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 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinOctober 6, 2006 Issue 

Coming soon to a TV near you ...

Bishop Zubik discusses fall referenda

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor

photo of Michael Marsden interviewing Bp. David Zubik about the death penalty and marriage amendment on the TV show 'Conversations from St. Norbert College'
ON THE AIR: Michael Marsden interviews Bp. David Zubik about the death penalty and marriage amendment on the TV show "Conversations from St. Norbert College" airing in October. (Rick Evans photo)

About the show

"Conversations from St. Norbert College" is broadcast at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday in October, beginning Oct. 5. The series airs on TWCT Time Warner cable Television Channel 4 in Green Bay, Howard/Suamico and Seymour; Channel 4 in the Fox Cities; Channel 2 in Neenah/Menasha; and Channel 5 (college channel) in De Pere, Ashwaubenon and Bellevue; and on NET cable Channel 46 in Pulaski.

The show may also be viewed on Wisconsin on Demand (WIoD), Time Warner Cable's local video on demand channel 1111. It is available free to Time Warner Cable's digital cable customers in 70 communities in Northeast Wisconsin. The show is also airing in Milwaukee, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids and Upper Michigan. New shows appear the first Thursday of each month.

The October show marks the second appearance by Bp. Zubik on "Conversations from St. Norbert College." He appeared as a guest shortly after being installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay in 2003.

The show has been running for more than three years. Marsden produced and hosted a similar show at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

"What we needed to do was share a lot of the intellectual excitement at St. Norbert," said Marsden. "We have an incredible faculty and wonderful visitors to the college of which we draw many of our guests. I'm learning when I'm preparing and during the show, so I hope the audience is learning."

Mike Counter, senior media production specialist at St. Norbert College, produces the show. He said that he is in the process of working out the details to air it on a commercial television station.

"I liked what Bp. Zubik said after the show," said Counter. "He said, 'I felt like I was sitting in my living room.' That's what we want the show to be."

"The first show, he talked about his agenda," said Marsden. "This time, it is a vehicle so he can demonstrate what the church is teaching."

"The mission of the show is really about the mission of the college," he added, "to educate in the Catholic, liberal arts and Norbertine traditions."

For more information on "Conversations from St. Norbert College" visit

Related articles:

from Oct. 6, 2006 issue:
Sides square off over marriage amendment
    Proponents argue marriage needs special protection
    Sidebar: Referenda sessions

Faithful Citizenship 2006 (Third in a Series)
    Promoting family life - our most basic social unit -
    helps to build society
    Sidebar: Resources

Find more election resources on our Links page.

Michael Marsden, host of the television show "Conversations from St. Norbert College," describes October's show as a "teaching moment," and the teacher is his guest, Bp. David Zubik.

On the show, taped last week, Bp. Zubik addresses the November referendum issues on the death penalty and marriage.

"People need to see me, as bishop, speaking out on important issues," he said. "One of my responsibilities as bishop is to be chief educator. I have a responsibility to clarify for people the church's position."

Marsden, dean and academic vice president of St. Norbert College, opens with discussion about the death penalty.

"The church is urging people to vote no," said Bp. Zubik. "Historically, within our state, the death penalty has been outlawed since 1853."

Studies do not support the theory that the death penalty deters crime, he added.

"From the church's position, we highlight the Gospel of Life," said Bp. Zubik. "Life is defined as from the time of conception to natural death."

In the past, the church did support the death penalty, but a major shift took place in 1999, when Pope John Paul II spoke out against it during his visit to St. Louis, said Bp. Zubik.

Personally, the bishop has not seen any benefit from the death penalty.

"Some of my tender moments in my ministry have been visiting families of victims," he said. "Inflicting the death penalty is not going to take away their grief."

The focus should be on providing comfort and compassion to the loved ones, he added.

The Wisconsin Catholic Bishops released pastoral letters on the death penalty and marriage in June. Bp. Zubik recommends that all faithful read the letters and consult the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in preparation for the November vote. He has also produced a CD where he talks about the referendum issues. CDs were sent to pastors and parish directors in the diocese.

The letter on marriage "encourages people to support defining marriage as between one man and one woman," said Bp. Zubik.

"Marriage leads to the creation of new life," he said.

"It is important because of our Catholic intellectual history of our understanding of marriage as a sacrament," he added. "Marriage is an important unit of a community of believers."

In terms of domestic partner benefits and civil unions, Bp. Zubik said that separate discussions are necessary for those issues.

"It is important for us as church that people have basic human rights," he said.

Those who are opposed to the marriage amendment must be treated with respect, he added.

"Prejudice is always wrong," he said. "Prejudice is in effect a sin. Those statements can never go against respect. Prejudice is an evil."

The pastoral letters on the death penalty and marriage released by the Wisconsin Catholic Bishops are available at

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