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Politics

Fox News reporter hired as Vatican communications adviser

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VATICAN CITY -- The establishment of a new post of senior communications adviser is a step in the right direction to help the Vatican deal with the challenges of a sound-bite culture, said the American journalist appointed to the job.

Greg Burke, 52, was named to the newly created position in the Vatican's Secretariat of State and will start in July. The announcement was made Sunday on Vatican Radio.

Chaput: We will lose religious freedom if we don't fight for it

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INDIANAPOLIS -- "Unless we work hard to keep our religious liberty, we are going to lose it," Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told members of the Catholic Press Association on the eve of the Fortnight for Freedom, the 14-day period beginning Thursday that will focus the attention of the Catholic community on what the bishops say is government intrusion on religious conscience, beliefs and practices.

Minnesota gears up for November marriage vote

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Catholics -- numbering around 1.1 million -- make up the largest single religious denomination in Minnesota, and they are gearing up for November when voters will decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman.

Currently, Minnesota law only permits marriage between one woman and one man. However, worry over potential legal challenges to that law compelled the legislature to propose a constitutional amendment.

Who's funding the Catholic bishops' religious freedom campaign?

ATLANTA -- On Thursday, Catholics across the country will amplify what is an already loud outcry from the hierarchy over the federal government's so-called contraception mandate.

With rallies, marches, lectures and special publications, the U.S. Catholic Bishop's Fortnight for Freedom campaign will seek to galvanize Catholic opposition to President Barack Obama's proposed mandate to require employers -- including religious institutions -- to provide free contraception insurance coverage to employees.

But while Catholic leaders frame the events as a fight for religious liberty, critics see signs of political partisanship and electioneering. Questions over the financing of the bishops' campaign have caused those suspicions to multiply.

"The activities around the Fortnight for Freedom cost money," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington. "What groups are paying for this, and what's the accountability for that money?"

Nuns on the Bus kicks off nationwide tour in Iowa

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AMES, Iowa -- Republican and Catholic Congressman Steve King of Iowa should have known better than to disappoint a nun, especially a group of them who have come clean across the United States just to see him.

But that is exactly what he did Monday, leaving a small typed note taped on the door of his newly opened Ames office that said he was meeting with voters across his newly redrawn Iowa 4th Congressional District.

Is it time for religious groups to lose their tax exemption?

How much money does the U.S. government forgo by not taxing religious institutions? According to a University of Tampa professor, perhaps as much as $71 billion a year.

Ryan Cragun, an assistant professor of sociology, and two students examined U.S. tax laws to estimate the total cost of tax exemptions for religious institutions -- on property, donations, business enterprises, capital gains and "parsonage allowances," which permit clergy to deduct housing costs.

Archbishop: 'Fortnight' about religious freedom, not politics

ATLANTA -- Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore acknowledged Wednesday that the U.S. bishops' "fortnight for freedom" campaign has come under heavy criticism in the secular media, in the blogosphere and by some Catholics as being a partisan political effort.

But the two-week period is meant to be free of politics and will emphasize church teaching on religious freedom, the chairman of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Freedom said in Atlanta.

Catholics around the country rally for religious freedom

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WASHINGTON -- Catholics in dioceses across the country made their stand for religious freedom in a series of rallies Friday.

Organized by the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, based in Michigan, the rallies took place on the same day in an estimated 145 cities and all together drew about 63,000 participants.

Archbishop: Religious liberty campaign not meant to 'throw' election

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Catholic church's challenges to the federal government's contraceptive mandate under the health care law is not an attempt to "throw" the presidential election in favor of one candidate or against another, said the chairman of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Freedom.

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July 4-17, 2014

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