National Catholic Reporter

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Faith & Parish

Want to ride the train to see the pope? You'll have to buy a lottery ticket

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Anticipating a stampede of customers during Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Philadelphia, a regional rail line will hold an online lottery for 24-hour regional rail passes for travel on Sept. 26 and 27.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, known as SEPTA, is reportedly selling 175,000 passes for each day of the pope's Philadelphia visit, for a total of 350,000 passes.

America welcomes Christians, Jews; atheists, Muslims not so much

Americans are all for religious freedom -- but disagree on who can claim it.

Diverse religious groups are recognized -- but Christians and Jews are significantly more welcome than atheists, and many don't see a welcome mat for Muslims. And not everyone means the same thing when speaking of a "Christian" nation.

So finds a new look at Americans' religious self-image, detailed in a LifeWay Research survey released Wednesday.

Federal prisons agree inmates can be 'humanists'

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to recognize humanism as a religion after settling a lawsuit brought by an Oregon inmate.

The move comes a year after the U.S. Army agreed to recognize humanism as a religious choice for service members and may signal a broader government willingness to recognize humanism, a system of beliefs that recognizes no deity and emphasizes rational thinking.

'Walk with Francis Pledge' urges Washingtonians to do a good deed ahead of papal trip

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Standing beside a statue called "Homeless Jesus," Msgr. John Enzler pledged to spend a night with the city's homeless before Pope Francis' visit in September.

Enzler, who is president of Catholic Charities, made the vow as part of Wednesday's launch of the "Walk with Francis Pledge," a campaign by the Washington archdiocese and Catholic Charities to get 100,000 people to take on a good deed in preparation for the pope's visit.

Archdiocese of Newark sues New Jersey over headstone law

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A public interest law firm has filed a federal case on behalf of the archdiocese of Newark challenging a New Jersey law that bars church-run cemeteries from selling headstones.

"This case addresses one of the most important unanswered questions in constitutional law: how far government power can act for primarily private gain," said Jeff Rowe, senior attorney for the Institute of Justice.

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