WASHINGTON -- African-American Catholics are much more engaged in their church on a variety of levels than are white Catholics, concludes the first National Black Catholic Survey.
WASHINGTON -- Confronted with what one called "a choice between our faith and our jobs," 12 nurses are suing University Hospital in Newark, N.J., over a new policy requiring them to care for patients before and after abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections to abortion.
The hospital, part of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, said that because "no nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in, and/or attendance in the room at the time of," an abortion, its policy does not violate state or federal conscience protection laws.
U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares issued a temporary restraining order Nov. 3 directing the hospital not to compel adherence to the new policy until after the case comes before his court Dec. 5.
At a Nov. 14 news conference outside the hospital in Newark, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., joined the nurses and their attorneys in criticizing the new policy, which was announced in September.
As lawmakers debate how they will trim budgets everywhere and reduce the federal deficit, Catholic health care organizations, like the wider health care industry, continue to deal with the challenges of delivering medical care with fewer resources. Like others, they are looking for new ways to treat poor and uninsured patients, bring physicians to rural areas despite a nationwide shortage, and continue to survive in a rapidly changing landscape.
The call to mission has transformed the lives of priests, religious and people in U.S. and Latin American parishes and dioceses. One dramatic example is the story of Fr. Stanley Rother and Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.
Rother, an Oklahoma City archdiocesan priest, became pastor of Santiago Atitlán, just 10 miles west of San Lucas Tolimán, in 1965. Guatemalan government death squads murdered him in 1981 because of his work with the poor.
CLEVELAND -- Northeast Ohio native Suhad Hasan says neither her Muslim faith nor her headscarf should be an issue where she works.
But she said they were while she was a sales associate at the Old Navy clothing store in Santa Clara, Calif., three years ago. Hasan said she was assigned to work in the fitting room and was never offered training for other positions, despite her repeated requests.
After several months, Hasan moved back to Ohio, only to be denied what she said was supposed to be an automatic transfer to a job in another Old Navy store. She found herself without a job.
"I was born and raised in the United States and I pay taxes like everybody else," said Hasan, 39, now a Parma, Ohio, resident who has sued Gap Inc., the parent company of Old Navy. "What I wear on my head and the God that I believe in should not be an issue in the workplace."
Artist Rita Corbin, whose tender line drawings graced the pages of Catholic Worker journals for decades, died Nov. 17 from injuries suffered in a car crash. She was 81.
Corbin decided early in life to become an artist, choosing to major in art while attending Cathedral Girl's High School in New York City.
"The school was keen on turning out secretaries," she said, "but I refused to learn to type. I knew I didn't want to go into business on pure instinct, I guess. I needed a major and art appealed to me the most."
For Corbin, the artistic endeavor could not be separated from one's political and religious consciousness. She considered the work of the artist to be "a real struggle to bring some kind of form and feeling out of the materials one uses and the society one lives in."
Corbin's society included the natural world as well as the poor. Both were frequent subjects of her illustrations. Her etchings and pen and ink drawings of trees, flowers and birds have been described as lyrical celebrations of nature. Her figurative work has been likened to that of German painter, printer and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz.
As the U.S. bishops, meeting in Baltimore in mid-November (See story), warned about growing threats to religious liberty, a scenario was playing out in Illinois that some would argue makes a strong case for their alarm.
The Belleville diocese announced Nov. 10 that Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois was separating from the diocese in order to continue to provide foster care and other social services in the poorest corner of that state. The separation was necessary, said a statement posted on the diocesan website, because the agency was no longer able to carry out its mission under the recently enacted Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which requires state-funded adoption agencies to place adoptive children with same-sex couples.
The move signaled the end of decades of Catholic involvement in adoption services in Illinois. Previously, three other dioceses had ended similar programs because of the new law. In the past, the church referred unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to other agencies.
When 22- year-old Willem de Kooning arrived in New York Harbor in 1926 as a stowaway on the SS Shelley, he came with academic training in commercial and fine art from his native Netherlands as well as a ferocious hunger to discover America. What he could not have known at the time was that he was to show America how to see itself as it never had before.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Serving at the Pentagon crash site and offering prayers for the dead as the remains of those killed in the 9/11 attack there were recovered, Father Robert L. Marciano will never forget the reverence with which the military cared for the remains of those lost in the line of service to their country that day.
So it came as a surprise to the chaplain when the U.S. Air Force acknowledged Nov. 8 that staff at its Dover, Del., military mortuary had lost body parts or mishandled the remains of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan after they were shipped home from the battlefield.
"In my experience, the military is usually so meticulous in identifying and handling the remains," said Father Marciano, who holds the rank of colonel and now serves as the state command chaplain of the Rhode Island National Guard. He also is pastor of Our Lady of Good Help Parish in Burrillville.
While also assigned to the Pentagon, he recalls how the military worked hard to ensure the remains of those killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq were brought home to their respective families.
BALTIMORE -- When Rosibel Mancillas Lopez meets undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of mainstream U.S. culture, she goes into action.
She tells them they have basic rights under the law, despite their lack of citizenship. She explains Catholic teaching and its promotion of human dignity. She points them to avenues where they can advocate for changes in U.S. immigration law.
Enrolled in the University of San Diego law school, Mancillas, 24, has taken a similar message to students on campus, where she organizes monthly trips to Tijuana, Mexico, in an effort to breach the cultural chasm.
Mancillas was honored for her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants Nov. 14 by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which presented her with the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award during the U.S. bishops' fall meeting. The award honors a young adult for leadership in fighting poverty and injustice.
As Mancillas sees it, her efforts follow her desire to live the Gospel.