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Release of Pope Francis’ First Encyclical Stresses Beauty of Faith (4284)

Pope Francis said he is ‘deeply grateful’ to his predecessor for having almost completed the first draft of the encyclical, which he says is ‘meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope.’

07/05/2013 Comments (4)
Stephen Driscoll/CNA

– Stephen Driscoll/CNA

VATICAN CITY — The first encyclical of Pope Francis — which had been started by the former pope, Benedict XVI — has been released today to help strengthen the faith of Catholics worldwide.

“We welcome with great joy and gratitude this integral profession of faith, in the form of catechesis written by four hands of the successors of Peter,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet at the Vatican Press Office on July 5.

“Together, they show forth the Church’s faith in its beauty, the faith that is confessed within the body of Christ as the concrete communion of believers,” he added.

The encyclical — called Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) — was presented at a Holy See press conference with the...READ MORE

Filed under lumen fidei, pope benedict xvi, pope francis

SDG Reviews 'Despicable Me 2' (8789)

An amiable sequel doesn’t quite match the endearing original, but successfully coasts on the characters’ charm and the reliable appeal of the breakout Minions.

07/05/2013 Comments (7)
Universal Studios

– Universal Studios

After a second-tier archvillain has been domesticated and redeemed by the inexorable cuteness of a trio of orphaned moppets, how does a sequel keep things interesting? Despicable Me 2 has some good next-step ideas.

Still adjusting to the vagaries of suburban single fatherhood (backyard birthday parties, etc.), the newly reformed Gru (Steve Carell) is nonplused to learn that his old partner in crime, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), is leaving him to pursue other opportunities. Isn’t that always the way with old friends when a single guy settles down?

Then there are the neighbors trying to set up Gru with their single lady friends. Well, moppets need a mother as well as a father — and it’s...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family films, movies, sdg reviews

Catholic Lawsuit Seeks to Uncover Influences on HHS Mandate Policy (2350)

The Diocese of Pittsburgh’s lawsuit contends the federal government created illegal barriers to disclosing information about lobbyist influence.

07/05/2013 Comments (2)

President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meet with health-care stakeholders at the White House on May 11, 2009.

– Wikicommons/whitehouse.gov

PITTSBURGH — The Diocese of Pittsburgh has filed a lawsuit charging that the federal government created illegal barriers to its request for information about lobbyist influence on the HHS contraception mandate.

“We think there has been a wide variety of groups trying to influence the administration to keep the sterilization, contraception and abortion pill parts of the mandate,” Mickey Pohl, a lawyer for the diocese, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He added that the diocese is “trying to find out what the communication has been back and forth to HHS and the reason HHS is fighting religious organizations so hard not to change the preventative-care mandate.”

The diocese’s lawsuit,...READ MORE

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Komen Troubles Attributed to Planned Parenthood Controversy (19192)

The breast-cancer charity experiences a decline in participation in its fundraising walks, amid continuing criticism of its contributions to the abortion provider.

07/05/2013 Comments (15)

DALLAS — When Dr. Judith Salerno, the new CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, officially steps into her new job on Sept. 9, she will do so with the blessings of Planned Parenthood.

In 2012, the abortion provider waged a successful public-relations campaign to force Komen, which supports initiatives to fight breast cancer, to reverse a controversial decision to discontinue voluntary financial grants to Planned Parenthood. Now, two years later, the abortion group greeted the appointment of Salerno with warm words.

“We wish Dr. Salerno well in this important new role, and we’re proud of our continued partnerships with Komen and others to ensure that all women, regardless of income, have...READ MORE

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Pope: Christ Provides a Freedom and Salvation ‘Identity Card’ (1699)

In his daily homily, the Holy Father reflected on the biblical account of Jesus curing a paralytic.

07/04/2013 Comments (1)
Facebook/Vatican Radio

Pope Francis (r) celebrates Mass July 4 at the Vatican's St. Martha House.

– Facebook/Vatican Radio

VATICAN CITY — During daily Mass on Thursday, Pope Francis explained that Christians are free because of Jesus, who gives them their identity as God’s children.

“We are saved in Jesus Christ, and no one can take from us this identity card,” said the Pope at the chapel of the Vatican’s St. Martha House. “Civil status: We are free!”

“This is how I identify myself, as a child of God; what a beautiful identity!” he remarked during his homily July 4.

The Pope explained that human beings are free because Jesus “made us sons, with the liberty of sons,” and that because of what he did, people can call God “Father.”

“We, who were slaves of sin, he has made us all free; he has healed us at...READ MORE

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Fortnight’s Final Homily: ‘Your Faith Is a Remedy for What Ails Our Society’ (6033)

Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s Fourth of July remarks at the 2013 'Fortnight for Freedom' closing Mass in Washington.

07/04/2013 Comments (11)
Archdiocese of Washington photo by Sarah Yaklic

Cardinal Donald Wuerl waves July 4 to a crowd outside Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

– Archdiocese of Washington photo by Sarah Yaklic

WASHINGTON — The second annual "Fortnight for Freedom," organized by the U.S. Church to proclaim the importance of religious freedom in America, concluded today with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The "Fortnight for Freedom" closing Mass was concelebrated at the shrine with six other bishops and 72 priests, and it was attended by a congregation estimated at 5,500 people. 

Here is the full text of Cardinal Wuerl's homily:

Four years ago, I had the privilege and joy of participating in an event in southern Maryland that tells a story that we need to hear again today when we commemorate...READ MORE

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Cardinal Dolan’s Conclave: New E-Book Recounts His Experiences (2793)

The head of the New York archdiocese wrote Praying in Rome in response to many requests to share his story of the papal transition.

07/04/2013 Comments (2)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In a new e-book, Cardinal Timothy Dolan offers his personal insight into a momentous time in the Church’s recent history, from the resignation of Benedict XVI to the election of Pope Francis.

The head of the New York Archdiocese wrote Praying in Rome in response to the many requests he has received to share his experience of the transition from one pope to another.

Praying in Rome will be released in electronic formats on July 9.

On Feb. 11, the day that Benedict XVI announced his resignation, Cardinal Dolan was just finishing his morning prayers by reading Jesus of Nazareth.

“Every time I’d read a paragraph, I’d say to myself, ‘This guy [Benedict XVI]...READ MORE

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Patriotic Songs for God and Country (6700)

Hymns for the Fourth of July at Church and Elsewhere

07/04/2013 Comments (2)

The Fourth of July is a good time for some stirring patriotic songs.

But more than stirring emotions, such songs reflect the religious roots of our country.

America, America the Beautiful, God Bless America and others are often sung as the recessional after Mass on patriotic holidays like Independence Day.


Harmonious History

The first to come along was America. It was sung for the first time on July 4, 1832.          

Also known as My Country ’Tis of Thee, this hymn was penned by Samuel Francis Smith in Massachusetts in 1831. While studying to be a Baptist minister, he wrote all five stanzas in just 30 minutes.

Smith set the song to a melody he enjoyed — the music for the...READ MORE

Filed under fourth of july, fortnight for freedom, patriotism

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