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Archdiocese opposes legal gay marriage in DC

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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Archdiocese said in written testimony Oct. 26 that it opposes legislation to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the District of Columbia and is concerned the bill "would restrict the free exercise of religious beliefs if it is passed as drafted."

The archdiocese said it "opposes this legislation and any effort to redefine marriage as other than that between a man and a woman."

Bishops respond to Rep. Kennedy's criticism

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence and Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York strongly criticized remarks by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., about the U.S. bishops' role in the health reform debate.

In an interview with Cybercast News Service Oct. 22, Kennedy said the bishops were fanning "the flames of dissent and discord" by insisting that health reform not include abortion funding.

"I can't understand for the life of me how the Catholic church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we're caring and giving health care" to the millions of people who are currently uninsured, Kennedy said in the CNSNews.com interview.

"You mean to tell me the Catholic church is going to be denying those people life-saving health care?" he added. "I thought they were pro-life. If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it's going to provide health care that is going to keep people alive."

Signals from Rome: engagement and confrontation

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In a two-month period, Rome sent American Catholics two clear signals. One was on engagement -- the historic meeting of President Barack Obama with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10. The other signal was on the resignation of Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph F. Martino on Aug. 31.

For the past decade there has been considerable discussion centered around two words: engagement and confrontation.

Bishops on health care: Abortion out, immigrants in

WASHINGTON -- As a Senate committee considered a range of amendments on many of the same issues, bishops representing three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called on senators to insist that any final health reform bill exclude mandated coverage of abortion, protect conscience rights, safeguard the health of immigrants and protect "the life, dignity and health of all."

For 'values voters,' health care reform has little value

WASHINGTON -- Health care reform may be Priority No. 1 in Congress and at the White House, but for the 1,825 religious conservatives who gathered here for the annual Values Voter Summit over the weekend, the subject was barely on their radar screen.

"To me, there are so many more important issues than health care right now," said John Leaman, a retired yacht builder from Lancaster, Pa. Added his wife Linda, a waitress: "I don't think it's as urgent as Obama's making it out to be." The real problem, she said, is illegal immigrants "cluttering up our emergency rooms."

The right to health care

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Access to affordable quality health care is a God-given right. Not a privilege or a grant of charity, nor a last resort provided by a “safety net.” A right.

This is traditional Catholic teaching and the first principle by which Catholics should judge the various proposals to expand health insurance to the nearly 50 million of our uninsured neighbors who currently lack the security such coverage provides. Read the encyclicals, read the catechism, read the teachings of the pontiffs, read what the U.S. bishops -- speaking through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- have written.

In reform debate, 'pro-lifers undermine their cause'

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Analysis

"The path to hell is paved with good intentions," goes the proverbial wisdom. No one doubts the good intentions of the pro-life movement in the current debate about health care. They wish to make sure that universal health care reform is at least neutral in its policy ramifications for abortion. But, some of the pro-life movement’s most prominent spokespeople are unwittingly playing into the hands of groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood that seek to skirt around the Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding for abortion.

Obama on health care encourages Catholic officials

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's pledge to continue the ban on the use of federal funds for abortion and to maintain conscience protections for health care workers in any health reform legislation was welcomed by two officials of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the president of the Catholic Health Association.

Speaking with Catholic News Service Sept. 10, hours after Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and a nationwide television audience, Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development in the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said the president's address offered an encouraging sign that the administration has been listening to concerns raised by the bishops and pro-life organizations about abortion funding in any reform legislation.

Bishops' Labor Day letter focuses on health reform

WASHINGTON -- It is possible to bring Catholic values to the ongoing debate over health care reform just as it was done earlier this year in forging a four-way agreement on the potential unionization of workers at Catholic hospitals, said Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y.

"Leaders in Catholic health ministry, the labor movement and the Catholic bishops sought to apply our traditional teaching on work and workers and to offer some practical alternatives on how leaders of hospitals, unions and others might apply our principles as an aid to reaching agreements in their own situations," said Bishop Murphy, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

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September 12-25, 2014

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