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GOP presidential candidates enter the Catholic cafeteria

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A headline in the Washington Post Friday morning said, A Test of Faith: Pope Francis Puts GOP Hopefuls on the Defensive.” And, well, he might. After all, Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ is an affirmation of the scientific consensus on climate change, and very strong instruction that the world needs to do something about it… and fast.

Supreme Court rules for Arizona church in sign ordinance case

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A tiny Arizona church that has no permanent home prevailed at the Supreme Court on Thursday when the justices ruled that the Town of Gilbert must scrap strict rules on temporary signs pointing worshippers to the church’s services.

More a free speech case than a religious rights case, Good News Community Church’s victory has nevertheless buoyed those who say the town had placed the free speech rights of politicians and others above those of a house of worship.

United Methodist conferences petition denomination on behalf of LGBT rights

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An Upstate New York bishop has dismissed a 2013 complaint that accused a retired United Methodist pastor of breaking church law by officiating at several same-sex weddings, including his daughter’s.

Bishop Mark Webb’s May 26 decision to dismiss charges against the Rev. Steve Heiss eliminates a costly and controversial church trial, which in other cases has highlighted the denomination’s divisions over ministering to gays and lesbians.

Senate adopts anti-torture amendment backed by Catholics, evangelicals

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The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote Tuesday approved a measure that would prohibit all U.S. government agencies and their agents from using torture as an interrogation technique.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, sponsored the anti-torture amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016.

Court lets block on ultrasound law stand; rules on immigration appeals

The Supreme Court on Monday left a lower court ruling intact that blocked North Carolina's law requiring physicians to perform an ultrasound on women seeking abortions, and to show it to the women and describe the fetus' features.

Without comment, the court let stand a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from  December that overturned the 2011 law on First Amendment grounds.

Like it or not, most expect gay marriage will sweep the U.S.

Most Americans — including people from every major religious group — predict gay marriage will be legalized nationwide when a hotly anticipated Supreme Court ruling is announced later this month.

Among those who favor legalizing same-sex marriage, 80 percent think the high court will rule their way, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released Thursday. And among those who oppose gay marriage, 47 percent say that’s the likely outcome, too.

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