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‘Arab Spring’ Marks Rise in Threats to Religious Freedom (3173)

Congressional hearing and new Pew study expose heightened government restrictions and social hostilities.

06/25/2013 Comments (6)

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., speaks at a June 25 hearing about the plight of religious minorities in Syria.

– chrissmith.house.gov

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global human-rights issues, called on the Obama administration this week to defend the rights of Syrian Christians, caught between the opposing forces of the nation’s protracted civil war.

Of the estimated 4.25 million Syrians displaced by the war, and millions more fleeing to neighboring countries, “one in five [are] Christian, although Christians in Syria make up one in 10 of the pre-war population of 22 million people,” said Smith in an opening statement at a June 25 joint hearing, “Religious Minorities in Syria: Caught in the Middle.”

“This would seem to indicate that Christians are...READ MORE

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Photo of Pope Francis and the Bones of St. Peter; Conversion Story: Marian Thriller and Much More! (2918)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

06/25/2013 Comment

Photo: Pope & the Bones of Saint Peter. Follow the link by Taylor Marshall of Canterbury Tales to read more.

Photo: Pope & the Bones of Saint Peter by Taylor Marshall of Canterbury Tales - BigPulpit.com

Conversion Story & Book Review: A Marian Thriller – Julia Willis, Arlington Catholic Herald

The Secularist’s Astroturf War Against the Church – Donald R. McClarey JD, The American Catholic

The Greater “What If?” of the Catholic Imagination - Ann Frailey, Tuscany Press

Fashion Resources for Women Wanting to Dress Modestly – Cristina Montes, Ignitum Today

Little World of Don Camillo - CatholicFiction.net

Holy Spirit Stories: The Smile That Made a Family – Sherry Antonetti, Catholic Stand

Tri-Color Tortellini With Roasted Veggies – Celeste, Catholic Sistas

Awakening Contrition in the...READ MORE

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Archbishop Chaput: Catholics Should Live Their Faith ‘All In’ (5009)

Archbishop Chaput encourages Catholics to reconfigure their lives to understanding and acting on the New Evangelization.

06/25/2013 Comments (10)
Matthew Rarey/CNA

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

– Matthew Rarey/CNA

MALLORCA, Spain — Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has called on Catholics to be “active witnesses” of their faith, taking inspiration from the 17th-century missionary Blessed Junipero Serra.

Rejecting the idea that the Christian faith is “a useful moral code” or “an exercise in nostalgia,” he stressed that the Christian faith is “a restlessness, a consuming fire in the heart to experience the love of Jesus Christ and then share it with others — or it’s nothing at all.”

“Young or old, we need to live our faith as Junipero Serra did — all in, 100%, holding nothing back, with charity, endurance, passion and hope,” Archbishop Chaput said. “That kind of faith changes lives and...READ MORE

Filed under faith, new evangelization

Fight Against Secularism Unites Jews, Catholics, Pope Says (3254)

Pope Francis said the Vatican II document 'Nostra Aetate' is the Church’s ‘key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people.’

06/25/2013 Comments (4)
Lauren Cater.

– Lauren Cater.

VATICAN CITY — Christians and Jews can work together to challenge the contemporary problems of secularism and disrespect for the human person, Pope Francis told representatives of Judaism in a Vatican audience.

“Humanity needs our joint witness in favor of respect for the dignity of man and woman created in the image and likeness of God and in favor of peace, which is, above all, God’s gift,” the Bishop of Rome told members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations June 24.

“Friendly relations are, in a way, the basis for the development of a more official dialogue,” he added.

The audience with the Jewish leaders was also attended by Cardinal Kurt Koch,...READ MORE

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Catholics, Baptists Come Together Over Conscience-Rights Bill (2619)

Archbishop William Lori and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve freedom of religion and conscience.

06/25/2013 Comments (2)
Michelle Bauman/CNA

Archbishop William Lori

– Michelle Bauman/CNA

WASHINGTON — Catholic and Baptist leaders are collaborating to ask national legislators to support a bill that would offer conscience protections to health-care workers across the country.

“While Catholics and Southern Baptists espouse different theological views, we are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve our freedom of religion and conscience,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a June 21 letter to members of Congress.

“We urge you to do all that you can to ensure prompt enactment” of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, they said.

Archbishop Lori chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee...READ MORE

Filed under bishops, healthcare, religious freedom, religious liberty

Arizona Hermitage to Foster Deep Prayer and Priestly Renewal (2581)

Retreat center beckons priests for solitude.

06/25/2013 Comments (1)
J.D. Long-Garcia/Catholic Sun

Father Eugene Florea stands in front of a newly built hermitage.

– J.D. Long-Garcia/Catholic Sun

PHOENIX  — Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has established a local house of prayer for priests, where they can come for solitude with Christ and renew themselves for their ministry to the people of God.

Merciful Heart Hermitage is “a place of prayer for priests ... to be drawn into Jesus’ own heart and, through his heart, coming into deep relationship with the Father and the Father’s heart,” director Father Eugene Florea, director of the hermitage, told Catholic News Agency June 19.

“As priests are renewed here, and more deeply united to the heart of Christ, then they’re able to go back into their ministry more deeply united to the heart of Christ to bring to the people of God the...READ MORE

Filed under catholic faith, contemplative prayer, ignatian spiritual exercises, retreat, spiritual direction

Archbishop Gomez Says Immigration Tests America's Identity (2845)

L.A.'s shepherd says: 'Immigration reform offers us a special moment as a nation.'

06/25/2013 Comments (14)
CNA/Patrick Novecosky, Legatus

– CNA/Patrick Novecosky, Legatus

The American dream is at stake in the debate over immigration reform, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles told a group of journalists, saying the issue provides a chance for the nation to renew its soul.

“Our national debate about immigration is a great struggle for the American spirit and the American soul,” the Mexican-born American citizen said June 21 at the Catholic Media Conference in Denver.

“It’s also a defining historical moment for America, a moment for national renewal.”

He told those who are engaged in media as a “witness of service to the Church” that the need for immigration reform is, he believes, “the most pressing issue that we face in American public life.”


Filed under catholic faith, catholic social teaching, human dignity, immigration, national soverignty

Archbishop Myers: The Facts of the Father Fugee Case Aren’t Fully Known (12311)

Newark’s archbishop discusses the disturbing violation of a court agreement by an archdiocesan priest who is barred from ministering to minors.

06/25/2013 Comments (29)

Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J.

– Wikipedia

Over the past three months, the Archdiocese of Newark has been at the center of the latest clergy abuse scandal, after local media reported that a troubled diocesan priest, Father Michael Fugee, participated in numerous youth retreats in direct violation of a court agreement that allowed him to return to ministry under restricted conditions that barred him ministering to minors.

In 2003, Father Fugee was convicted of sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy, but that decision was overturned on appeal in 2006 because of a judicial error.

The subsequent court agreement, a “Memorandum of Understanding,” required the Newark Archdiocese to oversee the priest’s compliance with the directive.


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