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U.S. Supreme Court

Bishop says contraception ruling means church not free 'to practice what we preach'

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A three-judge panel's Feb. 11 ruling on a court challenge to the contraceptive mandate "says that the church is no longer free to practice what we preach," Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said.

The panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a federal judge in November to grant the Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses a temporary injunction against enforcement of the mandate.

Executions are down and abolition may not be far behind

It looks like the death penalty may be on life support.

January was set to be the deadliest month for U.S. executions in 2015, but nine of the 15 executions were stopped. In an unprecedented wave, three of the deadliest states -- Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- stopped executions planned for last month. February has just begun, but nine of its 12 scheduled executions have been halted.

Last year was not a good year for the death penalty, either, as death sentences hit a 40-year low and executions were at a 20-year low.

Top Catholics and evangelicals: Gay marriage worse than divorce or cohabitation

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A high-profile alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants is set to issue a sweeping manifesto against gay marriage that calls same-sex unions "a graver threat" than divorce or cohabitation, one that will lead to a moral dystopia in America and the persecution of traditional believers.

Bishops welcome court's review of using lethal injection in executions

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The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review the use of lethal injections in carrying out executions is a welcome move, said the chairmen of two U.S. bishops' committees.

The court said Jan. 23 it will review the drug protocols of lethal-injection executions in the state of Oklahoma and consider whether such procedures violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"I welcome the court's decision to review this cruel practice," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Georgia parole board refuses clemency for death-row inmate with low IQ

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The State Board of Pardons and Parole in Georgia on Tuesday rejected pleas from Catholic and other death penalty opponents that death-row inmate Warren Lee Hill be given clemency because he has a low IQ.

His execution by lethal injection scheduled for that evening was to go forward as scheduled at the state prison in Jackson, unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. News reports said he had come within hours of execution three times before in recent years.

Gay marriage hits major bump in federal appeals court

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The same-sex marriage movement lost its first major case in a federal appeals court Thursday after a lengthy string of victories, creating a split among the nation's circuit courts that virtually guarantees review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2-1 ruling from the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed lower court rulings that had struck down gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Diocese asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear case involving confessional seal

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The diocese of Baton Rouge has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that a priest may be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.

The legal step is the latest in a case involving Fr. Jeffrey Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary, La., and the sanctity of the seal of confession.

Utah same-sex marriage proponents want Supreme Court to rule, too

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It's no coincidence that victors rarely ask for a rematch. When you've won, traditional wisdom says, walk away.

But for the Utah couples attempting to topple a state ban on same-sex marriage once and for good, there will be no turning back until their case -- or one like it -- lands at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the three plaintiff couples announced Thursday that they will join with Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes in calling for the Supreme Court to hear their case.

It's an unusual move.

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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

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