RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 03.15.13

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman and Matt Paul sit down with Governor Tom Corbett to discuss his slumping poll numbers and the state of the economy.

This week’s show also features an explanation of the “Pay-to-Play” scandal at the Turnpike that’s resulted in criminal charges, and we’ll hear Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden’s thoughts on Pope Francis. 

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


Radio PA Roundtable 02.15.13

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Matt Paul catches us up on the Attorney General’s disapproval of the controversial lottery management contract. He’ll also chat one-on-one with State Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) about all of the latest developments in the Penn State scandal. Plus a Pennsylvania Bishop discusses Pope Benedict XVI’s big announcement.

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


PA Reactions to Pope’s Impending Resignation

Elected at the age of 78 in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI was the oldest pope to be chosen in nearly 300-years.  Today’s announcement from the 85-year-old pontiff will make him the first pope to resign in nearly 600-years. 

Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden

Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden

Diocese of Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden says the news brings a mix of sadness and gratitude.  Like most people, Bishop McFadden was initially surprised when he heard the news this morning, but notes that it’s not out of character for Pope Benedict.  “His first and foremost love is for Jesus Christ and his Church.  So, if he feels that he’s not able to carry out the responsibilities as effectively as he feels that he would need to do, I think he feels that – out of love for the Church – that he should step down,”  Bishop McFadden tells reporters. 

Pope Benedict made the announcement at a meeting of Vatican Cardinals, telling them he lacked the strength to fulfill his duties. 

Governor Tom Corbett – a Roman Catholic himself – was shocked to hear the news this morning.  “I was listening on the radio coming over here, and some people are already pushing the Cardinal of New York [to be Pope Benedict’s successor],” Corbett said on Radio PA’s Ask the Governor program.  “Whether a North American Cardinal can ever become pope, who knows.” 

A conclave to elect a new pope will likely be called for next month.   

The announcement from the Vatican comes as the Lenten season is about to begin, and Bishop McFadden suggests the timing is good.  “Lent calls us to a period of renewal… perhaps in many ways it is a blessing that during the Season of Lent the whole Church now can be focused on renewal.”

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Remove Ban on Teachers Wearing Religious Garb, Symbols in the Classroom.

Pennsylvania is one of only two states that still ban teachers from wearing any type of religious garb or symbol.   A bipartisan effort is underway to lift that ban. Representative Eugene DePasquale, a York Democrat, says it’s about ending religious discrimination in the public.  He says statutes banning teachers from wearing any religious garb or symbols were implemented in a time of anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish sentiments at the turn of the last century.

Representative DePasquale says Pennsylvania and Nebraska are the only states that have not repealed their religious garb statutes. He says it is not about having teachers proselytize in the classroom; it’s simply about allowing them to wear an emblem of faith as they teach.  

House bill 1581 would amend Section 1112 of the Public School Code to remove the prohibition on teachers wearing any religious garb, mark, emblem or insignia while in the performance of their duties.

Representative Will Tallman, an Adams County Republican, is cosponsor of the bill.  He says it’s a freedom of expression issue and will not be disruptive to the educational process.

Under the current law, a teacher could be punished for wearing any type of religious garb or symbol in the classroom, even if their faith required it.   A public school director can be held criminally liable for not enforcing the law.

Representative DePasquale says the bill would not block teacher dress codes.  

Sandra Strauss, director of Public Advocacy at Pennsylvania Council of Churches, says it’s far past time to repeal this ban.  She says the council has always supported religious expression in terms of dress.   

The lawmakers discussed the bill Tuesday at a capitol news conference.