National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Washington

Flurry of briefs seeks to shape court's look at same-sex marriage

When it takes up same-sex marriage cases from four states April 28, the Supreme Court will officially be considering just two constitutional questions.

But judging from the outpouring of friend-of-the-court or "amicus" briefs, the court is expected to affect the very definition of marriage in American society.

Panel says assisted suicide operates with premise 'some lives are unworthy'

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Physician-assisted suicide "violates the Hippocratic oath" and operates under the premise that "some lives are unworthy," said participants in a panel discussion Monday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

The panel, which consisted of speakers from the areas of public policy, medicine and religion, was titled "Living Life to Its Fullest: Supporting the Sick and Elderly in Their Most Vulnerable Hours" and focused on recent public discussions of physician-assisted suicide.

Life and death justice issues face court, draw faith leaders' voices

In separate cases, the Supreme Court will consider persistently unsettled angles on criminal sentencing, including death sentences for people with mental disabilities and life sentences for juveniles.

The court heard oral arguments Monday in a Louisiana case that challenges the death sentence of Kevan Brumfield, who his attorneys say should be exempt from capital punishment because he is intellectually disabled. The case asks the court to allow evidence of disability to be considered in a reconsideration of his death sentence.

Catholic advocates push Congress for a budget that protects poor people

Catholic advocates are pressing Congress to make the needs of poor and vulnerable people a priority as legislators hammer out a federal spending plan for 2016.

The advocates told Catholic News Service they want to prevent trillions of dollars in social services spending from disappearing over the next decade as Congress seeks to balance the federal budget and reduce the nation's growing debt.

Their actions unfolded in recent weeks as they learned of Republican plans to remake the way social services such as Medicaid and food stamps are funded.

Wyoming college says declining federal funds protects Catholic identity

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Wyoming Catholic College, a Catholic university founded in 2005 in Lander, announced in late February that it "shall not participate in federal student loan programs."

The decision came after months of analysis and deliberations by the college and its board of directors.

"While the financial benefits are undeniable," said a news release, "the increasingly burdensome regulatory requirements are clearly troubling for faith-based institutions."

San Jose auxiliary named Spokane bishop; Franciscan named to Lexington

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Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Daly of San Jose, Calif., to head the diocese of Spokane, Wash., and Conventual Franciscan Fr. John Stowe to be bishop of Lexington, Ky.

Daly, 54, has been an auxiliary of the San Jose diocese since 2011. Stowe is a vicar provincial for his community and rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio.

The appointments were announced Thursday in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Jean Vanier cites St. Therese of Lisieux, Gandhi as spiritual role models

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In 1964, when Jean Vanier quietly began what would become an international network, he had "no idea that this would be a revolutionary reality ... that it would grow," he remarked joyfully.

The founder of L'Arche and this year's winner of the Templeton Prize made the comments in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service from London, where the news of him winning the prize was announced March 11.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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