National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Washington

'Restorative justice,' not death penalty, urged for accused bomber

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In light of the proposed death penalty for 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, "Jesus weeps ... again" at the injustice, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men said in a statement Wednesday.

"Christ calls us to love our enemies and travel the long, difficult, but humanizing and liberating road to reconciliation," the conference said.

The CMSM statement came in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the federal government will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, currently being held in federal prison for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon attacks.

New study on abortion rate doesn't tie drop to new state restrictions

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Almost two weeks after the national March for Life rally in Washington, the Guttmacher Institute reported a 13 percent drop in national abortion rates from 2008 to 2011 -- making for the lowest rate since 1973 when abortion on demand was legalized in the U.S.

However, "no evidence was found" of a correlation between the declining rate and new abortion restrictions set between 2008 and 2011, said the study released Feb. 3.

Ukrainian church leader asks for prayers to resolve national crisis

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Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian Catholic church, capped a weeklong visit to the United States by asking all people of goodwill to join Ukrainian Catholics in prayer to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine.

Each night at 9 p.m. -- 2 p.m. EST -- Ukrainians pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intention for a peaceful and nonviolent resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Prayer breakfast speeches focus on international outreach

President Barack Obama and the administrator of the principal overseas U.S. aid agency urged people at the National Prayer Breakfast to turn their prayers and good works beyond the U.S. borders.

Speaking to the annual gathering Thursday, Rajiv Shah, keynote speaker and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, challenged the audience of about 3,500 people from around the world to "an overarching purpose worthy of this room that has come together to follow the teachings of Jesus: Let us work together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime."

Cardinal Wuerl dedicates new mosaic at national shrine in Washington

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Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington dedicated a newly installed mosaic Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the work is "the second to the last step" in completing the artistic vision of the shrine's original designers.

A news release said installation of the South Gallery Vault Mosaic, above the shrine's M.P. Moller pipe organ, leaves just one area in the Great Upper Church unadorned -- the Trinity Dome, which is the interior of the blue dome that is one of the exterior hallmarks of the shrine.

Catholic advocates find little to praise in farm bill passed by House

The House passed a five-year farm bill Wednesday, more than a year after the 2008 farm bill expired and two days before an extension of the prior measure was to expire.

While Catholic groups and other rural advocates were urging passage of a farm bill, their support for this House version of the bill was muted, largely because of an $8 billion cut in food stamps and the deleting of agricultural reform measures from the version of the bill that came out of a joint House-Senate conference committee.

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