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Christmas Toy Drive for Schools Is Constitutional, Lawyer Contends (3160)

As the American Humanist Association cries foul, the senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom calls Operation Christmas Child one of many community-service projects to choose from.

11/21/2013 Comments (4)


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After two public schools ended their affiliation with an evangelical-run Christmas toy drive for impoverished children, a lawyer with a group that supports religious liberty said such affiliation is in fact constitutional.

“Schools can offer Operation Christmas Child as one of many choices of community-service projects students can voluntarily participate in, without violating the Constitution,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told CNA Nov. 20.

“The AHA is spreading a view of the Establishment Clause and what they think it requires,” he said, “this absolutely complete separation between church and state, which has really put...READ MORE

Filed under anti-religion groups, catholic faith, christmas, corporal works of mercy, separation of church and state

Tour Roman Catacombs, Courtesy of Google Maps (5623)

The Internet’s largest search engine creates digital maps of the Catacomb of Priscilla and the Dino Companion.

11/21/2013 Comments (1)
CNA/Andreas Dueren

Tombs line the walls of the Catacomb of Priscilla beneath Rome.

– CNA/Andreas Dueren

ROME — The Internet’s largest search engine has created a digital map of two large catacombs in Rome, hoping to expose users to the historical sites’ beauty and spark curiosity to learn more about them.

“If you can find catacombs, if you can find frescos, if you can find museums online, then you will be willing to know more,” Georgia Albetino told CNA during a Nov. 19 interview.

“So our objective is actually to have more and more people knowing about worldwide culture and, for us, Italian culture.”

Albetino is the head of Google’s public policy team in Italy and was present for the Nov. 19 press conference announcing the new project, held in the Catacomb of Priscilla.

The Catacomb...READ MORE

Filed under catacombs, catholic faith, christian history, google, martyrs, virtual tour

Rebuilding After Haiyan (2975)

The super storm struck the predominantly Catholic country Nov. 8, leaving death and devastation in its wake.

11/21/2013 Comments (1)
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Residents carry water Nov. 18 past a ship that was thrown into the street by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines.

– Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

MANILA, Philippines — Photos of the death and devastation wrought by the super typhoon that struck the central portion of the Philippines Nov. 8 spoke volumes, but it represented only part of the tale.

The resilient spirit of the people, with their faith in God and strong family ties, is telling the rest of the story in this majority Catholic country.

Photos and video images taken in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which registered 190-mile-an-hour winds and 12-foot Pacific surges, showed homes reduced to splintered masses and concrete foundations uprooted and crushed. In an especially iconic photo illustrating the immense power of the storm that experts are calling one of the strongest...READ MORE

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Archbishop Coakley Named as Catholic Relief Services Chairman (2680)

The Oklahoma City archbishop said he is ‘humbled and honored’ to serve the U.S. Church in this capacity.

11/21/2013 Comments (3)
(File photo/CNA)

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City

– (File photo/CNA)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City says he feels privileged to have been named chairman of the board for Catholic Relief Services and was surprised when he was asked last week to take the role.

“I’m humbled, and I’m honored, to have this opportunity to serve the Church and our mission to the least of our brothers and sisters around the world,” Archbishop Coakley told CNA Nov. 19.

“I’ve been on the board of CRS for over a year, going on two years, but I was very much surprised by the appointment.”

The archbishop recalled how the new U.S. bishops’ conference president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., approached him as the annual meeting...READ MORE

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Pope Francis Blesses Man With Severely Disfigured Face (5927)

The Holy Father’s ‘culture of encounter’ with the disabled and disfigured has gained more media attention than past popes who did the same.

11/21/2013 Comments (6)
Evandro Inetti/ZUMAPRESS.com

Pope Francis blesses a sick man after his general audience in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 20.

– Evandro Inetti/ZUMAPRESS.com

VATICAN CITY — Continuing his efforts to promote a “culture of encounter” with the disabled, Pope Francis again embraced a severely disfigured man after his Nov. 20 weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope spoke with a man who lacks facial features, embraced him and gave him a blessing. Pope Francis then smiled at the man, kissed him and gestured toward the sky in the midst of a crowded square.

The cause of the man’s disfigurement was not known. His identity is also not known, the British newspaper The Daily Mail reported.

It is the second time this month that the Pope’s hospitality towards the disfigured has drawn public attention.

At the end of his Nov. 6 audience, Pope...READ MORE

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The Church of England Is Dying, Grandparents Play a Heroic Role Passing on The Faith and Much More! (4521)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

11/21/2013 Comment

The Church of England Is Dying. Follow the link by Fr. Dwight Longenecker to read more.

The Church of England Is Dying by Fr. Dwight Longenecker - BigPulpit.com

Grandparents Play Heroic Role Passing on Faith - Jean M. Heimann, Catholic Fire

Catholicism & Conspiracies: Lost Books of the Bible - Foxfier, Catholic Stand

Isn’t Being Chaste the Same Thing as Being a Prude? – Aleteia

Mark Regnerus & His Publisher Harassed – God & Caesar

The Idolatry of Disbelief - Regis Martin, Crisis Magazine

God Is Not Odin, Zeus, Marduk – Byz Pulpit

Quæritur: How to Pray a Loved One Into Heaven – Fr. Z’s Blog

President Obama Omits Under God in Gettysburg Address – Donald R. McClarey JD, The American Catholic

How Moral Can a Market Be? – Andrew Haines, Aleteia

If the Church...READ MORE

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Common Core Debate Intensifies Among Catholic Educators (10177)

More than a hundred leading Catholic scholars have signed a letter warning of the negative implications of the federal standards for Catholic schools.

11/20/2013 Comments (19)

– Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Debate among Catholic educators over the merits of the Common Core has intensified since mid-October, with a public letter from more than 130 scholars asking the U.S. Catholic bishops to abandon any implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

The Oct. 16 letter spearheaded by University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley argued the Common Core represents a major departure from the main objective of Catholic education: to form a person to seek the good, the true and the beautiful.

The Common Core is a set of federal education standards embraced so far by 45 states and more than 100 out of 195 Catholic dioceses. The Common Core has generated a national...READ MORE

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Albuquerque Pro-Life Measure Defeated, But Important Lessons Learned (2530)

Susan B. Anthony List's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said pro-lifers ‘were able to educate thousands of citizens about fetal pain and the reality of late abortion.’

11/20/2013 Comments (4)
Rose Marie Nalburg

Pro-life advocates pray March 20 in front of the Planned Parenthood Surgical Center in Albuquerque.

– Rose Marie Nalburg

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Although a pro-life ballot measure in Albuquerque, N.M., did not gain enough votes to pass, pro-life activists say the initiative was able to educate citizens about the reality of late-term abortion.

“Months ago, most Albuquerque residents had no idea their city had become a national hub for late abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement.

“Despite being outspent four to one, pro-life grassroots activists were able to educate thousands of citizens about fetal pain and the reality of late abortion,” she continued. “This was no small feat in a deep blue city that chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 15-point...READ MORE

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