Catholic News Agency: US News

How a music professor became a papal knight

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 29, 2016
Washington D.C., May 29, 2016 / 05:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Growing up in a modest home in southern California, Leo Nestor never imagined that his love of music would one day lead to him becoming a papal knight. But that’s exactly what happened, as the outgoing music professor at The Catholic University of America received the knighthood upon his retirement, in recognition of his lifetime of work for the Church. Nestor was inducted as a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great on May 14, honoring his lifetime of service to the Church through conducting and teaching music. The order was bestowed upon him by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington at the diploma ceremony for The Catholic University of America’s School of Music. Asked about the award, Nestor was quick to draw attention away from himself. “If it stands for anything, it stands for what the Church needs of her people. She needs artists,” he told CNA.   The Order of St.

Concerns over religious freedom help sink LGBT bills

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 27, 2016
Washington D.C., May 27, 2016 / 06:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious liberty was among the primary concerns that ultimately defeated controversial legislation aimed at enforcing a 2014 LGBT executive order twice this week. If passed, the amendments could infringe upon religious liberty of federal contractors, critics say. Since the executive order does not have explicit protections for religious contractors, Catholic institutions could risk losing their contracts if they object to offering spousal benefits for same-sex partners or permitting individuals to use the bathroom that does not align with their biological sex. The amendment in question, inserted by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), would bar federal money from any federal contractor who makes employment decisions “on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” It is meant to enforce President Barack Obama’s executive order that forbade contractors from making such employment decisions. After the

Did Facebook 'blacklist' religious news in their trending topics?

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 27, 2016
Washington D.C., May 27, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Earlier this month, a report from Gizmodo dropped the equivalent of a social media bomb – several former Facebook employees said the company routinely suppressed conservative news in the social media giant's “trending news” section. These former Facebook news curators said they were sometimes instructed to insert stories into the “trending” section that had not earned enough attention to be a trending topic, or that they had the freedom to “blacklist” topics that they didn’t want to appear in the section, meaning that the section was not organically curated by the interests of other Facebook users, contrary to popular thought. And since the majority of news curators at Facebook are 20 and 30-something Ivy League graduates who skew left-of-center politically: “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” one former curator told Gizmodo. Although the

Deportation could be a death sentence, bishops warn as raids increase

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 26, 2016
Washington D.C., May 26, 2016 / 03:07 pm (CNA).- Renewed immigration raids against women and children fail to recognize the severity of situations faced by migrants, who leave Central America to escape death, the U.S. bishops said. “Sending women and children back to Central America will not serve as an effective deterrent to migration because this is a humanitarian crisis and individuals from the region are being forced to flee for their lives,” Bishop Eusebio Elizondo said May 25. Bishop Elizondo is an auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. “These operations spark panic among our parishes,” the bishop continued. “No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger.” Reuters on May 12 reported that U.S. immigration officials are planning a series of raids in Ma

No, we didn’t hide money, Minnesota archdiocese says of abuse settlement

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 25, 2016
St. Paul, Minn., May 25, 2016 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis says his archdiocese has followed the law in its bankruptcy process, responding to claims by abuse victims that some assets were not made public. “The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has been fully cooperating with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court since filing in January of 2015,” Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis stated on Tuesday. “Let me be clear: The Archdiocese has disclosed all of its assets and has followed all the rules set forth by the Court and all directives from the judge,” he continued. An “unsecured creditors committee” and attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents hundreds of alleged Minnesota abuse victims, filed a motion on Monday claiming the archdiocese actually should have reported $1.7 billion in assets rather than the $49 million it reported in bankruptcy filings, according to the Associated Press. They

In South Carolina, unborn babies' pain drives latest pro-life bill

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 25, 2016
Charleston, S.C., May 25, 2016 / 12:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- South Carolina has moved closer to stronger legal restrictions against abortion, with a bill to ban most abortions after 19 weeks, due to evidence that unborn children can feel pain at that point. Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston said the passage of South Carolina’s latest pro-life bill marks “a truly great day… especially for the many children that will be saved by this important life-affirming legislation,” the Charleston diocese’s newspaper The Catholic Miscellany reports. “This act will support not only the moral law but also (the) proven scientific fact that unborn children feel pain by at least 20 weeks of development after fertilization,” he added. “As the Holy Father has said, ‘Let us say “yes” to life, and “no” to death’.”   Michael Acquilano, director of the South Carolina Catholic Conference, said that abortions

Supreme Court sends more mandate cases back to lower circuits

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 24, 2016
Washington D.C., May 24, 2016 / 05:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After sending the Little Sisters’ HHS mandate case back to the circuit courts on May 16, the Supreme Court voided two more mandate cases with Catholic plaintiffs on Monday. The court was expected to rule this summer on the constitutionality of the “opt-out” process for non-profits with the HHS contraception mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor, who care for the poor elderly in homes across the country, have argued that the process – where they would notify the government of their religious objection to providing the coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs for employees – still forced them to be complicit with evil. Since the sisters knew that voicing their objection would ultimately trigger the coverage being provided within the structure of their health plan, they would still be “facilitating access to contraceptives and abortifacients,” they said

Was it a mistake to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam?

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 23, 2016
Washington D.C., May 23, 2016 / 04:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the U.S. lifted its decades-long arms embargo with Vietnam during President Barack Obama’s visit there, human rights advocates argued that the country had not sufficiently improved its human rights record to warrant the deal.   The advocacy group Human Rights Watch expressed serious disappointment over the deal. “President Obama just gave Vietnam a reward that they don't deserve,” John Sifton, Asia policy director for the group, said May 23. After the U.S. had pressured Vietnam “for years” to improve its “human rights record,” he continued, it had not responded in kind. “It has not repealed any repressive laws, nor released any significant number of political prisoners, nor made any substantial pledges,” he said. Weeks in advance of President Obama’s visit to Vietnam, human rights advocates were insisting that the U.S. make any deal with the country cont

What to say to Trump? Conservative Christian leaders want a conversation.

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 23, 2016
Washington D.C., May 23, 2016 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Evangelical and socially conservative leaders are planning a meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to discuss their concerns and decide on future action. Organizers of the meeting plan to bring together about 400 leaders to meet with the candidate, Time Magazine reports. The organizers include former presidential candidate Ben Carson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “The main thing here is to have a conversation,” Perkins said, adding that the goal of the meeting is to have “an honest conversation so that these leaders know what they need to do.” Carson is the only meeting organizer who endorsed Trump in the Republican primary. He is organizing the meeting in his capacity as the chairman of MyFaithVotes, an organization founded by California lawyer Sealy Yates to mobilize Christian voters. Many of the likely attendees did not support Trump in the Rep

Could this save Catholic marriage prep?

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: May 22, 2016
Washington D.C., May 22, 2016 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- With high divorce rates among Catholic couples – and marriage rates plummeting among millennials – Church leaders are scrambling to address the problem.   But long before Pope Francis' recent apostolic exhortation on “The Joy of Love” was written, one marriage prep ministry was already putting the Holy Father's message into practice. The U.S.-based Witness to Love marriage prep ministry seeks to challenge engaged couples to a greater and more fulfilling life of virtue through an intensive, multi-faceted program. It's something that's called for distinctly in the Pope's document when he says that “marriage preparation aimed at giving couples a genuine experience of participation in ecclesial life and a complete introduction to various aspects of family life.” However, tough conversations about an engaged couple's spiritual situation often fail to happen in marr