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Politics

Francis to address Congress Sept. 24

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Pope Francis will make an unprecedented address to Congress on Sept. 24 during his first visit to the United States.

House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday (Feb. 5) that the pontiff accepted the invitation Boehner extended last year.

“In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds,” Boehner said in a statement. “His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.”

Executions are down and abolition may not be far behind

It looks like the death penalty may be on life support.

January was set to be the deadliest month for U.S. executions in 2015, but nine of the 15 executions were stopped. In an unprecedented wave, three of the deadliest states -- Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- stopped executions planned for last month. February has just begun, but nine of its 12 scheduled executions have been halted.

Last year was not a good year for the death penalty, either, as death sentences hit a 40-year low and executions were at a 20-year low.

Pro-life activists optimistic about state efforts to restrict abortion

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While action on a bill that would ban abortions in the United States after the 20-week mark has been delayed in the House of Representatives, pro-life activists said they remain optimistic about efforts to restrict abortion, especially at the state level.

Several states, including South Carolina, West Virginia and Kansas, are moving forward on various forms of legislation meant to protect the life of the unborn.

CHA brief urges US Supreme Court to maintain health care subsidies

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If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down federal subsidies that have helped millions of people get health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it will be "an incredible cruelty," said the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association.

"[If] you are in any state of the union and you are talking to people who work for a living, who wait on us, cut our hair, drive our taxis, they will tell you this has been life-changing for them," Sr. Carol Keehan said about the federal health care law.

Top Catholics and evangelicals: Gay marriage worse than divorce or cohabitation

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A high-profile alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants is set to issue a sweeping manifesto against gay marriage that calls same-sex unions "a graver threat" than divorce or cohabitation, one that will lead to a moral dystopia in America and the persecution of traditional believers.

Bishops welcome court's review of using lethal injection in executions

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The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review the use of lethal injections in carrying out executions is a welcome move, said the chairmen of two U.S. bishops' committees.

The court said Jan. 23 it will review the drug protocols of lethal-injection executions in the state of Oklahoma and consider whether such procedures violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"I welcome the court's decision to review this cruel practice," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

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