BREAKING: House GOP Leaders Announce Pain-Capable Bill Set for Gosnell Anniversary

05/08/2015 Comment
Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

– Shutterstock/Valentina Razumova

WASHINGTON — After three months of deadlock within their caucus, House GOP leaders have revealed that lawmakers will vote next week on a bill to ban late-term abortions at 20 weeks on the two-year anniversary of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s conviction.

The Weekly Standard reported Friday morning that GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said his caucus finally had forged a compromise on the rape and incest exception language in the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which seeks to ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation on the basis that scientific evidence shows unborn children feel pain at that age.

House leaders had originally scheduled the bill, sponsored by...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, fetal pain, gop, gosnell, kermit gosnell, late term abortion ban, pain-capable abortion ban, pain-capable unborn child protection act, pro-life

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast: Saving the Family Means Opening the Doors to God

05/07/2015 Comment
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Gov. Gregg Abbott of Texas.

– National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

WASHINGTON — “If you had gone through all I had gone through, you would never again question the Lord.”

Sitting there in his wheelchair, before a gathering of more than a thousand attendees at Thursday’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas shared his own witness as to why Catholics must keep the doors open to God through prayer, trusting him in all hardships public and private.

The theme of this year’s breakfast focused on the family. Abbott acknowledged that Catholics face many storms: from the redefinition of marriage in the courts, to religious liberty battles, to the ongoing fight over legal abortion. But the governor drew on his own personal story to...READ MORE

Filed under bishop richard malone, greg abbott, national catholic prayer breakfast, peter jesserer smith, pope francis, prayer, the family

The King, the Pope, and the President at the National Prayer Breakfast

02/06/2015 Comment

King Abdullah II of Jordan, Pope Francis, and President Barack Obama each had messages for Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, all of which conveyed that the true nature of religion lay in the paths of peace, mercy and justice. But of these three, the president’s message provoked no small degree of controversy by trying to remind Christians of the failures of their past, when they look at religious violence in the world today.

Although neither the Pope nor King Abdullah were present in Washington, but both had a message that proceeded from their respective Catholic and Islamic faiths. [The Pope’s nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò, was present, but King Abdullah, who was scheduled to attend,...READ MORE

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#WhyWeMarch: Scenes from 2015’s National March for Life

01/23/2015 Comments (1)

WASHINGTON — The national March for Life in D.C. is not only a pro-life story, but a Catholic story. Amid the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered in Washington to show their solidarity with the unborn child on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the vast presence and diversity of the Catholic Church could be seen.

Each one came with their own reason for why they marched, and they show a cross-section of the Church that is young, vital, and engaged with their faith and the Church’s teachings on life and human dignity.

Marchers could be seen streaming into Union Station on their way to the March’s rally at the Washington Mall, such as this group of Catholic families from Our...READ MORE

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OneLife LA: What Pro-life Dreams Are Made Of

01/20/2015 Comment

Will thousands march in celebration of the Church’s social teaching on the dignity of human life, in all circumstances, from conception to natural death? The 10,000 people who turned out in Los Angeles for Saturday’s OneLife LA event give a resounding yes to that question.

OneLife LA is a unique pro-life march. While pro-life marches in the U.S. generally focus almost exclusively on the injustice of abortion, OneLife LA took a different approach by celebrating all human life, and encouraging participants to commit to doing something concrete to build a culture of life in their families and communities. Instead of providing a forum for activists and politicians, OneLife LA gave a platform...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, adoption, archbishop gomez, civilization of love, family, foster care, homeless, homeless shelter, human trafficking, john paul ii

Synod of the Family Shows Papal Rethink of Petrine Office, Says Cardinal Kasper

11/07/2014 Comment
Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Cardinal Walter Kasper.

– Bohumil Petrik/CNA

WASHINGTON — A project begun by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to restore the exercise of the Petrine Office to its early Church roots is coming to fruition under Pope Francis, and is being seen in the synod on the family, according to Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s former point-man for ecumenism.

Cardinal Kasper, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for  Promoting Christian Unity, spoke at length Nov. 6 about Pope Francis and his theological vision at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was on-hand to receive the university’s 2014 Johannes Quasten Award.

Cardinal Kasper said Pope Francis’ first introduction of himself simply as the “bishop...READ MORE

Filed under collegiality, early church, ecumenism, extraordinarry synod on marriage and the family, extraordinary synod, extraordinary synod on the family, orthodox church, patriarch bartholomew, petrine office, pope francis

Armenian Catolicos: World Faces a ‘Panhuman Crisis’ with Islamist Fundamentalism

09/11/2014 Comments (5)

Aram I, the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church

– Wikipedia

The world faces a “panhuman crisis” from Islamist fundamentalists, and the intensifying persecution of Christians by terrorists such as the Islamic State demand a unified world response, according to one of the Middle East patriarchs attending the In Defense of Christians conference now underway here in Washington.

I spoke yesterday with His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, on the second day of the In Defense of Christians conference. The three-day conference has drawn a vast array of Middle Eastern bishops together with representatives of Pope Francis and the Church in the United States, to emphasize the need to educate and...READ MORE

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Beauty to Warm the Soul: Ordained as He Lay Dying

09/09/2014 Comment
Archdiocese of San Antonio.

The example of Father Carmona's parish priest and his prayerful father inspired his vocation to priesthood at 12. His bishop made sure death did not rob him of following Christ's call.

– Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Sometimes you can read the news  and the world can seem as if it is falling apart. That “things fall apart; the center cannot hold” as the poet Yeats* once wrote. But the sin and evil behind the events that we reporters have to tell you doesn’t really have the last word. Our loving Father does not permit it. As St. Paul observed in Romans 5:20, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

Grace much more abounds, and where grace is, there good news stories can be found.

Here is a story of beauty, which amid all the sorrows of our world and our own lives, should warm the heart and give us joy.

Meet Father William Carmona Lopez. He’s dying of cancer, but on Sept. 8 became “a priest...READ MORE

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About Peter Jesserer Smith

Peter Jesserer Smith
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Peter Jesserer Smith is the Washington correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He helped cover Pope Francis's historic visit to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 2014. Later that same year, he covered the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis by traveling to Jordan and Lebanon, representing the Register through Catholic Relief Services's Egan Fellowship. Before coming on board the Register in 2013, he was a freelance writer, reporting for Catholic media outlets as the Register and Our Sunday Visitor. He is a graduate of the National Journalism Center and earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Christendom College, where he co-founded the student newspaper, The Rambler, and served as its editor. He comes originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State.