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  • Trump presidency receives words of hope, prayers for civility

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Words of congratulations as well as caution emerged from political and religious leaders as President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated Jan. 20. Pope Francis sent best wishes and prayers to incoming President Trump shortly after he took the oath of office.

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  • Parishioners pray for mercy, end to death penalty on night of execution

    FAIRFAX, Va. (CNS) -- As he was being executed by the state, the guilty thief turned to Christ and said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Those hopeful, repentant words were repeated in the opening song of an execution vigil held at historic St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax Jan. 18. Twelve people gathered in the church to pray for convicted murderer Ricky Jovan Gray, for his victims and for an end to the death penalty.

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  • Faith groups urge Trump to embrace duty to protect environment

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic groups were among dozens mobilizing to prevent any rollback of laws and international agreements protecting the environment in response to President-elect Donald Trump's campaign promises to undo directives that he believes hinder business development.

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  • U.S. abortion rate at its lowest since 1973 Supreme Court ruling

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. abortion rate is down to its lowest level since the Supreme Court made abortion legal virtually on demand in 1973, and the rate is half of its early-1980s peak. According to a study issued Jan. 17 by the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for U.S. women ages 15-44 is 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. The figure represents a 14 percent decline from the 2011 numbers, and less than half of the 1981 rate of 29.4 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

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  • Catholic panel addresses need to find common ground with Trump administration

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic panelists gathered to discuss "Faithful Priorities in a Time of Trump" said it is difficult to get over some of the words the president-elect said during the campaign -- and even before he was a candidate. But as his presidency nears, many of them said it's important to find ways to work with him for the common good.

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  • Bishop disappointed with change in U.S. policy to Cuban refugees

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the Committee on Migration at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he was disappointed with President Barack Obama's new policy ending a long-standing agreement that allowed Cubans who arrive in the U.S. without visas to remain in the country and gain legal residency.

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  • Autonomy can be 'seriously threatening' to common good, says cardinal

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Autonomy can be a force for good in the world, said Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, but it can also be "seriously threatening to human welfare and the common good." The Second Vatican Council endorsed autonomy in "Gaudium et Spes," its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, when it defines that "created things and societies themselves enjoy their own laws and values which must be gradually deciphered, put to use and regulated by men," Cardinal O'Malley said.

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  • Americans think religious freedom is a big priority

    New Haven, Conn., Jan 9, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Religious freedom continues to enjoy strong backing from most Americans, a new survey says. “Majorities of Americans – regardless of party – have embraced religious freedom and have rightly rejected the false notion that it is something negative,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said Jan. 9. “They overwhelming support the protection of our first freedom, the free exercise of religion.”

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  • Young adult's 'dark past' becomes asset in ministry to recovering addicts

    SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- By any measure, Scott Weeman seems contented. All of the pieces of his life seem to have fallen into place. The 31-year-old is a newlywed, married in September to his wife, Jacqueline. He enjoys the love of his family and a supportive community of friends. He has found fulfillment in a rewarding ministry. And he recently finished his first book, which will be published in late 2017.

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  • Infant safe after being found abandoned at Minnesota cathedral

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- A newborn child found on the doorstep of the Cathedral of St. Paul was in good health and being cared for by local children's services officials. Nathan Leonhardt, a custodian at the cathedral, discovered the child Jan. 4 as he was locking the building about 6 p.m. following evening Mass. The baby was left in a plastic laundry basket between the exterior and interior doors of a church entrance.

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  • Catholic entities cast $4.2 billion 'halo' on Philly region, report says

    PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The ministries and services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia contribute an estimated $4.2 billion to the Southeastern Pennsylvania economy, a study has found. The effects result from services provided in education, health care, social and nutritional services and what the authors called the parish halo, the direct spending by the 217 archdiocesan parishes and intangibles such as the use of parish facilities and the cost of obtaining those service elsewhere.

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  • Oregon dancer finds ballet often transcends words, just like her faith

    PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- A burst of power from her legs carries Katherine Monogue across the dance floor while her arms become a blur of precise movements. Under a black leotard worn during a rehearsal for a recent performance, the ballerina's stomach muscles flex, keeping the center of her body relatively still as her limbs rapidly extend and retract with control.

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  • Federal judge blocks HHS transgender regulation

    AUSTIN, Texas (CNS) -- A federal judge in Texas Dec. 31 blocked a regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring Catholic hospitals and health care providers to perform or provide gender transition services, saying it would place "substantial pressure" on the plaintiffs -- a coalition of religious medical organizations who said the ruling was contrary to their religious beliefs.

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  • Pro-life groups set to travel long distances for annual March for Life

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Participants in the annual March for Life always have two identical memories: the brisk January chill on the streets of the nation's capital, and the long bus ride. For some, such as the 600 marchers affiliated with the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, the march will be a culmination of successful organizing and youthful enthusiasm in addition to substantial outside donations. Other groups though, struggle with raising money for just a single busload of about 50.

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  • Benefits association, diocese file suit over HHS transgender regulation

    FARGO, N.D. (CNS) -- The Catholic Benefits Association, the Diocese of Fargo and Catholic Charities North Dakota filed a lawsuit Dec. 28 in U.S. District Court in North Dakota against a federal regulation scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 that redefines "sex" for anti-discrimination purposes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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  • Catholic organizations, faith groups glad to see end of Muslim registry

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic organizations and other faith groups say they are happy with the Obama administration's last-minute decision to end a type of national Muslim registry. The National Security Exit-Entry Registration System, known as NSEERS, began under the George W. Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks and asked that men from some countries in the Middle East register with the U.S. government when they arrived in the U.S. It continued during President Barack Obama's two terms in office even as organizations, including Catholic groups, have long called for its demise.

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  • 'Creating a Culture of Encounter' theme for National Migration Week

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "Creating a Culture of Encounter" is the theme of 2017's National Migration Week, an annual observance the U.S. Catholic bishops began over 25 years ago. Taking place Jan. 8-14, the week "is an excellent opportunity to highlight biblical tradition and our mission to welcome the newcomer," said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration.

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  • Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Lennon of Cleveland

    CLEVELAND (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard G. Lennon of Cleveland. He has headed the diocese since 2006. Bishop Lennon, who turns 70 in March, said during a news conference at diocesan offices Dec. 28 that he had developed vascular dementia, leading to his decision to submit his resignation for health reasons to the pope in November.

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  • New York cardinal to participate in Trump inauguration

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- New York's Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan will take part in the upcoming presidential inauguration of Republican Donald Trump. "I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration, and look forward to asking almighty God to inspire and guide our new president and to continue to bless our great nation," Cardinal Dolan said in an email to Catholic News Service.

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  • Father Tolton's remains exhumed, verified; his cause takes step forward

    QUINCY, Ill. (CNS) -- On the morning of Dec. 10 in a cemetery in Quincy, Father Augustus Tolton's cause for canonization took one step further as his remains were exhumed and verified. Father Tolton, a former slave, is the first recognized American diocesan priest of African descent. In 2011, the Archdiocese of Chicago officially opened his cause for sainthood.

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