National Catholic Reporter

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Trenton, N.J.

Applebee's not liable for N.J. man burned while praying over fajita skillet

A New Jersey man cannot collect damages for burns he suffered while bowing his head in prayer over a sizzling steak fajita skillet at Applebee's, a state appeals panel ruled Wednesday.

In March 2010, Hiram Jimenez visited the restaurant with his brother, Rafael, and ordered a steak fajita, which was brought to him in a sizzling skillet, according to court records. The waitress allegedly did not warn him the dish was hot.

Christie's vaccine statements aside, N.J. already allows parents to refuse on religious grounds

Gov. Chris Christie created a stir during a trade trip to London this week when he defended parents' right to decide whether their children should get mandated vaccines -- remarks that a spokesman quickly clarified by saying the governor "believes vaccines are an important public health protection."

Back home in New Jersey, where Christie's health commissioner has been a vocal advocate for vaccinations, parents already have the right to make those decisions if they put in writing that accepting vaccines violates their religious beliefs.

N.J. Catholic Conference applauds passage of in-state tuition bill

The New Jersey Catholic Conference praised state officials for adopting a law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at the state's public colleges and universities.

Jim King, director, of the Office of Social Concerns at the conference, the public policy arm of the New Jersey bishops, commended legislators for agreeing on the compromise measure, which Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed Friday.

New Jersey governor drops appeal of ruling allowing same-sex marriage

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New Jersey's governor withdrew his appeal of a state judge's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying through a spokesman that he "strongly disagrees" with the court "substituting its judgment for the constitutional process ... or a vote of the people," but acknowledged such marriages are now "the law."

Republican Gov. Chris Christie's decision Monday came hours after same-sex couples across New Jersey exchanged vows at midnight.

At 'Justice for Immigrants’ Mass, bishop calls Jesus 'divine immigrant'

Jesus was the "divine immigrant" who lived his life "traveling from place to place," Bishop David O'Connell of Trenton told the congregation at a midday "Justice for Immigrants" Mass Oct. 11 at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral.

"Sacred Scripture tell us where he was from and what his ancestral lineage was," the bishop said in his homily. "But nowhere in the Bible do we find his permanent address, the location of his house, where he lived after beginning his public ministry.

"He lived and worked as an immigrant, an itinerant preacher, on many levels," the bishop added.

Catholic support for immigration reform called a 'moral imperative'

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Catholics need to put aside "any partisan differences" they have on the immigration issue and come together to pray for the welfare of their brother and sister immigrants and for Congress to pass much-hoped-for comprehensive immigration reform, said Bishop David O'Connell of Trenton.

Immigration reform in the United States is "a moral imperative" that goes beyond politics, the bishop said in a pastoral statement he issued for the Trenton diocese's Justice for Immigrants Sunday, observed Sunday.

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