National News

Thomas Foley dies at 84; was House speaker for nearly six years

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The nation lost "a true American statesman" with the passing of Thomas S. Foley, former speaker of the House, said the president of his alma mater, Jesuit-run Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

NFL execs, alumnus give $10 million to Catholic school in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CNS) -- Walking out of the Catholic High School locker rooms en route to practice, three freshmen football players turned a corner and came face to face with a white-haired man briskly descending the stairs in a well-cut navy suit. As they stopped to let the man pass, their eyes widened in recognition of Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

Elections, marriage and confirmation texts among bishops’ agenda items

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Elections for a new president and vice president, a discussion and vote on a Spanish-language book of prayers at Mass, and a proposal to develop a statement on pornography are among the items awaiting the U.S. bishops when they gather in Baltimore for their annual fall assembly.

Woman who left upscale life to minister to prisoners as nun dies at 86

TIJUANA, Mexico (CNS) -- Mother Antonia Brenner, a mother of seven and one-time Beverly Hills neighbor of movie stars, died Oct. 17 at the headquarters of the religious order she founded after she gave up her comfortable lifestyle to live among and minister to prisoners. She was 86.

Gov. Christie drops appeal of ruling to allow same-sex marriage in N.J.

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) -- New Jersey's governor withdrew his appeal of a state judge's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying through a spokesman that he "strongly disagrees" with the court "substituting its judgment for the constitutional process ... or a vote of the people," but acknowledged such marriages are now "the law."

By declining case, high court allows monks to make, sell simple caskets

UPDATED - NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- By declining to review a lower court's ruling, the high court Oct. 15 left standing what Benedictine Abbot Justin Brown has known in his heart for the past six years: The Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington are not breaking the law by handcrafting plain cypress caskets and selling them to Louisiana residents.

Call to ‘ask not …’ still resonates in commitment to public service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president who admonished Americans to "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country," didn't live to see how it played out, but there are plenty of people trying to keep his vision alive.

Keeping with tradition, Colbert lobs good-natured barbs at Smith dinner

Comedian Steven Colbert said at a charity fundraiser Oct. 17 that the robust New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan came "this close" to being selected pope "but he blew it in the swimsuit competition." Colbert claimed Cardinal Dolan was the first runner-up in the election and should be "warming up his blessing arm in the papal bullpen" in the event of a steroid issue with the winner.

At ‘Justice for Immigrants’ Mass, bishop calls Jesus ‘divine immigrant’

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) -- Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop David M. O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a mid-day "Justice for Immigrants" Mass Oct. 11 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral.

Agencies deal with cash crunch, more clients to serve during shutdown

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The federal government shutdown is over, but the early prognosticators are picking winners and losers only on the political end of the equation.