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Same-sex marriage issue facing Maryland, other states

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Catholic News Service

The same-sex marriage issue will be facing lawmakers and voters in several states this year.

Democratic-controlled legislatures in Washington state, Maryland and New Jersey are considering legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage, while Maine voters will vote on a same-sex marriage referendum in November.

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Letter from Bishop Malooly: ‘We will not comply with this unjust law’

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January 27, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. On January 20, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” and the health policies they write, and almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as part of their policies. HHS falsely characterizes these as “preventive services” as if pregnancy were a disease.

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Vatican: Report of ‘corruption’ letters is ‘partisan and banal’

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Insisting on the Holy See’s continuing commitment to transparency and rectitude in economic affairs, the Vatican’s spokesman downplayed references to “corruption” in a letter apparently sent to Pope Benedict XVI by a Vatican official who is now apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, criticized as “partisan,” “partial and banal,” an Italian television news program, which, on Jan. 25, broadcast portions of letters addressed to Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.

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Outstanding priests of diocese keep the faithful supportive, Bishop Malooly tells pope

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Dialog Editor

Pope Benedict XVI told Bishop Malooly Jan. 19, “I am aware of the struggle you had in Wilmington.”

Bishop Malooly was meeting with the pope during his periodic “ad limina” visit to the Vatican with other U.S. bishops from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, the Military Services archdiocese and the Virgin Islands.

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Youths’ joy at pro-life Mass called best evidence of Resurrection

January 25th, 2012 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A Washington pastor told 17,000 exuberant teenagers and young adults gathered at pro-life rally and Mass in the Verizon Center Jan. 23 that he wondered if they knew “what an encouragement you are.”

Some 500 young people from the Diocese of Wilmington were also at the Mass and Bishop Malooly was one of its concelebrants. The bishop was cheered loudly by the diocese’s contingent at the rally when he was introduced to the sports arena’s young congregation.

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Banners, t-shirts, balloons proclaim pro-life crowd’s convictions

January 24th, 2012 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Mark Hosbein stood on the corner of a busy Washington intersection under the steady rain Jan. 23 with a small duffle bag at his feet and a simple message for passers-by: “Please consider spiritually adopting an unborn baby who is in danger of abortion.”

Handing a reporter one of his brochures, Hosbein said as president of Hearts For Life, he is following the lead of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who promoted the idea of spiritual adoptions for the unborn years ago.

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HHS rejects religious exemption for contraceptive coverage

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON —- Although Catholic leaders vowed to fight on, the Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.

Instead, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced Jan. 20 that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year “to adapt to this new rule.”

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Annual Catholic Appeal sets 36-year record

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The 2011 Annual Catholic Appeal set a new record with collections of more than $4.3 million, the campaign’s highest total in its 36-year history, the diocesan Development Office announced this week.

Collections totaled $4,394,389 at the campaign’s close on Jan. 10, more than 8 percent above the campaign target of $4,058,000. The campaign generated pledges of $4,593,735 from nearly 28 percent of the constituents registered in the diocese’s 57 parishes and the Korean Catholic Community. The average gift was $253.08.

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From the Bishop: Prayer and witness are important in struggle for human life

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This month we recall the disastrous 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which overturned the abortion laws in all 50 states. That decision has cost over 50 million lives and has contributed significantly to the polarization and bitterness of our political and cultural life.

Each year on Jan. 22, the precise date of the decision, the Catholic Church in the United States holds a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. This year, because that date is a Sunday, the Day of Prayer will take place on Monday. I urge Catholics in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to make it a day of prayer, privately or by attending one of the Masses or holy hours celebrated on that day.

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Pope warns of radical secularism in U.S., greets Bishop Malooly

January 19th, 2012 Posted in Featured, Our Diocese

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops, including the Diocese of Wilmington’s Bishop Malooly, that “radical secularism” threatens the core values of American culture, and he called on the church in America, including politicians and other laypeople, to render “public moral witness” on crucial social issues.

The pope spoke Jan. 19 to a group of U.S. bishops who were in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visits, which included meetings with the pope and Vatican officials, covering a wide range of pastoral matters.

Pope Benedict XVI meets Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del., during a Jan. 19 meeting with U.S. bishops on their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. In a speech to the bishops, the pope issued a strong warning about threats to freedom of religion and conscience in the U.S. (CNS)Pope Benedict XVI meets Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del., during a Jan. 19 meeting with U.S. bishops on their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. In a speech to the bishops, the pope issued a strong warning about threats to freedom of religion and conscience in the U.S. (CNS)

Opening with a dire assessment of the state of American society, the pope told the bishops that “powerful new cultural currents” have worn away the country’s traditional moral consensus, which was originally based on religious faith as well as ethical principles derived from natural law.

Whether they claim the authority of science or democracy, the pope said, militant secularists seek to stifle the church’s proclamation of these “unchanging moral truths.” Such a movement inevitably leads to the prevalence of “reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.”

The pope drew an opposition between current “notions of freedom detached from moral truth” and Catholicism’s “rational perspective” on morality, founded on the conviction that the “cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning.” Using the “language” of natural law, he said, the church should promote social justice by “proposing rational arguments in public square.”

Coming at the start of an election year, Pope Benedict’s words were clearly relevant to American politics, a connection he made explicit by mentioning threats to “that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”

The pope said that many of the visiting bishops had told him of “concerted efforts” against the “right of conscientious objection … to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices” — an apparent reference to proposals by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opposed by the U.S. bishops, that all private health insurance plans cover surgical sterilization procedures and artificial birth control.

In response to such threats, Pope Benedict said, the church requires an “engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity” with the courage and critical skills to articulate the “Christian vision of man and society.” He said that the education of Catholic laypeople is essential to the “new evangelization,” an initiative that he has made a priority of his pontificate.

Touching on one of most controversial areas of church-state relations in recent years, the pope spoke of Catholic politicians’ “personal responsibility to offer public witness to their faith, especially with regard to the great moral issues of our time,” which he identified as “respect for God’s gift of life, the protection of human dignity and the promotion of authentic human rights.”

The pope was not specific about the bishops’ relationship with such politicians, merely encouraging the bishops to “maintain contacts” with them and “help them understand” their duty to promote Catholic values.

While acknowledging the “genuine difficulties” facing the church in the United States, the pope concluded on a hopeful note, pointing to a growing appreciation for “Judeo-Christian” civic values, and a “new generation of Catholics,” who he said will play a “decisive role in renewing the Church’s presence and witness in American society.”

Before the speech, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, greeted the pope with brief remarks that recalled his 2008 visit to the United States.

The pope addressed bishops from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, and the Virgin Islands.

Sarah Delaney contributed to this story.

 

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