National News

Poverty, ‘ignorance’ blamed in destruction of Egypt Christian churches

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two Egyptian-born Christian clergy, in separate telephone interviews with Catholic News Service, each blamed both poverty and "ignorance" for the attacks on Christian churches in Egypt. Through Aug. 20, 38 Christian churches were known to have been destroyed, with attacks on another 23 houses of worship, according to statistics compiled by a Coptic Christian group in Egypt called the Maspero Youth Union.

Priests find physical health to be as important as spirituality

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On a recent hot summer evening, a group of lacrosse players gathered around a fellow athlete on the Gonzaga College High School field before the start of their game. The 35-year-old man with perspiration beading on his forehead was more than just another player leading them in a prayer. He was a priest.

Helping priests, seminarians maintain good health of concern to church

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic priests are not immune to the more sedentary lifestyle affecting much of society today, brought about by technological advances over the past century. Several priests Catholic News Service interviewed talked about the need to stay physically fit to ward off illnesses and avoid being overweight.

Bishop Madden urges ‘culture of encounter’ among Catholics, Lutherans

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- Citing the words of Pope Francis, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs called for a "culture of encounter" among Catholics and Lutherans during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's churchwide assembly in Pittsburgh. Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore told the assembly Aug. 13 that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 offers an opportunity to "point the way toward Christian unity" rather than focusing on what keeps the two faith communities divided.

Doctor-ethicist sees ongoing efforts to weaken conscience protections

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- Fine print contained in the Affordable Care Act has weakened conscience protections for physicians who oppose abortion, sterilization or other medical practices on religious or moral grounds, a doctor and ethicist told the American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals.

LCWR leaders say they hope for continued dialogue on Vatican assessment

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious announced Aug. 19 at the close of their assembly in Orlando that they were pleased with dialogue they had with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, appointed by the Vatican doctrinal congregation last year to oversee a reform of LCWR. The religious sisters said they hoped for "continued conversations of this depth."

New Pew study shows most Americans view abortion as moral issue

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A new study shows that most Americans view abortion as a moral issue but do not feel as strongly about stem-cell research or in vitro fertilization as moral issues. According to the study, released Aug. 15 by the Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 49 percent of adults consider it morally wrong to have an abortion; 22 percent consider embryonic stem-cell research morally wrong; and 12 percent view the use of in vitro fertilization as morally wrong.

LCWR leader hopes assembly a contemplative experience for attendees

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- The president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said organizers of this year's assembly hope attendees would find it to be a contemplative experience because "it is imperative to view religious life within the context of our faith and in an evolving world." "We have included an hour and a half of contemplative prayer at all meetings to determine what the signs of today are calling us to and we hope that the entire experience of this assembly will be an act of contemplation," said Franciscan Sister Florence Deacon.

Catholic lawmaker in Missouri legislature files suit over HHS mandate

Missouri state Rep. Paul Wieland and his wife, Teresa, said they are suing because the mandate violates their religious liberty, free speech and parental rights, as it requires them to be enrolled in group insurance coverage for their family that includes contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations. The case presents an unusual twist in the fight against the HHS mandate, as it is among the first to involve an employee filing suit against the mandate. Currently there are 67 lawsuits challenging the mandate, many of them involving individual employers.

When migrants arrive, parish volunteers provide rides to Mass, meals

ENFIELD, Conn. (CNS) -- In summertime, tobacco grows practically like a weed under white nets and in open fields throughout the tobacco valley of central Connecticut. Near the end of June, when the plants are about knee-high, migrant workers who have journeyed thousands of miles by bus from Mexico and beyond, or by air from Puerto Rico, start arriving for three-month jobs cultivating the crop on Connecticut farms. And with their arrival, St. Patrick Parish continues its long-standing Hispanic ministry program to cultivate their faith.