National News

Bishop urges House to resist cutting, restructuring nutrition programs

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The House of Representatives passed a bill that defers funding for SNAP, once known as food stamps. The nutrition and agricultural sections of the farm bill have long been joined together in an effort to amass votes from urban and rural lawmakers for each other's interests, but the House leadership said it would deal later with nutrition issues.

Site of decisive Civil War battle called ‘a shrine and a sanctuary’

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (CNS) -- Celebrating Mass just a few miles from the hallowed grounds of its Civil War battlefields, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan called Gettysburg "a shrine and a sanctuary" to which pilgrims journey with "a deep sense of honor, awe, reverence, patriotism and gratitude." Cardinal Dolan, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrated the outdoor Mass July 6 on the grounds of Xavier Center, home to the parish center and parochial school of St. Francis Xavier Parish in the Diocese of Harrisburg.

Educators say interest hike puts college out of reach for more students

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Lawmakers in Congress failed to reach a consensus on federal student loan rates before a July 1 deadline, resulting in the interest rate doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. "Shame on Congress for imposing its dysfunction on some of the most vulnerable people in America, low-income college students -- many of whom are single parents trying to get an education to improve the lives of their children and families," said Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University. "This is not the way to run a country."

In new Wisconsin law, judge freezes mandate that abortion doctors have hospital privileges

MADISON, Wis. (CNS) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker July 5 signed into law a bill that requires women who want an abortion to get an ultrasound of their unborn child and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

News of canonizations has ‘gladdened hearts’ of faithful, cardinal says

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The two popes whose canonizations received final clearance July 5 “each had a profound impact on the church and the world,” as New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan put it. Pope Francis signed a decree clearing the way for Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII to be canonized, possibly later […]

Catholics urged to speak truth ‘with love’ in religious freedom fight

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As people of faith and as Americans, the nation's Catholics should kneel in prayer and also stand in defense of religious freedom, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said July 4 during the closing Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

With final rules from HHS, bishops need to ‘continue defending’ rights

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The final rules issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implementing its mandate that employers provide coverage of contraceptives do not eliminate "the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts," said New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in a July 3 statement.

Bishop Bosco, retired head of Greensburg Diocese, dies at age 85

GREENSBURG, Pa. (CNS) -- Retired Bishop Anthony G. Bosco of Greensburg, who headed the diocese for nearly 17 years until his retirement in 2004, died July 2 at his home in Unity Township. He was 85. Bishop Bosco's body will be received at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral the afternoon of July 8, with family members receiving relatives and friends until a 7 p.m. celebration of evening prayer. The cathedral will remain open for visitation until 9 p.m. On July 9 there will be all-day visitation. At 7 p.m. Greensburg Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt will celebrate Mass for the repose of the soul of Bishop Bosco.

New guidelines aim to help houses of worship address gun violence

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Shootings in places of worship are fairly uncommon, but the public nature of churches, synagogues and temples sometimes makes them appealing targets for violent acts. The federal government June 18 released its first guidelines for houses of worship confronted with a homicidal gunman. They were issued just two days after 66-year-old James Evans was shot by his 35-year-old son-in-law inside St. James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah.

Patchwork of murky laws emerges as more states OK use of marijuana

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (CNS) -- Somewhere among the skateboarders, weight lifters, street artisans and moms pushing strollers at California's Venice Beach may be a high concentration of seriously ill Californians seeking alternative pain relief. That's the impression given by an omnipresent odor and abundance of Oceanfront medical marijuana dispensaries and one-stop "medical consultation" shops on the boardwalk -- some outfitted with mini-ATM machines, leaf-shaped signage and playful sidewalk barkers dressed in green and welcoming passersby.