National News

Mom who lost son in Sandy Hook massacre urges people to ‘let love lead’

Nicole Hockley's message from Newtown, Connecticut, to people at two different venues in the Dubuque area was clear: "Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not."

Despite year-end budget deal, future spending trends less certain

The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill approved by Congress avoided a repeat of last year's government shutdown and largely kept in place social services spending, especially programs benefiting low-income families.

Only in Philadelphia? 11 other cities want to host Pope Francis too

Mayoral invitations and children's letter-writing campaigns from other U.S. cities and Mexico City want the pope to visit them around the time he is officially confirmed to be in Philadelphia next year. For everyone else it's just speculation.

Meet the priest who penned the lyrics for World Meeting of Families hymn

Norbertine Father Andrew Ciferni, a South Philadelphia native, wrote the text of "Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom" that was selected from 20 submissions as the official hymn for next year's congress. Hear the hymn performed recently in Philadelphia.

Theologians decry ‘pervasive sin of racism,’ pledge to work for justice

This year the "hope for a just peace" that is Advent "must face the flagrant failures of a nation still bound by sin, our bondage to and complicity in racial injustice," said a group of Catholic theologians.

Coalition aims to end death penalty in U.S.

A coalition of groups called 90 Million Strong will work on a state-by-state basis to add to the 16 states that now ban capital punishment. The head of a participating Catholic group said the death penalty "is a life issue to us."

Religious leaders on torture: Don’t let it happen again

Acts of torture outlined in a Senate report "violated the God-given human dignity inherent in all people and were unequivocally wrong," said a bishop who along with other religious leaders condemned the use of torture by the CIA.

Church heightens profile in its work on environment, climate change

When a Vatican official suggested that Pope Francis was contemplating an encyclical on the environment a year ago, he signaled that climate change and environmental degradation were such pressing concerns that the pope wanted to address them in a teaching document.

Ferguson business owner ‘overwhelmed by love, kindness, service’

Plywood covered the broken front windows of her restaurant, the back door served as the main entrance, and no diners appeared on this afternoon. Yet, Maria Flores counted her blessings.

Student says many welcomed church’s ‘safe space’ amid Ferguson turmoil

People are seeking an understanding of why race is such a contentious subject in St. Louis, wanting to get to the "underlying issue" of why it is "so embedded" in its history, said Laura Downing, a student at St. Louis University.