National News

Bishops warn against changes in immigration bill that could kill it

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- Three bishops weighed in on the ongoing congressional debate on immigration reform legislation June 10, warning against amending a Senate bill in ways that would block the path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. "Each day in our parishes, social service programs, hospitals and schools, we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration. "Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings die in the desert."

Ohio Council of Churches say mandate raises religious liberty concerns

CINCINNATI (CNS) -- A Cincinnati archdiocesan official called it an "exciting breakthrough" that mainline Protestant churches in Ohio have joined with the Catholic Church in objecting to the federal contraceptive mandate based on religious freedom concerns. The Ohio Council of Churches, which represents 18 denominations, adopted a statement May 29 saying that with the mandate of the Affordable Care Act, the government is defining what constitutes a religious belief and who has a right to that belief.

College loans revisited: Costs to go up if Congress can’t reach deal

A year ago, Congress examined federally subsidized student loans for low- and middle-income students and passed a one-year extension on their 3.4 percent interest rate. If lawmakers fail to come up with another plan by July 1, that rate is set to double to 6.8 percent. The Senate failed to take up two separate bills on June 6 that would have kept the rate from doubling.

Aim of new Chicago fundraising campaign to teach all ‘who Christ is’

A new three-year fundraising campaign by the Archdiocese of Chicago will raise $350 million for Catholic education and faith formation. The funds will support archdiocesan Catholic schools, religious education for children and teens, adult faith formation and capital needs for parishes and schools.

Tornadoes wreck homes but bond communities in Kansas

CORNING, Kan. (CNS) -- As winds roared, trees toppled, grain bins crashed, hail pounded and walls ripped apart overhead, seven members of the Becker family added their own voices to the storm. Huddled in a shower stall in their basement near Corning the afternoon of May 28 with a comforter over their heads, they prayed the rosary.

New York bishops oppose effort to ‘codify’ Roe v. Wade into state law

ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) — New York’s bishops, led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, said they would oppose a portion of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act that preserves abortion rights. The bill, introduced June 4, “would ease restrictions in state law on late-term abortion and runs the serious risk of […]

West Virginia priest sides with miners in coal company’s bankruptcy

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Until May 21, Father Andrew Switzer had a clean record. Then he got himself arrested. It happened in St. Louis during a rally by the United Mine Workers of America protesting the actions of Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal producer. Father Switzer, 33, said his arrest with 11 others was one way to live out the social teachings of the church and be in solidarity with more than 26,000 current and retired mine workers faced with the loss of salary and reduced pensions and health care coverage through no fault of their own.

Same-sex marriage bill fails in Illinois House

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The failure of members of the Illinois House to vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage before the legislative session ended shows that “marriage redefinition — even in the face of intense political pressure — is not inevitable,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco. It “reflects a failure to have […]

Tornado victims receiving ‘overwhelming’ outpouring of prayer, support

OKLAHOMA CITY (CNS) -- As communities across central Oklahoma continued to recover from the "powerful and deadly tornadoes" rated EF5 of May 19 and 20, they have experienced an "overwhelming" outpouring of "prayer, love and support from across our great state and from around the nation," said Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley. On May 31, the western suburbs of Oklahoma City were hit by an EF3 tornado area. Thirteen people were killed, including two children.

Immigration laws must reflect nation’s values, not its fears, nun says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) -- Three days into its 6,500-mile journey from Ellis Island in New York to Angel Island in San Francisco, the "Nuns on the Bus" tour for immigration reform cruised into Charlotte May 31 -- fueled by a cheering crowd outside a church. The bus campaign is rallying support for immigration reform legislation currently being debated by the U.S. Senate. A total of 29 women religious planned to go along for at least part of the trek through 40 cities in 15 states.