Catholic News Agency: US News

Bishop Conley to Catholics in medicine: strive to be saints

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 30, 2014
Orlando, Fla., Sep 30, 2014 / 04:52 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic medical professionals can lead other people to God by dedicating themselves to holiness and following the examples of saintly doctors, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb., said. “Medical professionals are uniquely equipped to bring that love of God – by their compassion, their generosity, and in their very presence – to the souls who most need it,” Bishop Conley told the Catholic Medical Association’s educational conference in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday. The bishop noted Pope Francis’ call to the “peripheries”: the poor, lonely, rejected, elderly, unborn, and “those who do not know the love of God.” The bishop, who is the association’s episcopal moderator, told conference attendees that they can follow this call. “Ultimately, your task is to become medical professionals who know that your work and your lives are not your own – m

Christian groups stand with diocese to protect Seal of Confession

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 30, 2014
Baton Rouge, La., Sep 30, 2014 / 04:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nearly 20 organizations, both Catholic and other denominations of Christian, have joined the Diocese of Baton Rouge in asking the Supreme Court to protect a priest from being forced to violate the Seal of Confession. The group heading the support for the diocese, Catholic Action for Faith and Family, stated it “fully supports the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s position that ‘civil courts are entirely without jurisdiction to decide what constitutes a sacrament in the Catholic Church’.” “For this reason Catholic Action has filed an Amicus Brief, supported by 17 other Catholic and Christian organizations. The brief decries the fact that the Louisiana Supreme Court has directed the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing to decide whether or not a sacrament actually took place.” The case in question is a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that a jury, not the Catholic Church, may determi

Bishop Finn's spokesman confirms Vatican visitation

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 30, 2014
Kansas City, Mo., Sep 30, 2014 / 02:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has confirmed that an archbishop has held a visitation on behalf of the Vatican and met with Bishop Robert Finn, but cannot talk about the reasons for the visit. Jack Smith, communications director for the diocese, confirmed that Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa visited the diocese on behalf of the Congregation for Bishops and met with Bishop Finn. “Bishop Finn was informed in advance by the nuncio of the visit and Bishop Finn was in Kansas City when it occurred,” Smith told CNA Sept. 30. “He cooperated with the process and was obligated by the terms of the visitation not to speak of it to anyone, including his senior staff and communications director.” Smith said the same obligation not to speak “presumably, was conveyed to all who were interviewed.” “We do not know what, if anything, will proceed following the visit. Since th

Hundreds gather as pastor's Iranian imprisonment reaches two years

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 30, 2014
Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hundreds of advocates gathered Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., to pray for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been imprisoned in Iran for the past two years. At the prayer vigil, Abedini’s wife read from a letter in which the imprisoned pastor reassured his 8-year-old daughter that “ Lord Jesus Christ is in control,” and expressed his wish that she “learn important lessons during these trying times,” particularly that “everything that is happening in it is for His good purpose.” Born and raised as a Muslim in Iran, Abedini converted to Christianity in 2000, becoming an American citizen in 2010 following his marriage to his wife Naghmeh, who also is an American citizen. After his conversion to Christianity, Abedini began working with house churches in Iran. Although his work was technically legal, it drew complaints from the government, and he agreed to shif

Bishops find hope for religious dialogue at Palestinian university

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 28, 2014
Washington D.C., Sep 28, 2014 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Reflecting on their recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, U.S. bishops have cited relationships there between Christian and Muslim students as a sign of hope for peace in the region. A delegation of 18 bishops from the U.S. made the pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel Sept. 11-18. “What was really positive about this was the tremendous work being done there by Catholic Relief Services and by the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre and a lot of these Catholic organizations that … doing really good work,” Bishop Richard Higgins, an auxiliary of the military archdiocese who was among the pilgrims, told CNA. “The other really positive thing, that I think the bishops would agree on, was the experience of Bethlehem University … that university has over 3,000 students, and over 70 percent of them are Muslims. The rest of them are Christians of different denominatio

