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Analysis: Tax-exempt religious groups restricted in political activity but speaking out

November 17th, 2011 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , ,

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WASHINGTON — The names on the ballot may change from one election to another, but the guidelines for what tax-exempt religious organizations can and cannot do in a political campaign remain basically unchanged.

“The law says that organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which includes charities and churches, may not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office,” the Internal Revenue Service says on its website.

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Cardinal says U.S. ordinariate for former Anglicans to be created Jan. 1

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — A new ordinariate, functionally similar to a diocese, will be created Jan. 1 to bring Anglicans into the U.S. Catholic Church, announced Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 15.

Cardinal Wuerl also said 67 Anglican (Episcopalian) priests have submitted their dossiers seeking ordination in the Catholic Church, and 35 of those have received initial approval from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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Mo.bishop avoids indictment, agrees to monthly meetings

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph has agreed to meet monthly for the next five years with a county prosecutor to avoid a possible criminal misdemeanor indictment for failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse.

The agreement was reached Nov. 15 with Daniel White, the prosecuting attorney of Clay County. The bishop will meet each month with White and report all instances of suspected child abuse in the diocese.

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U.S. bishops discuss religious liberty, marriage, finances at meeting

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BALTIMORE — During their annual three-day fall assembly in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops’ discussed threats to religious liberty, efforts to support traditional marriage and the need to keep a close eye on health care issues.

They also were updated on the Roman Missal translation and the new U.S. ordinariate to bring former Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

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Cardinals back post-abortion healing project

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Signaling the importance they gave to the topic, three U.S. cardinals offered a briefing Nov. 14 on efforts to expand and strengthen the church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel.

Cardinals Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington reported on the work of Project Rachel during the first day of the Nov. 14-16 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore.

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Phoenix norms won’t curtail precious blood distribution

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Catholic News Service

PHOENIX — Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has issued new norms for the distribution of Communion in the Diocese of Phoenix that entrust to pastors the decision to make available Communion under both kinds in their parishes.

Promulgated Nov. 7, the new norms for the Diocese of Phoenix are intended to promote greater reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. They are based on three church documents that provide guidance for celebrating Mass: the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, “Redemptionis Sacramentum” and the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America.

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Supreme Court to hear challenges to federal health care law

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By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court Nov. 14 agreed to take three separate cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, granting an unusually lengthy time period for oral arguments.

The court Nov. 14 agreed to hear three cases out of Florida, each raising questions about different aspects of the national health care program signed into law in March 2010. It set aside five and a half hours for oral arguments, likely to occur in March.

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Senators ask why bishops’ agency was denied grant

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A group of Republican senators have asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for detailed information to justify the denial of a one-year grant to the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services to aid foreign-born human trafficking victims.

In a Nov. 9 letter to Sebelius, 27 senators asked for various records such as copies of all grant applications, the scores assigned to each application, and documents and communication including telephone and email records dating back one year related to the development of grant guidelines.

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Catholic women urged to oppose death penalty

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CHICAGO — Work to end the death penalty. That’s what Sister Helen Prejean asked of more than 650 women Nov. 9 at the National Council of Catholic Women’s annual conference held over three days in downtown Chicago.

NCCW consists of more than 4,000 women’s organizations in U.S. parishes and dioceses.

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Archbishop heartened by Obama’s response to religious liberty concerns

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BALTIMORE — After a lengthy report from the chairman of a new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he came away from a recent meeting with President Barack Obama encouraged about some aspects of religious rights concerns.

Speaking Nov. 14 at the bishops’ fall general assembly, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., committee chairman, outlined a range of actions by government agencies seen as threats to religious rights. He explained the constitutional and natural law concerns the ad hoc committee aims to address.

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