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Cardinal links religious liberty fight with abortion struggle

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Participants at the annual March for Life were urged in advance of the march not to let themselves be compromised in their beliefs as the federal government pursues regulations that Catholic leaders say constitute an attack on conscience and religious liberty.

“I beg and pray for the young people present and all youth and young adults not to be compromised in your dedication to the protection of life of each human person, born and unborn,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. “Keep it before your eyes and in your hearts immediately. Threats against life and against the consciences of those who say ‘yes’ to life must be met with timely and unwavering action, in our families and institutions, and yes, in the public square.” Read more »

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Abortion leading to less respect for lives of disabled, archbishop says

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PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia hospital’s alleged refusal to provide a kidney transplant to a mentally disabled 3-year-old is yet another example of the harm caused in the United States by the Roe v. Wade court decision legalizing abortion, according to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

“The habit of treating genetically disabled children as somehow less worthy of life is growing across the country,” the archbishop said in a column posted Jan. 19 on the website of his archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard & Times.

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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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Calif. bishops back initiatives on death penalty, abortion

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Catholic bishops of California are backing proposed ballot measures to require parental notification before a minor’s abortion and to end use of the death penalty in the state.

The endorsement, contained in a statement posted Jan. 10 on the website of the California Catholic Conference, marks a departure from the bishops’ long-standing policy of not taking a stand on potential initiatives until they have qualified for the state ballot.

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Rev. King’s message of action and service lives on, say speakers

January 13th, 2012 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , ,

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Two priests and one mayor recalled the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in two words: action and service.

Speaking Jan. 8 at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary, the three recounted the slain civil rights leader’s belief in equality and nonviolence, challenging their audience to continue that legacy.

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Religious leaders object to treating same-sex unions as marriage

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A letter signed by more than three dozen U.S. religious leaders objects to the specter of religious groups being forced to treat same-sex unions “as if they were marriage.”

“Altering the civil definition of marriage does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once,” said the letter, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” released Jan. 12.

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Texas bishops applaud decision to uphold sonogram law

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Catholic bishops applauded the Jan. 11 decision of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the state to enforce a sonogram law requiring abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to view the ultrasound images of their unborn children.

“Providing mothers access to sonograms informs them about the risks and complications associated with abortion,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. “These consultations save lives by educating mothers who may not realize that the child in their womb is exactly that — a unique, irreplaceable human life.”

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High court upholds church school’s exception to federal law

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court Jan. 11 upheld the idea that a “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws means the church can’t be sued for firing an employee who the church classified as a minister.

For the first time, the court held that such an exception to federal employment laws exists. The unanimous opinion reversed a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Phila. closing 45 parish grade schools, four high schools

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PHILADELPHIA — Jan. 6, traditionally celebrated as Epiphany, represented a true epiphany for thousands of Catholic school parents and students in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

On that day, the Blue Ribbon Commission formed by Cardinal Justin Rigali a year earlier, formally presented its final report to his successor, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. While the scope of its recommendations were not unexpected, it was nevertheless stunning.

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Clergy, laity praise new American cardinals

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Catholic News Service

Clergy and laity alike praised the naming of two new American cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI.

“This is an honor for these outstanding church leaders as well as an honor for the church in the United States,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., in a Jan. 6 statement. “As men of prayer, wisdom and dedication, they will bring many talents and graces to their new roles as advisers to the Holy Father,” said the archbishop, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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