The State Department's report leaves out a list of countries actively suppressing religious freedom, or not doing enough to protect it.
With elections weeks away, several bishops have become unabashedly vocal in highlighting the issues they think should determine Catholics' votes.
While candidates hit the road, political groups and committees, including CatholicVote.org, will ramp up the fight to push their politicians into office.
When Misael Santamaria thinks about how well the Head Start program at St. James Catholic Church prepared his older child for the West Virginia public school system, he thanks God it was available for his younger daughter before sequestration cuts eliminates spots for eligible preschoolers.
Advocates for comprehensive immigration reform expressed optimism and hope for a law to pass this summer after the Senate Judiciary Committee May 21 finished wading through 300 proposed amendments - accepting about a third of them - and passed the massive bill on to the full Senate.
Comments lauding the committee's effort came from faith groups, young adults who would benefit from the DREAM Act, which is included in the bill, and even from a Catholic bishop in Ireland.
Now that Vermont allows doctor-prescribed suicide, "the magnificent landscape of this state, which echoes life from its majestic mountains to its powerful waterways, no longer is reflected in the laws which govern the Green Mountain State," said the head of the statewide Diocese of Burlington.
The case, expected to be heard in October, will examine the constitutionality of a practice in Congress and state governments for more than two centuries.
As Oregon scientists announced they converted human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities said the technique destroys human life.
Analysis: Abortion opponents thought the case could reshape the abortion debate. Yet the prayers for an impact from the Gosnell conviction may go unanswered.
The "full social and legal effects" of state lawmakers' decision to legalize same-sex marriage "will begin to manifest themselves in the years ahead," said the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
"Today the Minnesota Senate voted to redefine marriage in Minnesota. The outcome, though expected, is no less disappointing," the conference said in a statement.
The state Senate in a 37-30 vote gave final approval Monday to a same-sex marriage bill. The state House passed the measure May 9. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed it Tuesday.