The Catholic Women’s Forum 2017 Symposium

A Feminine Lens on the Enduring Problem of Poverty

Date: March 30-31, 2017

LocationCosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

Co-sponsored by The Catholic Women’s Forum at EPPC and The Catholic Information Center

Agenda (links to abstracts below)

Pre-Symposium Reading:

Amoris Laetitia

Centessimus Annus

Laborem Exercens

Laudato Si

Mortality and Morbidity by Anne Case and Angus Deaton

Our Miserable 21st Century by Nicholas Eberstadt

Dress Code: Business Attire

Objective: This two-day symposium of Catholic women scholars brings a feminine lens to the problem of poverty. Our work is premised on the idea that economic policies alone, though important, offer an inadequate framework for addressing this issue. Our scholars will consider the poverty of a lost cultural inheritance, wherein the allure of materialism and casual sexual norms has replaced the personal, internal struggle for virtue, the traditional life script that offered the bonds of marriage and the gift of children, and solidarity with the poor in our own communities and beyond. This loss has taken a disproportionate toll upon women and their children, often leaving women and children bereft of paternal support and, in turn, fostering a troubling aimlessness among poor and working class men especially. Meanwhile, as the mediating institutions between the individual and the state have weakened, the range of solutions has become narrow, with a dismaying focus on the government transfer of payments rather than solutions that encourage the development of the person and strengthen the family. Minority populations have been particularly hard hit by these changes—an important consideration for Catholics, as nearly half of Catholic children in the U.S. are Hispanic/Latino, and a significant percentage of them live in poverty. Women, particularly those motivated by faith, have always been at the forefront of cultural renewal, shaping hearts and minds in families and communities, and offering practical assistance to the poor and needy. Our scholars will focus on the link between the Church’s preferential option for the poor and practical solutions that foster the development of virtue, responsibility, sexual integrity, and marriage as pathways out of poverty, particularly for women.


Schedule subject to adjustments

March 30, 2017

8:15 AM Mass Celebrant: Fr. Justin Huber
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Breakfast
9:30 AM – 9:45 AM Welcome
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM Panel I   What is “Poverty”? (And How Do We Measure Progress?)
Catherine Pakaluk Economics and Catholic Social Teaching  (What is poverty?)
Sophia Aguirre Measuring Progress – An Integral Approach
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Break
Poverty and   the Family   Problems and Solutions
11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Panel II   Marriage
Helen Alvare

Meg McDonnell

Marriage: Out of Reach for the Poor?
Hilary Towers Reviving Marriage: A Means of Reducing Poverty 
12:15 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch and Talk
Nora Urrea Poverty and the Latina Experience
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Break
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM Panel III   What About Men?
Deborah Savage Men at Work: Poverty, Families, and the Assault on Masculinity
Rachel Lu Criminal Justice, Mercy, And Second Chances
3:15 PM – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 PM – 4:45PM Panel IV   Culture Considerations and Government Solutions
Elizabeth Kirk

Leigh Snead

An Exchange of Gifts: The Importance of Foster Care and Adoption in Caring for the Most Vulnerable
Angela Rachidi Safety-net Solutions to Poverty
4:45 PM – 6:00 PM Break
6:00 PM – 6:45 PM Cocktails
6:45 PM – 9:00 PM Dinner and Talk
Luanne Zurlo Education:  An Elusive Key to Poverty Alleviation

March 31, 2017

8:15 AM Mass Celebrant: Fr. Justin Huber
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Breakfast
Poverty: Special Considerations
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM Panel I   Health Care Considerations
Sr. Hanna Klaus Contraception and the Plight of the Poor
Sr. Diana Dreger, OP Health Care for the Poor, Two Approaches (secular v faith-based) 
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Panel II   Human Dignity in the Face of Poverty
Susan Selner-Wright Ontological Poverty and Our Attitude towards the Impoverished, Dependent, and Disabled 
Suzanne Hollman Emotional Affliction and Poverty: Locating Human Dignity on the Margins of Society 
12:15 PM – 1:30 PM Working Lunch
Elizabeth Schiltz Messaging ‘the Feminization of Poverty
1:30 PM – 1:45 PM Break
1:45 PM – 3:00 PM Panel III    Spiritual Perspectives on Poverty
Pia de Solenni Spiritual Poverty Amidst a Materialistic Culture
Amber Lapp Let the Poor Evangelize Us
3:00 PM – 4:00PM Wrap Up