National News

Woman who left upscale life to minister to prisoners as nun dies at 86

TIJUANA, Mexico (CNS) -- Mother Antonia Brenner, a mother of seven and one-time Beverly Hills neighbor of movie stars, died Oct. 17 at the headquarters of the religious order she founded after she gave up her comfortable lifestyle to live among and minister to prisoners. She was 86.

Gov. Christie drops appeal of ruling to allow same-sex marriage in N.J.

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) -- New Jersey's governor withdrew his appeal of a state judge's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying through a spokesman that he "strongly disagrees" with the court "substituting its judgment for the constitutional process ... or a vote of the people," but acknowledged such marriages are now "the law."

By declining case, high court allows monks to make, sell simple caskets

UPDATED - NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- By declining to review a lower court's ruling, the high court Oct. 15 left standing what Benedictine Abbot Justin Brown has known in his heart for the past six years: The Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington are not breaking the law by handcrafting plain cypress caskets and selling them to Louisiana residents.

Call to ‘ask not …’ still resonates in commitment to public service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president who admonished Americans to "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country," didn't live to see how it played out, but there are plenty of people trying to keep his vision alive.

Keeping with tradition, Colbert lobs good-natured barbs at Smith dinner

Comedian Steven Colbert said at a charity fundraiser Oct. 17 that the robust New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan came "this close" to being selected pope "but he blew it in the swimsuit competition." Colbert claimed Cardinal Dolan was the first runner-up in the election and should be "warming up his blessing arm in the papal bullpen" in the event of a steroid issue with the winner.

At ‘Justice for Immigrants’ Mass, bishop calls Jesus ‘divine immigrant’

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) -- Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop David M. O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a mid-day "Justice for Immigrants" Mass Oct. 11 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral.

Agencies deal with cash crunch, more clients to serve during shutdown

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The federal government shutdown is over, but the early prognosticators are picking winners and losers only on the political end of the equation.

Two Catholic universities to end coverage of elective abortions in 2014

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Elective abortions will no longer be covered in the health insurance plans of two Catholic universities in California. Officials at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles announced the change in coverage in early October, saying that the decisions were in line with Catholic teaching and the institutions' religious identity.

CRS, University of Dayton to work together to combat labor trafficking

DAYTON, Ohio (CNS) -- Marianist-run University of Dayton and Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency, will work together to address an increase in labor trafficking that human rights advocates expect to see in Brazil during two upcoming international sports events.

Archaeological dig reveals Franciscan mission on Georgia barrier island

ST. CATHERINES ISLAND, Ga. (CNS) -- Savannah Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer spent Columbus Day visiting the oldest church in the diocese for the first time since he was ordained to head the diocese two years ago. Santa Catalina de Guale mission, located on St. Catherines Island, an undeveloped barrier island 35 miles south of Savannah, is a 16th-century Spanish mission rediscovered by archaeologist David Hurst Thomas only 32 years ago.