meet the speakers


George Weigel, Sr. Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Commission

George Weigel  is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. One of America's most distinguished public intellectuals, he is the author of more than twenty books, including the international acclaimed, two-volume biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning. The recipient of fifteen honorary doctorates, Poland's Gloria Artis Gold Medal, and the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, he has been Vatican analyst for NBC News since 1999.  His two most recent books are Practicing Catholic: Essays Historical, Literary, Sporting, and Elegiac, and Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church.

Dr. Peter Steinfels, Fordham University

The author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America, Peter Steinfels was formerly senior religion correspondent of The New York Times and, for twenty years, wrote a biweekly column there on religion and ethics.  With Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, he founded and, until last summer, directed the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture.  He is also the author of The Neoconservatives (1979), chapters in twenty books, and over 2000 articles for many journals on religious history, politics and religion, morality and warfare, medical ethics, social policy, and other subjects.

He has served as an editor of Commonweal magazine and The Hastings Center Report, the leading journal of medical and scientific ethics.  He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown, Notre Dame, and the University of Dayton; and a University Professor at Fordham.  A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, he earned a Ph.D. in European history at Columbia.  In 2003 he and his wife received Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal for service to the church and society.   


The Most Reverend Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence

 A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bishop Tobin was born on April 1, 1948.  His seminary studies include Saint Mark Seminary High School, Erie and his seminary training continued at Gannon College in Erie, St. Francis College in Loretto from which he graduated in 1969, and finally at North American College in Rome with study at the Gregorian University.  He also pursued graduated studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of San Anselmo in Rome

Ordained a priest by Bishop Vincent M. Leonard on July 21, 1973, Bishop Tobin served as Assistant Pastor in Pittsburgh parishes for eleven years.  He was named administrative secretary to former Pittsburgh Bishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua in 1984 and in 1990 became Vicar General and General Secretary.

Bishop Tobin was named Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh and Titular Bishop of Novica by Pope John Paul II on November 3, 1992.  He was ordained to the Episcopacy on December 27, 1992.  Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was installed as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, February 2, 1996 in St. Columba Cathedral.

Bishop Tobin was named eighth Bishop of Providence by Pope John Paul II on March 31, 2005, and was installed as Bishop of Providence on May 31, 2005 in Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Currently, Bishop Tobin serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Providence College, Providence, Salve Regina University, Newport and The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

In 1997, Bishop Tobin was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from his Alma Mater, St. Francis College, Loretto, Pennsylvania.

Bishop Tobin has published two books:  Without a Doubt: Bringing Faith to Life, and Effective Faith: Faith that Makes a Difference.

Often stating that he was “not ordained to be irrelevant,” Bishop Tobin has promoted traditional Catholic moral values and has been personally involved in the public discussion of current issues such as respect for human life, the definition of marriage, the role of faith in society, comprehensive immigration reform, gun control, and homelessness in Rhode Island.  To manifest the social justice commitment of the Church, Bishop Tobin inaugurated the annual “Keep the Heat on Campaign” which provides heating assistance for those in need, and initiated Emmanuel House, the diocesan-sponsored emergency shelter for the homeless.

Bishop Tobin’s episcopal motto is “strong, loving and wise.” (II Tim 1:7) He has explained that those words summarize the goal of his ministry: to be strong in the practice of our faith, loving and compassionate toward others, including those who disagree with us, and wise enough to know how to be simultaneously strong and loving.


Dr. Alex Mikulich, Loyola University New Orleans

Alex Mikulich is Research Fellow on race and poverty at the Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University NewOrleans . He is co-author of The Scandal of White Complicity in US Hyper-incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance published this year by Palgrave Macmillan.  He co-edited and contributed to Interrupting White Privilege: Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Orbis Books, 2007) that won the 2008 Theological Book of the Year Award from the College Theology Society. 

Alex serves as Director of Louisiana for Fair Lending, a statewide coalition advocating for responsible lending practices, a group that he co-founded.  He also serves the executive committee of Catholics for Repeal, a statewide coalition collaborating with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to end the use of the death penalty.  He majored in History at the College of the Holy Cross where he graduated in 1984, earned a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 1990, and procured a doctorate in Roman Catholic theology and social ethics from Loyola University Chicago in 2000.  Known affectionately as “Big Al” at Portsmouth Abbey, his greatest exploits were on the basketball court and football and lacrosse fields.  He will celebrate his twenty-sixth anniversary with his wife Kara in New Orleans where they are nurturing two teenage children and a basset hound, Harley.


Jim Forest

Jim Forest is the author of biographies of Dorothy Day (All Is Grace) and Thomas Merton (Living With Wisdom) as well as books on pilgrimage, the Beatitudes, icons, confession and the Orthodox Church. A co-worker of Dorothy Day, he was a managing editor of The Catholic Worker. Earlier in his life, before joining the Catholic Worker staff in New York, he worked as a meteorologist with a Navy unit at the US Weather Bureau; he was given an early discharge from the military as a conscientious objector. In 1969-70, he spent a year in prison after participating in the destruction of draft files in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1977 he was appointed General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, work that brought him to Holland, which has since become his home. In 1988, he became a communicant in the Orthodox Church. He is currently international secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. In 1989, he received the Peacemaker Award from Notre Dame University’s Institute for International Peace Studies. In 2007, he was the recipient of the St. Marcellus Award presented annually by the Catholic Peace Fellowship. In 2011, at the University of Wroclaw in Poland, he was presented with the Prince Constantine Ostrogsky Award for “promotion of peace and justice and attempts to safeguard life and creation through life-protecting methods.”



Mr. S. Casey Carter 

Samuel Casey Carter is the chief executive officer of Faith in the Future, an independent foundation that provides strategic management and operational oversight of 17 high schools and four schools of special education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and provides support services to all Archdiocesan schools in the five county Philadelphia area.

Across his career Casey has been president of National Heritage Academies, a charter school management company that operates over 75 schools in nine states, president of CfBT USA—the U.S. affiliate of CfBT Education Trust—the head of global corporate social responsibility for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the executive director of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Foundation.

Casey is also the author of On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character published by Corwin Press/SAGE International and No Excuses: Lessons from 21 High-Performing, High Poverty Schools. His articles, essays, and columns have appeared in more than 180 newspapers and magazines, including, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, New York Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, Investor's Business Daily, and Detroit News.

After receiving a bachelor degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis in philosophy and mathematics, Casey studied for a license in theology at Oxford University and a doctorate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.


Roger Kimball, Publisher of the New Criterion magazine

Roger Kimball is a conservative U.S. art critic and social commentator. He first gained prominence in the 1990s with the publication of his book, Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education. Additionally, he is co-editor and co-publisher of The New Criterion magazine and the publisher of Encounter Books.

Kimball lectures widely and is a frequent contributor to many newspapers and journals, including The Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Spectator, The New Criterion, The Times Literary Supplement, and The New York Sun. Kimball is also a regular contributor to The New Criterion's weblog Armavirumque. In the autumn of 2007 he inaugurated Roger's Rules, a regular column at the Pajamas Media weblog, which was launched in the spring of 2006.

Kimball's The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art, is a critical account of contemporary academic art history and its infatuation with "theory" and the "transgressive" at the expense of aesthetic appreciation and a traditional view of the ennobling resources of art. Among the figures Kimball discusses are Michael Fried on Gustave Courbet, Svetlana Alpers on Peter Paul Rubens, Griselda Pollock on Paul Gauguin, and Martin Heidegger and Meyer Schapiro on Vincent van Gogh