Arizona town urged to stop discriminating against houses of worship

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 28, 2014
Phoenix, Ariz., Sep 28, 2014 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Local government restrictions in Gilbert, Arizona are threatening the protection of religious speech by limiting signs promoting houses of worship while allowing political, ideological, and noncommercial signs to stand without the same restriction. “Religious speech enjoys full protection under the First Amendment,” noted Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, saying in a September 25 statement that “the government has no place deciding that political signs deserve more space and attention than religious speech.” The Becket Fund is urging the Supreme Court to protect religious speech, saying that the local restrictions implemented in 2005 in Gilbert are an intentional discrimination against houses of worship, namely the Good News Community Church. The pastor of Good News Church, Clyde Reed, has been commanded to use small, 2 x 3 foot signs, which should b

On 30th anniversary, Project Rachel looks to a global future

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 26, 2014
Milwaukee, Wis., Sep 26, 2014 / 04:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After 30 years of providing post-abortion healing and support across the United States, Project Rachel is hoping to take its ministry abroad. “The aftermath of abortion is a universal phenomenon,” founder Vicki Thorn said in a recent interview with CNA. “The symptoms are basically the same across cultures; this is a woman who has lost her child in a traumatic and unnatural fashion.” Founded in 1984 as a response to the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed widespread abortion in the U.S., Project Rachel is a diocesan-based healing ministry for those who have suffered the devastating consequences of abortion. The ministry boasts a network of clergy, mental health professionals, and spiritual directors who provide one-on-one, confidential care for those affected by abortion. Care includes counseling, support groups and retreats. Project Rachel has always had a very open relationship with the bishop

At UN, cardinal condemns terrorism's use of religion

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 26, 2014
New York City, N.Y., Sep 26, 2014 / 02:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Terrorism represents a “fundamental threat to our common humanity” and people of faith must condemn religion-based terrorism, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday. Invoking the founding of the United Nations after World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany, he said Sept. 24 that countries once again “must come together in order to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct assaults on their human dignity.” The cardinal addressed the security council during open debate on foreign terrorist fighters and their threats to international peace, according to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. Cardinal Parolin specifically rejected terrorism based in religion, affirming that religious persons have a “grave responsibility to condemn those who seek

Bishop, canonist: Gay unions among sins barring Communion

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 25, 2014
Lewistown, Montana, Sep 25, 2014 / 04:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The denial of Holy Communion to a same-sex couple who obtained a marriage license is in line with broader Church teaching on public grave sin and the Eucharist, explained a prominent canon lawyer. The provision that supports this pastor’s action is Canon 915, which “directs ministers of holy Communion to withhold the sacrament from those who ‘obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’,” Dr. Edward Peters told CNA. The case in question involves Fr. Samuel Spiering of St. Leo the Great parish in Lewistown, Montana, where a same-sex couple who volunteered at the parish had obtained a marriage license 15 months prior in Seattle. Local newspapers had reported the details of the story, and CNA confirmed those details with the vicar general of the diocese. After he arrived at the parish, Fr. Spiering met with the couple face-to-face to discuss their marriage license. When he confirmed that

Boko Haram still a serious threat to Nigeria, advocates warn

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: September 25, 2014
Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2014 / 02:37 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The militant Islamist group Boko Haram continues to pose a grave threat to Nigerian society five months after the abduction of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, a law expert from the country warned. “Boko Haram continues to attack their communities and about a dozen parents of missing girls have already died in the five months since their abduction,” Emmanuel Ogebe, managing partner of the U.S.-Nigeria Law Group, told CNA Sept. 24. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western Education Is Sinful,” has been responsible for thousands of deaths since 2009, with at least 2,000 deaths attributed to the group in 2014. The organization has targeted security forces, politicians, Christian minorities, and other Muslims in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north. In April, the terrorist group kidnapped almost 300 girls from a school in Chibok, in the north-east of Nigeria. About 60 of the girls escaped in the