President Barack Obama's White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to expand work of previous administrations


Media Advisory

"It will target for its work such new areas as reducing abortions, support for adoption, interfaith dialogue and perhaps more of an international dimension ... Catholics should be pleased with at least the initial way the new office is being described." Richard Ryscavage, S.J., director, Center for Faith and Public Life, Fairfield University

Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., former national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA, and professor of sociology at Fairfield University where he directs the Center for Faith and Public Life, says the White House office of faith-based initiatives, created by President Barak Obama and announced yesterday, will expand the work begun under Presidents Bush and Clinton.

Ryscavage said, "President Obama's version of the faith-based initiative represents an extension and confirmation of the Bush administration's basic structure which itself was rooted in some initiatives by former President Clinton. It will preserve the 11 faith-based initiative offices inside the different federal agencies. But the new White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is also more expansive than the Bush office. It will target for its work such new areas as reducing abortions, support for adoption, interfaith dialogue and perhaps more of an international dimension. The Bush office ran into difficulties over Church-State matters. The new office will try to navigate that controversial area by working more closely with lawyers in the Department of Justice. The President is also creating a diverse advisory council. Catholics should be pleased with at least the initial way the new office is being described.

Contact Info:
Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J.
rryscavage@mail.fairfield.edu
(203) 395-1427

Nancy Habetz, dir. media relations, Fairfield University
nhabetz@mail.fairfield.edu
(203) 451-1725

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 9, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 207