National News

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.

Case solved: Father Dowling was mystery priest at accident scene

ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- The identity of a "mystery" priest who prayed with a young woman at the scene of an accident in central Missouri has been solved. The Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., has identified the priest as Father Patrick Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, who is currently serving in prison ministry and in parish ministry to Spanish-speaking Catholics in the diocese.

Detroit’s bankruptcy seen as chance for city to become livable again

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The bankruptcy of Detroit does not mean the city is dead, said Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron. Residents and political leaders certainly are challenged and remain uncertain, the archbishop of Detroit told Catholic News Service. "I would say people are responding with a lot of grit," he said. "Stories about the city being on its death bed are wrong."

Living in car with sons, Detroit woman embodies city’s challenges

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After three months, Katrina Robinson and her two young sons are getting tired of roaming Detroit's suburbs to find a safe place to sleep. Since May, on the nights when they can't crash with family or friends, the family car is the only shelter Robinson and her two young sons have. The 24-hour big box stores, with bright lighting, security cameras and a decent amount of foot traffic that deters robbers from lurking offer the safest place to bed down for the night.