with discounts for CMA members. There are other discounts for nurses and those attending only one of the two days. There will be limited free seating at the keynote for medical professionals who are unable to attend the conference.

The cost of each meal, buffet-style, is $10. Overnight accommodations start at $30, with private rooms and baths available for $50 (spouses free), and apartments (sleeps four) with a private kitchen and bath at $215.

For information, to register by the June 30 deadline, or to see full schedules for each conference, call (913) 360-7571, or go to the Web site at:

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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