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Cardinal dismayed that White House rejects religious freedom concerns

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WASHINGTON — In a strongly worded letter to his fellow bishops, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York charged that White House officials failed to consider the U.S. bishops’ concerns that the federal mandate governing employer coverage of contraception and sterilization under the health care law violated religious freedom principles.

An invitation from the White House to “work out the wrinkles” regarding the mandate either by rescinding it or at least widening the exemptions on religious grounds failed to reach an agreement and the effort “seems to be stalled,” he said in the letter released late March 2.

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National standards set for U.S. Catholic schools

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A set of national standards and benchmarks for Catholic schools — defining what makes them unique and providing ways to measure their effectiveness — was released March 7.

The publication: “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools” is the result of a collaborative effort by the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Education, the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and the National Catholic Educational Association.

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Bishop Lori cites ‘absurd’ effects of HHS contraceptive mandate

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty went before Congress again Feb. 28 to urge rescission of the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate or passage of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.

Bishop William E. Lori’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee focused on some of the “absurd and surreal consequences” of the mandate and the “accommodation” announced Feb. 10 by President Barack Obama, which the bishop called “a legally unenforceable promise to alter the way the mandate would still apply to those who are still not exempt from it.”

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Chicago priest named a bishop for Belize

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON —Bishop-designate Christopher Glancy was just settling in at a Chicago parish staffed by his religious order, the Viatorians, after having spent 12 of the previous 13 years in the Central American country of Belize.

Then came the summons: He was to be named the new auxiliary bishop of the nationwide Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan.

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Bishop accepts pastor’s resignation over Mass wording

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville said he did not “fire” a priest from his pastorate for using his own wording in some parts of the Mass but was obligated to correct the situation as shepherd of the diocese.

The bishop accepted the resignation of Father William Rowe, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel for the past 17 years, after several meetings with the 72-year-old priest over the last five years failed to resolve the bishop’s concerns about how Father Rowe celebrated the Mass, especially after the implementation of the new Roman Missal in late November.

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Hearing examines federal birth control mandate’s impact on religious liberty

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — During a nearly five-hour congressional hearing Feb. 16, religious leaders explained how the contraceptive mandate in the U.S. health reform plan is an affront to their religious liberty rights.

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and two Catholic college presidents were among 10 panelists who addressed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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N.J. governor vetoes same-sex marriage bill

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TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 17 made good on his pledge to veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed by the state Legislature but at the same time said he might name an ombudsman to make sure the state’s current law recognizing civil unions is respected.

The state Assembly passed the bill Feb. 16 with a 42-33 vote. The state Senate approved it 24-16 Feb. 13.

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Phila. closes 10 parish schools, 23 regional ones formed

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Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — Forty-nine Catholic schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese will form 23 regional schools and 10 schools will close outright, according to a Feb. 17 announcement by Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, who oversees the Secretariat for Catholic Education.

At a press briefing the bishop released the final decision on closings or consolidations of elementary schools as recommended by the Blue Ribbon Commission, which was formed about a year ago.

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Catholic groups react to revised HHS mandate on birth control

February 17th, 2012 Posted in National News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and the president of The Catholic University of America were among 300 signers of a letter who called President Barack Obama’s revision to a federal contraceptive mandate “unacceptable” and said it remains a “grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.”

On Feb. 10, Obama said religious employers could decline to cover contraceptives if they were morally opposed to them, but the health insurers that provide their health plans would be required to offer contraceptives free of charge to women who requested such coverage.

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Cardinal DiNardo asks Senate to pass conscience protection bill

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities called on members of the U.S. Senate Feb. 15 to solve conscience protection problems with the federal health reform law by passing the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.

By resolving a “needless dispute,” Congress and the Obama administration “could return to the most pressing of all the real problems — the fact that many millions of Americans still lack basic coverage for health care,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

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