National Catholic Reporter

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Politics

Indiana tops key Senate races

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WASHINGTON -- While almost all of the media's attention has been focused on the presidential race, several key House and Senate races may prove just as likely to determine the shape of politics in Washington over the next few years. And, just as Catholics have become the quintessential swing voters in the presidential race, many of these critical House and Senate races also have a Catholic angle.

Poll: Catholics side with bishops on religious liberty

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WASHINGTON -- A new poll shows that American Catholics tend to agree with their bishops' concerns that religious liberties are at risk in the United States.

Nevertheless, Catholics seem to be warming to President Barack Obama, even as the bishops lambaste his administration in their fight to roll back a federal mandate that requires employers -- with some exceptions -- to cover birth control in their health plans.

Mitt Romney ad says President Obama launched 'war on religion'

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Democratic President Barack Obama of launching a "war on religion" in a television ad released Thursday.

"President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith," the ad's announcer states.

Which presidential candidate is truly pro-life?

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COMMENTARY

A few weeks ago, I publicly defended Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York against onslaughts from the left that accused him of paying off pedophile priests to leave the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. As I explained then, the archbishop was simply recognizing the rights to sustenance that a priest, good or bad, child abuser or not, has from the diocese according to the Code of Canon Law. We might not like it, but sustenance is the law of the church, and then-Archbishop Dolan was following the law.

Now I find it necessary to defend Cardinal Dolan, whose openness and personal character I truly admire, from onslaughts from the far-right, those folks who have created their own parallel magisterium in which the Catholic church sings one note: Making abortions illegal is the highest, truest (maybe only) teaching of our church.

Dolan criticized for inviting Obama to Al Smith Dinner

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NEW YORK (RNS) -- By tradition, the storied Al Smith Dinner has provided a few hours of comic relief from the angry volleys of the campaign trail -- a white-tie charity banquet held in the weeks before Election Day, hosted by the archbishop of New York and featuring speeches by the two presidential candidates on the condition that they lob nothing more than good-natured jibes.

But the Catholic hierarchy's fierce feud with President Obama, abetted by the increasingly sharp tone of the 2012 elections, is threatening to invade this demilitarized zone and give New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan a case of pre-dinner agita.

Congress undermines Obama's peace efforts

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In response to President Barack Obama’s clear -- albeit understated and unenforced -- calls for an end of the Israeli occupation of most of the Palestinian West Bank, both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have mobilized to undercut the administration’s timid efforts and throw Congress’ support to the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Does the contraception mandate really kill religious freedom?

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The Obama administration's policy requiring most employers to provide free birth control coverage in their health insurance policies took effect Wednesday -- a deadline that sparked apocalyptic warnings from conservative activists and some faith groups.

"Aug. 1 is a day that will live in infamy for the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms and rights we as a people have enjoyed since the founding of our nation," said Brent Bozell, head of ForAmerica. "With the stroke of a pen, the Obama administration has shredded the First Amendment and the Constitution right before our eyes."

Federal judge upholds Arizona's new law banning late-term abortions

PHOENIX -- The executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference praised U.S. District Court Judge James A. Teilborg for upholding Arizona's recently enacted ban on abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of medical emergency.

Ron Johnson said he was "absolutely thrilled with the decision from the federal court." Johnson, who worked with Arizona legislators to help get the measure passed, said that "it's been frustrating at times" when courts overturn hard-won legislation.

"It's extremely rewarding when we get the legislation passed and the court upholds (it)," Johnson said, calling the new law "sensible and very positive legislation."

In his July 30 ruling, Teilborg wrote that the Arizona Legislature had written the law -- known as H.B. 2036 -- based on "the substantial and well-documented evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks gestational age."

Supporters of the law said that it also protects women from increased risks incurred in late-term abortions.

Vatican newspaper says Melinda Gates 'off the mark' on contraception

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VATICAN CITY -- Under the headline "birth control and disinformation," the Vatican newspaper took to task Melinda Gates, wife of the Microsoft founder, who announced in early July that the couple's foundation would give $560 million during the next eight years to increase women's access to artificial contraception.

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