National Catholic Reporter

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Politics

Opponents of gay marriage say they're not bigots

They are moms and dads, authors and activists, a former police officer and a former single mom. They're black and white and Hispanic. One's a Roman Catholic archbishop, another an evangelical minister. Many have large families -- including gay members.

They are among the leading opponents of gay marriage, or as they prefer to be called, defenders of traditional marriage. And they're trying to stop an increasingly popular movement as it approaches two dates with history this week at the Supreme Court.

HHS: Seniors saved more than $6 billion because of health care law

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According to a March 21 press release from the U.S. Health and Human Services:

As the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today more than 6.3 million people with Medicare saved over $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the health care law.

Colorado governor signs bill to legalize same-sex civil unions

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed into law a civil unions bill for same-sex couples that Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said "harms families, civil liberties and the natural rights of all Colorado's children."

The measure was approved by the state House March 12 and went to Hickenlooper for his signature. The Senate had passed it in February. The new law takes effect May 1 and gives same-sex couples many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Lawyer says judge's order affects religious liberty of all Missourians

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A federal judge's decision to strike down portions of a Missouri law protecting conscience rights of those who object to coverage of contraceptives and abortifacients in their health plans attacks the conscience rights and religious liberty of all Missouri citizens, said the state's Catholic conference.

Judge Audrey Fleissig of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis issued her order March 14.

Maryland House OKs death penalty repeal; governor pledges to sign bill

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The Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation Friday to repeal the state's death penalty, an act the Maryland Catholic Conference called "a historic moment."

The conference advocates for public policy measures on behalf of the state's Catholic bishops, who are longtime supporters of repealing the death penalty.

The House passed the bill with a vote of 82 to 56. The Senate passed the bill in February. The bill now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has promised to sign it into law. His signature will come after the end of the legislative session, which is April 8.

For the sake of unity, compromise

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“One of the last presidents to balance the budget was Herbert Hoover.” Thus did Republican Congressman Peter King of New York warn his fellow Republicans that their current fixation on cutting government spending and balancing the federal budget might not be an economic winner for the country or a political winner for them.

Austerity plans have failed in every country they have been tried. During tough economic times, it is bad policy to shrink the government sector. It is even worse policy to allow the mindless “sequester” cuts to begin to take hold.

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.

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