Stand with Middle East Christians This Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (2)
Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

A boy waits with other young refugees, including many of from Syria and Iraq, for a Nov. 30 meeting with Pope Francis in Istanbul's Salesian Oratory.

– Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Observing the mayhem in the Middle East last summer, Father Benedict Kiely at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, Vt., did what came naturally: He asked his congregation to pray for those suffering, the Christian community in particular.

He was especially troubled by the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and a Christian stronghold, to ISIS extremists. ISIS fighters painted the homes and businesses of Christians with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nasarean,” a contemptuous way of referring to Christians. The “N” marked inhabitants for forced conversion, persecution or death. Christians fled the city by the thousands, and for the first time 1600 years, there was no Mass celebrated in the...READ MORE

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Obamacare and Abortion:  Website Breaks Silence

11/22/2014 Comments (7)

This week, a pro-life Connecticut couple, Barth and Abbie Bracy, won their battle against their state's health exchange that only offered plans that cover elective abortion, with every policyholder paying a surcharge to underwrite the procedure.  On Wednesday, the couple's lawyers voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the exchange after state  officials agreed to include "plan options that, for the first time in Connecticut, will not require participants to pay for others' elective abortions," according to a news report.

If you hope to enroll in an insurance plan authorized under Obamacare,  and you share the Bracy family's pro-life values,  it may not be easy to identify a plan that...READ MORE

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Jesuit Astronomer Wins Carl Sagan Award, Shocks NPR

11/11/2014 Comments (12)

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno

– Wikipedia

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a U.S.-born astronomer, has won the Carl Sagan Award, a prestigious prize “for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.” 

The news led National Public Radio to bring its persistent questions about the so-called conflict between the Catholic Church and science to the Jesuit brother. His adept and pithy responses can be found here.  

Is it possible that Brother Guy will  effectively quash outrage over the Vatican's persecution of the astronomer Galileo Galilei back in the 1600s? Don't bet on it.

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Same-Sex Marriage Case(s) Heading to U.S. Supreme Court?

11/06/2014 Comments (8)

On Nov.6, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, as expected, upheld state laws that effectively barred same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, reported The New York Times.

Reacting to the news, constitutional experts predicted that the new ruling, which breaks with previous circuit court  decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, will likely prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to hear one or more cases dealing with the issue by the next term, with a ruling likely by June.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the USCCB's point man on this issue, praised the decision

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the majority in the 2-1 decision, ruled that state laws banning...READ MORE

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Retiring? Cardinal George Weighs in on the Synod, Celibacy and Politics

10/29/2014 Comments (8)

Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, who is due to retire next month, may be battling cancer, but he still has much to say about the Synod debate, church-state hostilities, and celibacy for priests, among other topics. You can check out the entire interview here.

Asked if "the bishops have been more politically active in recent years...?"  George replied:

Since the common good is expressed in this country by law, the bishops have always addressed changes in our legal system that would undermine the biblical anthropology that our doctrines presuppose. In other words, we are no longer a biblical people, and the law sees only individuals and their rights instead of persons and their...READ MORE

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Father Check from Courage Responds to Synod Report

“Do we have the conviction that a chaste life is part of the good news of Jesus Christ?" asked Father Check.

10/14/2014 Comments (37)

The midterm report from the Extraordinary Synod for the Family has provoked a firestorm,  and some Synod Fathers have already criticized the document, while noting that it is not definitive.  The focus of attention is on one paragraph dealing with the Church's outreach to persons with same-sex attraction:

50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on...READ MORE

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The Synod: What About Divorced Catholics Who Don't Remarry?

My friend didn't want to find a new husband, she still loved the one who left her.

10/09/2014 Comments (37)

Media stories about the Synod on the Family highlight the deep alienation experienced by Catholics who cannot receive Eucharist because they have divorced and remarried. But what about the men and women committed to living out their marriage vows, after their spouse has departed? It is a tale that makes a lot of people uncomfortable — in and out of the Church,  but that’s the story I want to share now.  I haven't heard their story, though Cardinal Raymond Burke discusses their plight in an EWTN interview broadcast on Oct. 9.

My story is about a dear friend. I'll call her, "Mary." Her husband left her behind for another woman, and that placed her in a difficult predicament, because she...READ MORE

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ObamaCare and Abortion—U.S.  Bishops v. HHS

09/20/2014 Comments (23)

This week, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office issued a report that documented widespread  taxpayer funding of elective abortions in insurance plans authorized by the Affordable Care Act. You can find my story on this development here.

The news did not exactly surprise the U.S. bishops or the broader pro-life community. Back in 2010, as Congress debated passage of Obamacare,  pro-lifers warned that the ACA failed to include adequate safeguards to prevent the use of federal subsidies for elective abortion. 

So after the GAO report made headlines, and pro-life activists prepared to use the information against vulnerable Senate Democrats who had voted for ObamaCare, HHS...READ MORE

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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..