Health care law: uncertain outcome after multiple diagnoses

A protester wears a T-shirt at an Oct. 12 SoCal Health Care Coalition protest at the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, Calif. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Affordable Care Act — on the examination table since President Donald Trump came into office — has been poked, prodded and even pronounced dead while the fight to keep it alive keeps going.

President Trump told Cabinet members Oct. 16: “Obamacare is finished. It’s dead. It’s gone. … There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore,” but that is not how those who want health care reform, including Catholic leaders, see it, and it’s not the general public’s view either, according to a recent poll.

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Posted in U.S.

Signs of the Spirit: App teaches blessings, how to pray in ASL

This is a publicity image for the “Religious Signs for Families” app to help deaf children and their family members learn prayers in American Sign Language. The app is an initiative of the Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It will be available in early November in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. (CNS photo/Deaf Apostolate of Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Sister Kathleen Schipani found out she was usually the very first person to teach deaf children to pray, she decided there had to be an app to fix that.

Learning to pray usually happens in the family, when a parent or relative recites the words for grace before meals, asks for blessings or requests guidance or protection, the Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary told Catholic News Service in Rome.

But when a child is born deaf into a hearing family, those kids shouldn’t have to miss out on learning Catholic prayers or religious terms as they learn American Sign Language, she said Oct. 20.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Good works are response to, not reason for God’s forgiveness, pope says

Pope Francis celebrates Mass Sept. 18 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are holy not because of their good works but because they recognize their sins before God and receive his forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

In his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae Oct. 20, the pope said that good deeds are “the answer to the freely given love of God, who justifies us and forgives us always.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Vetoed bill on reproductive health called ‘massive overreach by NARAL’

Gov. Jerry Brown (CNS/EPA)

Gov. Jerry Brown (CNS/EPA)

By Catholic News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — Religious freedom advocates and pro-life leaders praised California Gov. Jerry Brown for vetoing a bill called the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act that targeted religious employers and their faith-based codes of conduct for employees.

Assembly Bill 569 would have made it illegal for a California employer to discipline or fire employees for “their reproductive health decisions, including, but not limited to, the timing thereof, or the use of any drug, device or medical service.”

Alliance Defending Freedom said the bill would have prohibited churches, religious colleges, religious nonprofit organizations and pro-life pregnancy care centers “from having faith-based codes of conduct with regard to abortion and sexual behavior.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture readings, Oct. 22, 2017: Whom do you serve?

The Catholic News Service column,

The Catholic News Service column “Speak to Me Lord” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Oct. 22, Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle A readings

      1) Is 45:1, 4-6

      Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10

      2) 1 Thes 1:1-5

      Gospel: Mt 22:15-21


By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

Jem Sullivan writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column,

Jem Sullivan

“I am the Lord and there is no other” (Is 45:6).

The prophet Isaiah tells us, in simple yet weighty words, that God’s power is universal, loving and mysterious. Earthly power comes from God alone, Isaiah reminds the Israelites and us.

To confess God’s almighty power has profound meaning for life. For in confessing that God is the source of all power, we place ourselves in the merciful hands of God, with complete trust and humble thanksgiving.

It is this Christian attitude of deep trust and thanksgiving to God that St. Paul finds and praises in today’s second reading. The apostle describes the Thessalonians as an early Christian community whose faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ radiated from their words and actions. That was the authentic path of Christian life then and it remains the essence of every Christian community today. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Pope’s pro-life challenge: Respect all life, oppose death penalty

The death chamber table is seen in 2010 at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. (CNS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice via Reuters)

The death chamber table is seen in 2010 at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. (CNS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice via Reuters)

(Backgrounder and analysis)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ recent statement that the death penalty is incompatible with the Gospel focused less on a government’s role in protecting its people and more on the need to defend the sacredness and dignity of every human life.

At least from the time of Blessed Paul VI in the 1960s, the Catholic Church has been increasingly critical of the use of capital punishment, even while acknowledging centuries of church teaching that a state has a right to punish offenders, including with the death penalty.

St. John Paul II, in his 1995 encyclical letter, “The Gospel of Life,” wrote of his alarm at “the extraordinary increase and gravity of threats to the life of individuals and peoples,” but said one sign of hope was the increasing opposition around the world to capital punishment. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Whole-life perspective: How one young activist thinks about social justice

(A series of columns focused on and written by millennials and young adults)

By Jeanne Marie Hathway
Catholic News Service

Jeanne Marie Hathway

Jeanne Marie Hathway

As a college student, I spend much of my time deliberating the great questions of our day, not least among them: the limp salad or the pizza? Shredded carrots and dressing could spruce up the former; the latter’s grease I could dab off.

But increasingly, the minimal effort required to render the inedible appealing is daunting enough that I choose not to eat at all. It’s a pathetic defeat. I’m not blind to the privilege of a cafeteria at my disposal, but I know that neither will satisfy my hunger.

Young Catholics today find ourselves in a similar type of political cafeteria of options ranging from unsavory to utterly unfit-for-consumption. The preparatory document for the 2018 synod on youth discusses the despair that arises from this situation, naming young people’s “resignation or fatigue in their will to desire” in the face of causes they wish to champion. In my experience, this fatigue is traced to the fear that embracing one movement means abandoning others. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials