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Brazilian Cardinal Scherer shows pastoral warmth

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On Sunday March 10, as the cardinals fanned out across Rome to celebrate Mass at their titular churches -- those assigned to them in an ancient linkage with the Bishop of Rome -- Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer celebrated a mid-morning liturgy at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, a beautiful if comparatively small church with pews for 200 worshipers.

Twice that many media members surrounded the seating area, the camera operators angling to position their viewfinders as the cardinal preached his homily in Italian, reflecting on the Gospel parable of The Prodigal Son.

Boston cardinal asks House to pass Health Care Conscience Rights Act

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Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has asked members of the House to approve the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

Introduced March 5 by three House Republicans, the bill had 66 co-sponsors as of Monday.

The bill will "help preserve the vitally important traditions of religious freedom and the right of conscience," O'Malley said in a letter to House members Monday.

Conscience-protection bill for HHS mandate introduced in House

Three Republican members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced a bill to protect conscience rights for both workers in the health care industry and for employers in light of the federal mandate requiring employers to cover contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

One of the sponsors, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said it is possible that the bill, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, could be folded into a continuing resolution being considered by the House to keep the federal government operating beyond March 27.

Gay marriage opponents make their case to Supreme Court

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Foes of same-sex marriage are warning the Supreme Court that lifting state or federal restrictions would threaten their own economic and religious freedoms and lead to social and political upheaval.

In about three dozen briefs filed in recent weeks, groups ranging from U.S. Catholic bishops and evangelicals to state attorneys general and university professors argue that upholding gay marriage could lead to penalties against objecting employers, military officials and others.

Briefs from supporters of gay marriage are due by early March.

Objection raised over benefits to same-sex partners of military members

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The U.S. Defense Department's new policy that confers some military benefits on the same-sex domestic partners of members of the military undermines the traditional definition of marriage, two archbishops said Friday.

Archbishops Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services and Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, raised objections to the new policy announced Feb. 11.

Recapping the 'Forward on Climate' rally in D.C.

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On Presidents Day weekend, more than 35,000 people from more than 30 states gathered on  in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the issue of climate change, in what organizers called "the largest climate rally in U.S. history."

Specifically, they urged President Barack Obama to act on his promises to address climate change during his second term, first by rejecting the controversial Keystone XL transnational pipeline. 

Using Storify, Eco Catholic has compiled a snapshot of the rally, including events leading up to it, and reaction following it. 

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In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

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