National News

Human rights, religious freedom called necessary to lasting peace

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Retired Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, back from a recent trip to Jordan, said four essential elements to any long-range peace deal in the Middle East are human rights, religious freedom, an agreement on the Holy Land and forging a "path to peace." "The whole question of peace, the whole question of religious liberty, is so important," Cardinal McCarrick said Sept. 9 at a conference, "Religious Freedom & Human Rights: Path to Peace in the Holy Land -- That All May Be Free," at The Catholic University of America.

Just war in attacking Syria? Some see cloudy, some see clear answers

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even with just war theory as a guide, the answers remain murky to moral and ethical questions about whether a military strike is the appropriate response to what U.S. officials believe was a chemical attack against Syrian civilians, analysts said. While President Barack Obama, Congress and other world leaders weigh how to respond to the reported chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 that killed as many as 1,400 civilians, the church's just war teachings on when a military response is appropriate were being raised as a guide to decision-making.

College leaders say plan to reduce student loan debt needs improvement

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- This summer -- when college campuses were virtually empty -- the subject of out-of-control college loans was a hot topic. Now that students are back in school, the price tag on their loans -- set to greet many of them when they graduate -- looms larger than their dorm room bunk beds and is getting close scrutiny by students, parents, college leaders and government officials.

Dominican official to investigate claims of sexual abuse against nuncio

sexual abuse allegedly committed by the apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, just a day after the Vatican confirmed its own investigation into the allegations. Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, appointed as nuncio in 2008, was removed from the post Aug. 21. A Dominican bishop confirmed in early September that the dismissal was due to the sexual abuse scandal unfolding in the Caribbean country.

Federal funds should not cover Congress members’ abortions, bishops say

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging the Obama administration to comply with a long-standing policy against subsidizing federal employee health care plans that cover abortions for members of Congress and their staffs. A new rule proposed by the federal government makes no "mention of any limitation with respect to abortion coverage" for members of Congress and their staff, according to comments submitted by the USCCB to the federal Office of Personnel Management.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midst of meticulous $177 million restoration

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Tall metal scaffolding not only fills but surrounds New York's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral. What looks to the uninitiated like a zealous cleaning job is actually a painstaking $177 million restoration. If all goes according to plan, worshippers should appreciate how magnificent the iconic church looks when the work is finished without identifying anything that is truly different or out of place.

Military archdiocese remembers sainthood candidate killed in Vietnam

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the sainthood cause for a Vietnam War chaplain gathers momentum, the priest was remembered at a Sept. 4 memorial Mass as a man "completely dedicated to the spiritual care of his Marines." Father Vincent Capodanno, who died in Vietnam Sept. 4,1967, was one of the "great priest chaplains," said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in his homily at the Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

USCCB weighs in on Syria with letters to Obama, Congress

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Echoing the appeal of Pope Francis and Catholic prelates in Syria, two leaders of the U.S. bishops' conference urged President Barack Obama to seek a political solution in Syria.

Rights of religious minorities must be protected, Muslim leader says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The world's Islamic leaders must hear stories about the persecution of religious minorities in majority Muslim countries so that such incidents are not overlooked as people "bury their own heads in the sand," said the president of the Islamic Society of North America.

Diocese of Gallup, N.M., poised to file for bankruptcy protection

GALLUP, N.M. (CNS) -- When Bishop James Wall was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup in 2009, he knew there were festering issues regarding allegations of clergy sex abuse, but not to the extent that has brought the sprawling southwestern diocese to the doors of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.