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Do’s & Don’ts: Guidelines for Election Season

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Political Responsibility Guidelines

Parishes and other IRS-designated section 501(c)(3) church organizations are prohibited from participating in political campaign activity. Thus, certain political activities that are entirely appropriate for individuals may not be undertaken by church organizations or their representatives. The USCCB Office of General Counsel (202-541-3300) provides detailed guidance on what is allowed and not allowed under the law. In addition, many dioceses and state Catholic conferences provide resources that apply and summarize these guidelines for use by parishes and other church organizations. Read more »

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Suggestions for planning your Catholic wedding liturgy

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Congratulations on your engagement! The church rejoices with you and eagerly awaits the day you become husband and wife, a new family, in the covenant of marriage (a sacrament for baptized Christians). The following are suggestions for the centerpiece of your wedding day: the wedding liturgy.

The Catholic wedding liturgy (or ceremony) presents engaged couples with both choices and structure. The structure is provided by the Rite of Marriage, the ritual book that contains the prayers, readings and liturgical forms used in Catholic weddings throughout the United States. The choices come from a variety of options provided in the Rite of Marriage, which include cultural customs approved for use in the United States. Take some time as a couple to think about these choices and then discuss them with the priest, deacon or other pastoral minister at your parish. Read more »

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U.S. bishops welcome Obama’s action on undocumented immigrants

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WASHINGTON—The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, has welcomed the news that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, wrote in a Nov. 20 statement that, “We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other.”

Bishop Elizondo said that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has “been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children.”

 

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the USCCB said, “There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said so eloquently: ‘Every human being is a child of God. He or she bears the image of Christ. We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.’”

 

Bishop Elizondo added, “I strongly urge Congress and the president to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation’s immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the migrants who seek refuge here. We will continue to work with both parties to enact legislation that welcomes and protects immigrants and promotes a just and fair immigration policy.”

 

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U.S. bishops’ leader disappointed in latest HHS rules revision

August 22nd, 2014 Posted in National News Tags: , , ,

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Aug. 22 that it is issuing an additional set of interim final rules to implement its requirement that health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, provide for sterilization, contraception, and drugs that can cause an abortion.

 

The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seen in Washington in this file photo. CNS

The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seen in Washington in this file photo. CNS

In response, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), provided the following statement:

“The Administration is once again revising its regulations on the HHS mandate. We will study the regulations carefully and will provide more detailed comments at a later date. In keeping with our practice, we will evaluate the regulations according to the principles set forth in “United for Religious Freedom,” a March 2012 statement of the USCCB Administrative Committee that was later affirmed unanimously by the body of bishops at the General Assembly of June 2012.

“On initial review of the government’s summary of the regulations, we note with disappointment that the regulations would not broaden the “religious employer” exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate.

Instead, the regulations would only modify the “accommodation,” under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage.

Also, by proposing to extend the “accommodation” to the closely held for-profit employers that were wholly exempted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby, the proposed regulations would effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom.”

 

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U.S. bishops say ‘justice has prevailed’ in high court decision on religious freedom for family businesses

June 30th, 2014 Posted in National News

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WASHINGTON  —The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties means “justice has prevailed,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. CNS/CRS

The Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive services” mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as applied to these employers to the extent that it would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life.

The statement follows:

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines.

Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.

“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. ”

“We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”

 

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Have these conversations before your wedding

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As a dating or engaged couple, conversation probably comes easily. The two of you enjoy talking about just anything. Just about anything that is, except ugly disagreements. Read more »

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The theories of marriage evolution

May 4th, 2014 Posted in Marriage and Family

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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

The psychologist Paul Tournier once said, “I’ve been married six times, all to the same woman.”

Tournier explained that he never got divorced, but rather his marriage transitioned from one stage to another.

All healthy marriages experience change and transition. That’s what keeps them alive and growing. Some of the stages of growth are predictable, others are not.
Read more »

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Some tips on how to plan for your Catholic wedding

May 3rd, 2014 Posted in Marriage and Family

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Many engaged couples handle a lot of their own wedding planning. When at least one of the individuals is Catholic this can include making arrangements to be married in a Catholic church. This is a significant decision. It means more than just choosing an appropriate and picturesque setting for the ceremony and the photos.

You’re trying to make your wedding a meaningful and memorable experience and, most of all, to express in a clear and beautiful way the hopes you have for your married life. How can you achieve these goals in the celebration of your wedding? Here are three general suggestions. Read more »

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The best wedding gifts you can give the bride and groom

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It’s wedding season, and clergy are tweaking and tuning their homilies. Most preachers will remind newlyweds about Christ’s promise to remain with them throughout the ups and downs of marriage. Many will also remind the guests about their responsibility to support the bride and groom, especially during the critical early years of their marriage.

Perhaps you’ve heard this challenge yourself. As a family member or friend, you may have wondered how you can offer personal support to the couple. What practical things can you do to affirm their marriage as both a natural gift from the Creator and a supernatural blessing? How can you encourage them to develop the skills and behaviors necessary for a holy and happy union? Read more »

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