National News

Justice Department argues denial of same-sex benefits unconstitutional

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Justice Department, in a brief filed Feb. 22 at the U.S. Supreme Court, said a federal law that defines marriage as between one man and a woman, denying financial benefits to legally wed same-sex couples, is unconstitutional.

Philadelphia Catholics to join march for marriage in Washington

Five busloads of Catholics who believe marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman are scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., on March 26 to participate in Marriage March 2013 from the National Mall to the Supreme Court followed by a rally on the National Mall.

Cardinal Dolan will go to White House to discuss mutual concerns with Obama

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in a letter to President Barack Obama accepted a White House offer to continue discussing the Catholic Church's concerns about abortion, traditional marriage and federal rules governing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. "We accept your invitation to address these areas together, always with the civility we have both encouraged in public discourse," the president U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in the letter Feb. 22.

Former doctrinal enforcer used pontificate to crack down on sex abuse

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's disgust over the abuse scandals marring the church was made evident even before his election as pope. In his forceful Way of the Cross meditations, which he wrote as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the few weeks before his election as pope in 2005, he wrote for the world to hear: "How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him."

Cardinal Wuerl: Confronting secularism a priority for next pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The man cardinals choose as the next pope must be someone with the requisite energy and mastery of modern communications media to promote a revival of the faith in increasingly secular societies around the world, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. The cardinal, who will vote in the upcoming papal […]

Conclave start date might not be known until after March 4

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — It is possible the world’s cardinals will not begin meeting at the Vatican until March 4, and they cannot set a start date for the conclave until they have met, the Vatican spokesman said. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will […]

Christian Brother Patrick Ellis, former La Salle and Catholic U president, dies

Brother Patrick Ellis, F.S.C., 84,  a former president of both La Salle University and the Catholic University of America, died Feb. 21 in a Christian Brothers nursing home in Lincroft, N.J. Born in Baltimore as Harry James Ellis Jr., he joined the De La Salle Christian Brothers after graduation from Calvert Hall College High School, and received the name in religion Brother Felician Patrick.

Preparing for conclave, Cardinal Rigali stresses action of Holy Spirit

Cardinal Justin Rigali, who departed for Rome Feb. 26 to be present for the official retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and to participate in the conclave that will elect his successor, never expected he would have this duty. At age 77 and almost 78, he is eldest among the American cardinals eligible to be electors.

Pope accepts cardinal’s resignation; Scot to stay away from conclave

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, 74, announced he would not participate in the conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor because he did not want media attention focused on him instead of the election of a new pope. Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the cardinal’s resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and […]

Religious leaders urge Congress to end budget brinksmanship

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Christian leaders, including representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called on President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to "frame the budget debate in terms of moral choices that are understandable to the American people" and find a budget solution that protects the poorest Americans.