WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objected to a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposal to authorize federally funded research on part-human, part-animal embryos in comments submitted to the agency Sept. 2.

Published in International

WASHINGTON – U.S. Catholic leaders and some of Iran's top religious figures issued a joint declaration that calls for the end of weapons of mass destruction and of terrorism – and the assigning of blame for terrorist acts to an entire religion.

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NEW ORLEANS – A key action at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans was the approval Aug. 10 by 980 voting members of a document that marks 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue.

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When Vice President Joe Biden last week tweeted a photo of himself proudly officiating at the same-sex civil wedding of two White House staffers, it quickly became fodder for news stories and commentary both pro and con — the latter by religious conservatives who thought Biden was betraying his Catholic faith and deserved a rebuke.

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WASHINGTON – Following the June 28 terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport in Turkey, the president of the U.S. bishops' conference and Chicago's archbishop issued statements emphasizing the need to find comfort in faith and show support the suffering with prayer and generosity.

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WASHINGTON – Two U.S. church leaders called for a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, saying they have no place in the hands of civilians.

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BEIRUT - Myrna calmly begins describing the challenges she faces as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, but soon breaks down in tears over the enormous problems that have upset her family life: her husband has no work and her 7-year-old son with a heart condition now wets in his sleep because of stress. Some days the family goes without eating.

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WASHINGTON - Exploitation and discrimination abound among refugees from Myanmar's ethnic minority communities who have landed in Malaysia, a five-member contingent from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops learned.

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WASHINGTON - Displaced members of Myanmar's Kachin ethnic minority are struggling with being away from their homes and the limited services available in a Catholic-run camp near the Myanmar-China border, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration.

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On June 30, the Vatican released details of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States, his first to this country.

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Catholic Church spent a total of $150.7 million on child protection efforts and to address allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors in dioceses and religious orders between July 2013 and June 2014.

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AINKAWA, Iraq - One of Iraq's Christians chased out of her historic homeland quietly prayed the rosary as a bishop who traveled halfway around the world to meet her and others displaced celebrated Mass for them.

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On the Fourth of July, the Catholic Church in the United States turned toward Washington, not for the fireworks, nor for a windy speech from the president, but for the conclusion of what the American bishops declared to be a Fortnight for Freedom.

I followed it rather more closely than most, since I was appointed last year a consultant to the American bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Alarmed at encroachments on religious liberty at home, and escalating violence against Christians abroad, the ad hoc committee of senior bishops proposed a special fortnight of prayer, fasting, catechesis and public action in defense of religious liberty. Summoning forth “all the energies the Catholic community can muster,” the fortnight was a dramatic appeal to Americans — both Catholic and otherwise — to realize that their “first, most cherished liberty” is under sustained and serious attack.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

WASHINGTON - When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Catholics to dedicate 14 days to the preservation of religious freedom through prayer, education and public action, they listened.

Catholics in dioceses across the United States participated in Masses, devotions, holy hours, educational presentations and rallies during the June 21 to July 4 campaign to support the nation's "first and most cherished freedom" and draw attention to actions Catholic and other religious leaders say are weakening religious liberty, including the federal contraceptive mandate.

Published in Features

WASHINGTON - Defending religious liberty is part of the bigger struggle to "convert our own hearts" and "live for God completely," Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said July 4 in Washington at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

He delivered the homily at the Mass that brought the U.S. bishops' "fortnight for freedom" to a close.

"The political and legal effort to defend religious liberty -- as vital as it is -- belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion," the archbishop said.

Published in Features