National News

Amid ongoing violence, Chicago-area Catholics challenged to build peace

CHICAGO (CNS) -- In a metropolitan area rocked by crime, Chicago-area Catholics are being challenged to respond and realize their spiritual responsibility to build peace. More than 200 children and adults gathered on a street corner on Chicago's South Side Nov. 30 to pray for peace on their streets. Earlier that week, shots rang out at nearby St. Columbanus Church following the funeral of a reputed gang member. One man was killed and another injured in the shooting.

Catholic jazz pianist Dave Brubeck dies; known for ‘Take Five’

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Dave Brubeck, the influential and prolific pianist whose composition "Take Five" became a standard in the annals of jazz, died of heart failure Dec. 5 at age 91, one day before his 92nd birthday. Brubeck played his "cool" brand of West Coast jazz before Blessed John Paul II and eight presidents. He became a Catholic in 1980 after completing a commission from Our Sunday Visitor -- a Mass titled "To Hope." Brubeck said in a PBS biographical profile, "I didn't convert to Catholicism, because I wasn't anything to convert from. I just joined the Catholic Church."

Reform must respect immigrants’ human rights, dignity, says archbishop

ATLANTA (CNS) — Some 200 national immigration leaders surveyed the landscape of immigration reform at the federal and state level during a three-day Catholic conference in Atlanta Dec. 3-5. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta told the leaders that while the federal government recently acted to offer young people brought into the country as children […]

Use of Louisiana state funds for school vouchers ruled unconstitutional

BATON ROUGE, La. (CNS) -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called it "wrong-headed" and a "travesty" that a state judge ruled Nov. 30 that a voucher program passed by the Legislature last spring is unconstitutional. State District Judge Tim Kelley said the state cannot use funds set aside for public education to pay for children in failing schools to attend nonpublic schools.

Is capitalism Catholic? A priest defends free-market economics

Father Robert Sirico insists that applying principles of the church's social teaching is a matter of prudential judgment, allowing for a range of legitimate approaches, including market-based solutions.

A goat for Christmas? Thriving alternatives for less commercial gifts

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Should the Christmas shopping crowds, costs and commercialism be at odds with how one is trying to observe Advent and the celebration of the birth of Christ, there’s a burgeoning world of alternative ways of gift-giving that are vying for attention. * Angel trees or giving trees set up in churches, schools […]

Lawsuits’ dismissal called disappointing but won’t end legal challenge

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After judges in two separate rulings Nov. 27 dismissed lawsuits filed by Catholic organizations and dioceses in Pennsylvania and Tennessee challenging the federal contraceptive mandate, Catholic leaders in both states expressed disappointment but also some hope the rulings left the door open to refiling their claims.

New York Archdiocese announces 26 schools ‘at risk of closure’

NEW YORK (CNS) — The New York Archdiocese has announced that 26 of the 159 regional, parish and archdiocesan elementary schools are at risk of closing next June. In addition, St. Agnes Boys High School in Manhattan also is at risk of closing at the end of the current school year. The Nov. 26 announcement […]

Scientific evidence points only toward a created universe, says Jesuit

In a recent address in New Orleans, Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer said the exciting news for the new evangelization being called for by Pope Benedict XVI is the recent discoveries in "space-time geometry," prompting eminent physicists to assert the cosmos had to have a beginning and thus had to have a creator.

MP3 players loaded with spiritual material reach thousands of soldiers

WASHINGTON (CNS) — American troops have a strong presence around the globe, serving in 75 percent of the world’s countries, yet “one soldier told me they are starving for spiritual support,” said Cheri Lomonte, founder of Frontline Faith. The Catholic nonprofit organization gives MP3 players loaded with the Mass, stories and prayers to active-duty members […]