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Faith & Parish

Poll: Most Americans don't think Scientology is a religion

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Most Americans do not believe Scientology is a real religion, according to a recent poll by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair.

The survey, conducted by CBS News, found that 70 percent of Americans say that Scientology is not a true religion; 13 percent believe it is; and 18 percent either don't know or don't care.

US Catholics urged to renew commitment 'to defend' life during October

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During October, designated each year as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Catholic Church, Catholics should "renew their personal commitment to defend all human life, especially the most vulnerable members of the human family," said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Vicar general of Diocese of Tyler, Texas, named its bishop

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr. Joseph E. Strickland, the 53-year-old vicar general of the Diocese of Tyler, to serve as its bishop.

The appointment was announced Saturday in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Strickland succeeds Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, who was named bishop of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 2011 after heading the Tyler Diocese for more than a decade.

He will be ordained a bishop and installed Nov. 28 at a special Mass to be celebrated in Caldwell Auditorium in Tyler.

Judge blocks New Orleans law that prevents preaching in French Quarter

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NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a city law recently used to arrest Christian evangelists preaching on Bourbon Street during Southern Decadence, the annual celebration of gay culture in the French Quarter.

Part of the city's recently enacted "aggressive solicitation" ordinance orders people not to "loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise."

"That's no longer in effect," American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Justin Harrison said.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon granted a temporary restraining order Friday and set a hearing for a preliminary injunction for Oct. 1.

Nine Christian preachers and activists were arrested in one well-publicized incident during the gay-themed celebration. One reportedly held a sign reading "God Hates Homos," and others shouted what witnesses characterized as slurs.

But Harrison said his client, Kelsey McCauley of Kenner, La., had nothing to do with that incident.

Pope names new bishop for Orange, Calif.; New York bishop retires

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WASHINGTON -- Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, 61, to be bishop of Orange, Calif., and accepted the resignation of Bishop Tod D. Brown, 75, who has headed the diocese since 1998.

The pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark of Rochester, N.Y., 75, and named Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, N.Y., 69, as apostolic administrator of the Rochester diocese until a successor to Clark is named and installed.

Survey: Americans overstate size of religious minorities

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The typical American underestimates how many Protestants there are in the U.S., and vastly overestimates the number of religious minorities such as Mormons, Muslims, and atheist/agnostics, according to a new study.

Grey Matter Research and Consulting asked 747 U.S. adults to guess what proportion of the American population belongs to each of eight major religious groups: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, atheist/agnostic, believe in God or a higher power but have no particular religious preference, and any other religious group.

Chaput in Philly swims against 'nostalgia and red ink'

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Charles Chaput, whose blunt speech and strong leadership style made him both a celebrated and a controversial figure for almost fifteen years in Denver, was installed as the ninth Archbishop of Philadelphia on September 8, 2011. To say the very least, he’s had a tumultuous first year on the job.

The very day Chaput arrived, he was informed that the archdiocese’s chief financial officer, Anita Guzzardi, had been suspended. She would later plead guilty to embezzling almost $1 million over a decade, to support a gambling addiction. The experience hinted at two constants Chaput has faced -- scandal and red ink.

Questions hang over Cleveland parish's status

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The Cleveland diocese's website lists St. Margaret Mary Parish of South Euclid, Ohio, as having merged with St. Gregory the Great Parish to become Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. As such, it is one of the many mergers that have been part of the downsizing of the diocese during the past five years.

But another page of the site lists St. Margaret Mary as one of the parish closings that is "under appeal to the Vatican." The description, on a page headed "Summary of Closed Parish Cash Receipts and Disbursements," continues: "No disposition or other activities will occur until the appeal has been completely addressed by the Vatican."

The discrepancy probably would have gone unnoticed, or chalked up to clerical error, except for the persistent questions that began to gnaw at Michael Gronick and his mother, Patricia, a lifelong member of the parish, questions that only became compounded with more questions as they approached local and Vatican church officials for answers.

Detroit church sponsors gun buyback to stem city's violence

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With the aim of stemming continued gun violence in Detroit, St. Cecilia Catholic Church sponsored a Detroit Police Department gun buyback Aug. 30.

Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon and Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee volunteered at the event that saw 365 guns, including six assault weapons and a handful of sawed-off shotguns, turned in and $16,820 handed out.

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July 18-31, 2014

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