For Persecuted Christians in the Middle East, a Vermont Priest Makes a Difference

01/01/2015 Comments (6)

Father Kiely appearing on EWTN's "The World Over" with Raymond Arroyo

Amid the cascade of crises across the world in 2014, it was all too easy to forget the desperate plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. So as we ponder our New Year's resolutions for 2015, let's commit to offer prayers and material support for our sisters and brothers who have fled their homes and taken up residence in monasteries and schools, homes and camps in Kurdistan, and in Turkey, LebanonJordan, and Egypt.

If that suggestion seems like a tall order, then look to Father Benedict Kiely, a priest in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, who recently eestablished a website -- -- to raise funds and awareness about the needs of Christians in Iraq and Syria. As I...READ MORE

Filed under persecuted christians, isis, isil, islamic state,, pope francis

Mother Agnes on Visitation Report: ‘Religious life is not dying in U.S.’

The Sister of Life superior general and chair of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious points to young vocations that buck a broader trend and inspire "hope and wonder."

12/16/2014 Comments (9)
EWTN News Nightly

– EWTN News Nightly

There is reason for hope. The same voice of love which called women to courageously and selflessly tend the poor, weak and young in the past is still calling young women today. It is the voice of Jesus, and the experience of His personal love continues to lead young women to our doors. ---Mother Agnes at Vatican City

At the Dec. 16 Vatican press conference making the release of the Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of  Institutes of Women Religious in the United States, Sister of Life Mother Agnes Donovan, who chairs the Council Major Superiors of Women Religious, which represents a smaller number of religious institutes that are faithful to the Magisterium, offered this formal...READ MORE

Filed under apostolic visitation of women's religious communities, final report on women's religious, mother agnes mary donovan, sisters of life

Little Sisters' HHS Mandate Case at 10th Circuit

12/08/2014 Comments (63)

Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor, who filed a legal challenge to the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate that has drawn national attention, took their case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Dec. 8, the panel heard oral arguments for Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, a key free exercise case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last June, in another closely watched free exercise case, the justices ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by a Christian family that filed a legal challenge to the HHS mandate. The 10th Circuit had also decided in favor of Hobby Lobby.  The legal arguments on both sides have addressed both the high...READ MORE

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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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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..