The Catholic Church in the United States has spent a staggering sum of close to $4 billion in the past 20 years to compensate victims and to investigate, adjudicate and prevent clergy sex abuse.

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WASHINGTON -- At a Sept. 10 hearing on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said the U.S. House "needs to vote now and approve this humane, pro-child, human rights legislation."

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court issued an unsigned order late Sept. 11 that will temporarily allow the Trump administration to enforce its new rule preventing many Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States, while the legal battle over this issue continues to work its way through the courts.

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WASHINGTON -- A Capuchin Franciscan priest was found guilty Aug. 15 of four counts of child sexual abuse stemming from when he served as a parochial vicar at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington.

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WASHINGTON -- The bishop of El Paso, Texas, met with the families of those who were killed and wounded during the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart in the city where he serves, and in a statement following the meeting said his heart "was breaking," after seeing up-close the human aftermath of the crime.

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WASHINGTON -- In response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 3 and 4, several U.S. bishops expressed their support and prayers for victims while also expressing outrage that these tragedies continue to occur.

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VATICAN CITY -- Vatican City State will have its own reporting system in place before the end of the year for flagging suspected cases of the abuse of minors and vulnerable people and instances of cover-up or negligence in handling such cases, the Vatican said.

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WASHINGTON -- More than 180 faith leaders in Texas, including 18 Catholics, signed a statement sent to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice July 23 asking the agency to change its policy banning prison chaplains from execution chambers.

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WASHINGTON -- The July 25 announcement by the Justice Department that it is reinstating the federal death penalty for the first time in 16 years was unwelcome news for Catholic leaders who have advocated against capital punishment.

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WASHINGTON -- A few hundred Catholic activists, including dozens of women religious, gathered outside at the foot of the U.S. Capitol July 18 urging politicians to stop its "inhumane treatment" of immigrant children at the border and reminding people of faith to take a stronger stand against current U.S. border policies.

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WASHINGTON -- The Pew Research Center's annual report on restrictions on religion worldwide showed the United States had the worst scores in the Americas in three of the eight categories Pew surveyed.

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SEATTLE -- Washington's bishops have issued a call for "comprehensive immigration reform that honors the dignity of those seeking a better life in the United States, while also addressing the legitimate need for safe and secure borders."

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- In a 64-50 vote May 28, the Illinois House passed an abortion bill the Catholic Conference of Illinois called "an extreme measure" that allows "for the abortion of unborn life at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason."

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ROME -- Limiting the number of Muslims allowed to immigrate to traditionally Christian nations would be a prudent decision on the part of politicians, said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke.

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To read statistical surveys of religion in Canada and the United States is to believe organized religion is imploding. 

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