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Report Documents ‘Egregious’ Religious-Freedom Violations in Syria (2494)

‘Particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ are taking place in the war-torn country, the U.S. Commission on International Freedom states in its 2014 report.

05/08/2014 Comments (1)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government should designate Syria as a “country of particular concern” due to “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” in its ongoing conflict, a global religious-liberty group said.

“The existing humanitarian disaster and egregious human-rights and religious-freedom violations pose a serious danger to Syria’s religious diversity post-conflict,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its 2014 report.

The commission blamed “the collective actions of the Bashar al-Assad regime, internationally recognized opposition groups and extremist and U.S.-designated terrorist groups.”

The religious-freedom commission is an independent,...READ MORE

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Lawsuit Filed in Connecticut Over Abortion Surcharges (6344)

A Catholic deacon filed the suit after the government health-care law canceled his old plan, he said, forcing him to pay significantly more or violate his conscience by paying for abortions.

05/08/2014 Comments (12)

Access Health CT is Connecticut's health-insurance exchange

– foxct.com

DAYVILLE, Conn. — For nearly five years, Barth Bracy has spoken out about the Affordable Care Act’s abortion provisions. But when the Catholic deacon found out he might be forced to subsidize abortions in his home state of Connecticut, he decided he needed to register a stronger response.

Deacon Bracy has thus filed a federal lawsuit in Connecticut challenging that state’s health-care exchange law. The lawsuit claims that forcing Bracy, who is the executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life, to pay the abortion surcharge “would constitute scandal.” It added, “This action would undermine his public speech and writing against abortion, and specifically against abortion coverage in the...READ MORE

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Top-10 St. John Paul II Quotes of All Time, On Mother's Day, Christians and Anger and More! (4798)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

05/08/2014 Comment

Follow Top-10 St. John Paul II Quotes of All Time by Taylor Marshall, PhD, to read more.

Top-10 St. John Paul II Quotes of All Time by Taylor Marshall, PhD - BigPulpit.com

On Mother’s Day – Gretchen R. Crowe, OSV Newsweekly

Cardinal Müller’s Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR – The Motley Monk, The American Catholic

Five Things to Learn before the Big Day – Katie Sciba, The Catholic Wife

Christians & Anger – Rachel Zamarron, Ignitum Today

Are Millennials Calling for a Truce on the Culture Wars? – Brian Brown, Aletia

Offering it Up, Redemptive Suffering, The Mystery of Merit – Fr. John Bartunek LC, Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction

Moral Relativism, Conscience & G. E. M. Anscombe – Joe Heschmeyer, Strange Notions

Liturgical Abuse & Moral Corruption: Is There a...READ MORE

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Pro-Abortion Ideology on Display as U.N. Committee Grills Holy See (3995)

At a two-day hearing in Geneva, Archbishop Tomasi defended Church actions and teachings against criticism by members of the U.N. Committee on Torture.

05/07/2014 Comments (6)
AP photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi (l), permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, meets May 5 in Geneva with Claudio Grossmann, chairman of the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

– AP photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi

GENEVA — The Holy See’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva is hoping for a “sense of moderation and respect” in the final conclusions of a U.N. committee after it questioned the Holy See May 5-6 on clerical sex abuse in the context of torture.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the Register May 7 that the U.N. Committee on the Convention Against Torture hearing in Geneva was “a bit better” than the previous round in January, when the U.N.’s Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child went so far as to call on the Church to change its teaching on homosexuality, abortion and contraception.

“The chairperson of the committee made an effort to keep a sense of balance, to...READ MORE

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Nigerian Cardinal Calls for ‘Concrete Action’ to Free Kidnapped Girls (3347)

Nearly 300 teenaged girls were kidnapped last month from their boarding school in northern Nigeria by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

05/07/2014 Comments (8)
Lewis Ashton Glancy/CNA

Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria

– Lewis Ashton Glancy/CNA

ABUJA, Nigeria — Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja has called for “concrete action” to save the hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, saying his country is “ashamed” by the failure to find them.

“Up until now, we are hearing practically nothing concrete on the issue,” Cardinal Onaiyekan told Vatican Radio May 6. “I think almost every Nigerian is taken aback. We cannot explain what is happening.”

“It’s still more baffling that our president seems to be impotent. We have to see concrete action.”

Nearly 300 girls, most of them aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped April 14 from their boarding school in Borno, Nigeria’s northeastern-most state, by members of the radical Islamist group...READ MORE

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Pope Francis: The Gift of Counsel Illuminates the Heart (3164)

During his weekly general audience, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

05/07/2014 Comment

Pope Francis delivers his catechesis at his May 7 general audience in St. Peter's Square.

– ctv.va

VATICAN CITY — During his weekly general audience address, Pope Francis reflected on the Holy Spirit’s gift of counsel, explaining that through it we learn to be docile to the Lord, rather than attached to our own ideas.

“It illuminates our heart and makes us more sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, so that we do not get carried away in our thoughts, feelings and intentions by selfishness or our own way of looking at things, but by the will of God,” the Pope observed during his May 7 general audience.

Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to hear his discourse, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, explaining that,...READ MORE

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Super Bowl-Winning Coach Makes the Most of Each Moment (8733)

The Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh discusses his Catholic faith and football, on the eve of the NFL Draft.

05/07/2014 Comments (1)
Baltimore Ravens/Shawn Hubbard

John Harbaugh

– Baltimore Ravens/Shawn Hubbard

Following a disappointing 8-8 season in 2013, Super Bowl XLVII champion coach John Harbaugh took some time off to recuperate. Then he was back in action.

The 51-year-old Midwest native took a trip in early February to visit the American Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Not long afterward, he was at the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where he and several other Catholic NFL coaches, scouts and administrators participated in a Mass and dinner organized by Catholic Athletes for Christ.

Harbaugh took what he learned at the combine to prepare for the NFL Draft, which takes place Thursday through Saturday. He is also working with the team’s general manager on re-signing the right players...READ MORE

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Church Bulldozing in China Prompts Religious-Freedom Worries (1591)

Rep. Chris Smith calls it ‘a stunning and somber reminder that many hardliners in the Chinese government still want to eradicate the religious freedom of the Chinese people.’

05/07/2014 Comments (6)

WASHINGTON — Chinese authorities’ bulldozing of a large Protestant church shows the need for greater respect for religious freedom in the country, a U.S. congressman has said.

“The destruction of church buildings and the detention of religious leaders in Zhejiang Province is a stunning and somber reminder that many hardliners in the Chinese government still want to eradicate the religious freedom of the Chinese people and control all practice of religion,” U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said May 1.

Smith is the chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights within the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He also co-chairs the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

“Religious freedom is...READ MORE

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