National News

‘Sacramental sense’ of priest’s response after shooting called powerful

RYE, N.Y. (CNS) -- The "sacramental sense" of a Catholic pastor's outreach after the horrific violence that took place at a Connecticut elementary school "has brought the church to bear in the most intimate and powerful way," said the director of communications for the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn. Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, "has brought a sense of God and the beginning of healing to everything he has done under considerable stress."

‘No words’ can describe shock, sadness after Conn. shooting, says priest

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNS) -- Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, was at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost immediately after the horrific shooting Dec. 14. "There was a lot of hugging, a lot of crying, a lot of praying, a lot of just being silent," he said. At least eight of the children who died in the shooting belonged to the parish and will be buried from St. Rose.

Pope expresses grief over Newtown shooting, calls for acts of peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After 20 children and six adults were shot dead in Connecticut, Pope Benedict XVI offered his condolences and prayers, urging all to dedicate themselves to acts of peace in the face of such "senseless violence." "I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer," he said Dec. 17. "May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain."

Priests, religious near Conn. school shooting quick to offer assistance

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNS) -- As law enforcement officers tried to piece together the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and seven adults dead, priests from nearby parishes rushed to the scene to comfort families and staff.

Federal judge calls pro-life license plate ‘viewpoint discrimination’

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Catholic bishops of North Carolina said they were "deeply saddened" that a federal judge ruled the state cannot issue "Choose Life" license plates without offering a choice of plates with a different viewpoint.

If charitable deductions are in peril, will contributions be, too?

This December, as Congress and the White House scramble to find new sources of revenue to go with budget cuts to achieve deficit reductions and avert a so-called "fiscal cliff," one tempting source for creating revenue is a ceiling on tax deductions. Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, predicted that if tax deductions are capped, "there will be a definite decrease in the philanthropy that charities will see."

Supreme Court to hear cases on same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court will take up in the spring two cases over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. In orders issued Dec. 7, the court agreed to hear a case over California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and one out of New York over the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines a marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Church urges ‘circle of protection’ for poor in US budget debate

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic social teaching's concern for human life and dignity stood front and center as the role of the federal spending was debated by political leaders and assessed by the electorate in a presidential election year. Concepts rooted in church teaching -- subsidiarity, solidarity and the common good -- entered the public arena, offering Americans insight into principles that, church leaders repeatedly explained, must be considered when identifying spending priorities while the country struggled with a growing federal deficit and a sluggish economic recovery.

Federal judge says New York Archdiocese’s HHS lawsuit can move forward

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) -- A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a lawsuit challenging the federal contraceptive mandate filed by the Archdiocese of New York and two other Catholic entities can move forward.

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.