Column: Passing the farm bill, approving a budget, and enacting comprehensive immigration reform have topped the agenda for Congress and Catholics this year.
Following a special session of the Hawaii Legislature that for two weeks turned the state Capitol into high-spirited exhibition of populous democracy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed the bill causing all the commotion and made Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, who had vigorously opposed the legislation, called same-sex marriage a "manufactured civil right" that is "symptomatic of a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of human sexuality."
THANK YOU, ANARCHY: NOTES FROM THE OCCUPY APOCALYPSE
By Nathan Schneider
Published by University of California Press, $24.95
The farm bill, already one year late, could be even later if the House-Senate conference committee working on the compromise version takes its sweet time.
According to Bob Gronski, a policy analyst with the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the lawmakers are taking the bill one "title" at a time until the conference committee is satisfied with the result.
The most contentious issue is likely to be the nutrition title, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development deserves the full support of the U.S. bishops because of its success in fighting poverty, said a group of Catholics on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall general assembly Nov. 11-14 in Baltimore.
In a letter addressed to all of the bishops, 47 Catholic leaders, including three retired bishops and former USCCB staff members, urged the prelates to "redouble your commitment to social ministries that lift people out of poverty," especially CCHD.
In a letter to the U.S. senators, the chairmen of three U.S. bishops' committees outlined their opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, emphasizing the bill to protect gay and lesbian workers goes beyond the scope of prohibiting unjust discrimination and "poses several problems."
The bishops stressed that "all people are created in the image and likeness of God" and have "human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected by other persons and by law."
In a case that could determine restrictions on expressions of faith in the public square, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider religious prayers that convene government meetings.
Commentary: The food stamp debate is about more than simply balancing our federal budget -- it's about our values as a nation.
Maggie Ward, an oncology nurse at Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kan., knows all about the health insurance marketplace that opened to the public Oct. 1 to allow families and small businesses to shop for insurance coverage.
She understands coverage costs, available options and how people can determine their eligibility for government subsidies because she had 30 hours of training from the U.S. Health and Human Services to be certified as a navigator, or qualified person, to steer people through the maze of the new health care law.
A federal judge voided one section of Texas' new abortion law that was scheduled to take effect Tuesday.
Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court in Austin ruled Monday that the admitting-privileges provision of the new law was unconstitutional.