ZERO HOUR: Bishops Ask Obama for "Temporary" Break from HHS Mandate, Fearing Massive Fines

One day before the deadline for compliance with the mandate, Archbishop Kurtz, the USCCB president asks for a break, noting recent exemptions and rule changes to Obamacare, and the huge penalties Catholic employers will be forced to pay.

12/31/2013 Comments (12)

For the past couple of months, news headlines have noted various 11th-hour rule changes for Obamacare, but one group has yet to win a reprieve: religious employers who have consistently opposed the contraception mandate for almost two years, filing legal challenges and drawing political attacks from partisan groups that dismissed their claims as a "war on women."

Today, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, just released his Dec.31 letter to President Obama that requests "temporary" relief from compliance with the contraception mandate while legal challenges make their way through the courts  Some time after Jan. 2014,...READ MORE

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Sanity Amid Duck Dynasty Hysteria: Read This Post

"The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigroty Than Phil's," argues Brandon Ambrosino in Time.

12/20/2013 Comments (32)

"The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigroty Than Phil's," argues Brandon Ambrosino, identified in this post  as a Baltimiore-area dancer with same-sex attraction.

You don't have to share the writer's support for same-sex marriage and related sexual rights to respect his call to engage in reasoned discourse rather than personal attacks.

Ambrosino quotes G.K. Chesterton, among others, and asks why homosexual activists can't "engage" rather than "silence" their opponants on "marriage equality."

G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck...READ MORE

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U.S. Bishops: ACLU Lawsuit's "Claim is Baseless"

Lawsuit reportedly ignores Ethical and Religious Directives that specifically address medical complications for pregnant women and "informed consent."

12/07/2013 Comments (12)

[UPDATE: The New York Times posted an editorial today that echoes the ACLU's claims, and asserts that the bishops actually "direct" medical care at Catholic hospitals. The editorial suggests that the rise of hospital mergers that unite secular and Catholic institutions has made it more difficult for women to obtain competent care. No data are supplied to buttress this assertion, or the allegation that Catholic hospitals are unsafe for women. Read here.]

Earlier this week,  a slew of headlines  marked an ACLU lawsuit, charging that the U.S. bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which guide moral decision making at Catholic hospitals, were...READ MORE

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Divorce & Re-Marriage for Catholics: Kennedy Annulment Battle Offers Cautionary Tale

Pope Francis has fueled hopes that norms barring reception of the Eucharist might be relaxed, but there are two sides to every annulment petition.

12/02/2013 Comments (27)

Pope Francis has signaled that he wants to help more Catholics who have divorced and re-married return to the sacraments.

Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published an article that reportedly sought to defuse speculation on this matter, but during an interview at the U.S. Bishops' 2013 meeting in Baltimore, Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston confirmed that Pope Francis

wants us to find ways to help people in second marriages to return to the sacraments and be reconciled and to see if the annulment process can be more user-friendly.

But, as they say, there are two sides to every story.

Some Catholic -- and non-Cathiolic --...READ MORE

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Single Issue Politics: The HHS Contraception Mandate, the Filibuster and the Catholic Church

Cardinal Dolan on Meet the Press addresses the HHS mandate and efforts to brand the U.S. bishops as "anti-gay."

11/30/2013 Comments (14)

These days, media commentators have suggested that Pope Francis is criticizing the U.S. bishops for being "obsessed" with abortion and other hot-button issues. But there's another story on display right now that exposes the obsession of abortions-rights activists. In this story,the same 'single-issue politics' that reframed the religious freedom battle over the HHS contraception mandate as a "war on women," has led Democrats to limit the GOP's use of the filibuster to block the appointment of liberal judges. 

So what does the filibuster have to do with the HHS mandate?

Everything, according to the New York Times. Reportedly, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and like-minded Senate...READ MORE

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Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium Tackles Abortion and Religious Freedom

Pope Francis confounds the false narrative of a pope who asks us to choose between service to the poor and the defense of unborn human life.

11/26/2013 Comments (8)

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, is being scrutinized for its teaching on abortion, and other  hot-button issues, by reporters and commentators who may wish to sustain the on-going narrative of a pontiff who asks us to choose between service to the poor and the defense of the unborn child.  The pope clearly rejects that false choice, and as he presents his plans for “a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality,” he clearly wants the faithful to embrace both missions. 

The relevant passages on abortion and religious freedom in his 84-page apostolic exhortation are below.

On Abortion: the defense of unborn life is "closely linked to the...READ MORE

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Rick Santorum on the Colbert Report

The former U.S.senator hasn't ruled out another bid to win GOP presidential nomination.

11/24/2013 Comments (6)

Rick Santorum went on the Colbert Report to promote his film, The Christmas Candle--and maybe to signal that he just might throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries.

The brief exchange also covered same-sex marriage. Colbert asked him if it was too late to stop the "marriage equality" juggernaut, and Santorum reframed the issue, arguing that it was time to re-claim the meaning of marriage. Check it out here.

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JFK's Last Rites Remembered

11/22/2013 Comments (1)

StoryCorps offers this brief account of President John Kennedy receiving his last rites after he was shot on  November 22, 1963. The scene at the hospital emergency room is recounted by Glenda Rike, the wife of Aubrey Rike, an ambulance driver who was there when the president was brought in.

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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 Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.