Commonweal Magazine Presents Four Leading Commentators in a November 13 Panel Discussion of the 2010 Midterm Elections

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Commonweal Conversation with Mark Shields, Peter Steinfels, Jean Bethke Elshtain and Paul Baumann Is free and open to the public on Saturday, November 13, 4:00 PM at New York University.

Commonweal, the independent journal of opinion published by lay Catholics, will present four leading commentators in a panel discussion entitled “Politics, Faith and the Midterm Elections” on Saturday, November 13 at 4:00 PM at New York University’s Hemmerdinger Hall. Co-sponsored by New York University’s College of Arts and Science, the event is free and open to the public.

The panelists will be well-known broadcast commentator Mark Shields; author and former New York Times columnist Peter Steinfels; University of Chicago professor Jean Bethke Elshtain; and Commonweal’s editor, Paul Baumann. The panel is one of a series of “Commonweal Conversations,” public events intended to further conversation about the interaction of religion and public life. A reception afterwards is open only to Associate supporters of Commonweal. Further details and directions are available at

Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, Divinity School, University of Chicago, with appointments in Political Science and the Committee on International Relations. She is also holder of the Leavey Chair in the Foundations of American Freedom, Georgetown University. She has authored and co-authored a number of books on the relationship between religion and public life, and is regularly named as one of America’s foremost public intellectuals.

Mark Shields, the well-known commentator, has been on the political playing field since Robert F. Kennedy ran for president in 1968. After years of managing campaigns from the courthouse to the White House, he is now one of the most widely recognized political observers in the United States. Shields appears regularly on the PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio, and many other broadcast outlets, and his syndicated newspaper column appears nationwide. In 2005, he received the first “Catholic in the Public Square” award from Commonweal.

Peter Steinfels is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America. For many years a columnist and staff member for Commonweal, he was named editor of the magazine in 1984. In 1988, he became senior religion correspondent for The New York Times, where he wrote the “Beliefs” column from 1990 to 2010. He is currently co-director of Fordham University’s Center for Religion and Culture.

Paul Baumann came to Commonweal in 1990 and was appointed editor in 2003. He was educated at Wesleyan University and Yale Divinity School. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Monthly, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications. Before coming to Commonweal, he worked as a newspaper editorial writer and reporter. With Patrick Jordan, he is the editor of Commonweal Confronts the Century: Liberal Convictions, Catholic Tradition - Celebrating Seventy-Five Years from the Pages of Commonweal (Touchstone).

Commonweal is a biweekly journal of opinion published by lay Catholics since 1924, offering commentary on religion, politics, culture, media and the arts. The magazine’s Web site is at


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Thomas Baker
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