National News

Pope calls for prayers for victims of Texas factory explosion

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called for prayers for the victims of a deadly explosion in Texas. In a short message sent from his @Pontifex Twitter account, the pope told the more than 2.3 million followers on his English account to “Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas […]

Advocates study immigration reform bill introduced in Senate

Among other provisions, the bill introduced April 17 incorporates the popular DREAM Act, without an upper age limit; would offer a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived before 2012; would expand the pool of visas for skilled and unskilled workers; dramatically changes the process for adult children or siblings of legal residents to immigrate; and would create a new set of "triggers" for determining that the border is "secure" before parts of the law may be implemented.

Boston cardinal says all feel ‘deep sorrow’ for victims of explosions

UPDATE -- BOSTON (CNS) -- Within hours of two explosions taking place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley sent a message of prayer and support for those injured, their loved ones and those who experienced the trauma of the tragedy. "The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today," he said.

Father of boy killed in bombings grateful for ‘thoughts and prayers’

BOSTON (CNS) -- The first name released of someone killed in the April 15 explosions at the Boston Marathon was that of 8-year-old Martin Richard, whose picture in newspapers showed him grinning broadly, apparently at his first Communion. Two bombs that exploded near the end of the marathon route, about four hours into the race, left at least three people dead and more than 170 injured. The Dorchester Reporter, the local newspaper in Martin's hometown, said his sister, Jane, 7, suffered a "grievous injury" to her leg and their mother, Denise, was critically injured.

As Gosnell trial continues, voices rise against regulatory lapses

When a team of investigators looking into illegal drug use raided Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell's Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia Feb. 18, 2010, they happened upon what many are calling a "house of horrors." He was arrested in January 2011 and charged with seven counts of infanticide and one count of murder in the case of a Nepalese woman who died during an abortion. During the fifth week of his trial, prosecutors were continuing to call witnesses who testified about the squalid conditions they saw at the clinic. Meanwhile observers reflected on the laws regulating such clinics, including a Pennsylvania law enacted after Gosnell's arrest.

Religious leaders mark 50th anniversary of famed King letter from jail

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took a group of white Alabama clergymen to task for suggesting he find ways, other than demonstrations and protests, to seek racial equality. The letter, written by King while he was held in solitary confinement for eight days for violating the Birmingham's ban on civil rights demonstrations, was addressed to "My Dear Fellow Clergymen" and became the famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

Kansas, Virginia join states passing new restrictions on abortion

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Kansas and Virginia have joined the growing list of states that this year have passed new restrictions on abortion. Kansas lawmakers passed a bill declaring that life begins "at fertilization" and which bans sex-selection abortions. "Unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected," said the bill, which Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has said he will sign.

Pope Francis reaffirms Vatican’s call for reform of U.S. nuns’ group

Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious that he had "recently discussed the doctrinal assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform for this conference of major superiors." The doctrinal congregation met April 15 with the LCWR leadership and Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who had been assigned by the Vatican to oversee the reform of the pontifically recognized leadership group.

Rally shows range of issues central to immigration reform

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- At a massive rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol April 10, the underlying demand -- comprehensive immigration reform -- came with different primary interests for different people. A look at the range of issues underlying the effort to produce a bill that can pass in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House helps explain why it's taking so long for a bipartisan Senate panel to produce a bill, reported to be 1,500 pages long.

‘Shepherd in combat boots’ awarded Medal of Honor for Korean service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A Catholic Korean War chaplain who selflessly pulled wounded men from enemy fire and helped his fellow prisoners of war keep a sense of hope was honored posthumously with the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor, in an April 11 White House ceremony.