National News

As Navy Yard shooting details are sorted out, leaders ask for prayers

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As military, police and federal investigators searched for a second suspect in the Sept. 16 shootings at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 dead, religious leaders and public officials offered prayers for the victims and their families.

Veteran journalist named communications director for Pittsburgh Diocese

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- Bishop David A. Zubik has appointed Ann Rodgers as the director of communications for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, effective Jan. 1. She will succeed Robert Lockwood, who has held the post since October 2001. To transition to her new position, Rodgers will join the staff of the diocese Sept. 30. Rodgers has covered religion for the secular media since 1980.

Writers reflect on U.S., Mexican migration 10 years after joint pastoral

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A decade after the bishops of Mexico and the United States issued their first joint pastoral letter on the immigration-related challenges facing their countries, a panel of commentators observed that the situation remains much the same.

‘It’s a girl!’ Joyful words in U.S., dangerous words in India, China

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the United States, hearing the words "it's a girl," is a cause for enormous joy and celebration for most, said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. "Today, the three most dangerous words in China and India are: It's a girl," Smith said told a congressional hearing Sept. 10.

USCCB president: CHA support of health care rules ‘less than helpful’

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Catholic Health Association's acceptance of rules governing women's access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act was "less than helpful" to the bishops' effort to seek changes in the mandate. "We have not, ourselves as bishops, been able to arrive at the same conclusion, that accommodation with HHS is that easy," said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York at a news conference Sept. 11.

Catholic college students recall vivid memories of 9/11 attacks

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Alyssa Badolato, a senior at The Catholic University of America in Washington and native of Cherry Hill, N.J., described the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as her loss of innocence. "Now there's this fear," she said. "We're still feeling those effects."

Human rights, religious freedom called necessary to lasting peace

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Retired Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, back from a recent trip to Jordan, said four essential elements to any long-range peace deal in the Middle East are human rights, religious freedom, an agreement on the Holy Land and forging a "path to peace." "The whole question of peace, the whole question of religious liberty, is so important," Cardinal McCarrick said Sept. 9 at a conference, "Religious Freedom & Human Rights: Path to Peace in the Holy Land -- That All May Be Free," at The Catholic University of America.

Just war in attacking Syria? Some see cloudy, some see clear answers

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even with just war theory as a guide, the answers remain murky to moral and ethical questions about whether a military strike is the appropriate response to what U.S. officials believe was a chemical attack against Syrian civilians, analysts said. While President Barack Obama, Congress and other world leaders weigh how to respond to the reported chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 that killed as many as 1,400 civilians, the church's just war teachings on when a military response is appropriate were being raised as a guide to decision-making.

College leaders say plan to reduce student loan debt needs improvement

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- This summer -- when college campuses were virtually empty -- the subject of out-of-control college loans was a hot topic. Now that students are back in school, the price tag on their loans -- set to greet many of them when they graduate -- looms larger than their dorm room bunk beds and is getting close scrutiny by students, parents, college leaders and government officials.

Dominican official to investigate claims of sexual abuse against nuncio

sexual abuse allegedly committed by the apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, just a day after the Vatican confirmed its own investigation into the allegations. Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, appointed as nuncio in 2008, was removed from the post Aug. 21. A Dominican bishop confirmed in early September that the dismissal was due to the sexual abuse scandal unfolding in the Caribbean country.