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Pope Francis appoints Texas priest to head Pueblo diocese in Colorado

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Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Stephen Berg, a priest of the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, to head the diocese of Pueblo, Colo.

Berg, who is 62, succeeds Bishop Fernando Isern, who resigned in June for health reasons.

The appointment was announced Wednesday in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's nuncio to the United States.

The Texas priest is currently serving as diocesan administrator in Fort Worth and will continue in the post until Bishop-designate Michael Olson is ordained a bishop and installed to head that diocese Jan. 29.

Bill would require feds to respect state laws on traditional marriage

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The U.S. House should pass a bipartisan bill that would require the federal government to respect state marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, a U.S. archbishop said Friday.

Titled the State Marriage Defense Act, the bill "is a necessary piece of legislation that will prevent the federal government from unjustly disregarding, in certain instances, state marriage laws concerning the definition of marriage," said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Nine days of prayer part of Roe v. Wade anniversary events for 2014

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For the second year in a row, the U.S. Catholic bishops are sponsoring "Nine Days for Life: Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage," planned for Jan. 18-26, as part of several events marking the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the U.S.

"Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children's lives have been lost to abortion, and many suffer that loss -- often in silence," says a posting on www.9daysforlife.com.

Justice's order temporarily halts HHS mandate

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With one of its last acts of 2013, the Supreme Court gave Catholics a preview of what could be among its most anticipated decisions in 2014.

On Dec. 31, just before the clock struck the end of 2013, Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily halted the implementation of part of a federal mandate requiring coverage of contraceptive services in health care plans in response to a lawsuit by a group of Catholic sisters in Colorado.

'Citizen-scholar' and former Ambassador to Vatican Thomas Melady dies

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Thomas P. Melady, who served in several diplomatic posts and continued to play a role as "citizen-scholar" long past the age when most people would have retired, died Monday. He was 86.

Melady died at his Washington home of a brain tumor, which doctors only recently diagnosed.

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October 10-23, 2014

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