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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.

After court strikes down buffer zone, Massachusetts approves new law

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Attorneys for pro-lifers have decided not to do anything yet about the new buffer zone law around abortion facilities that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed July 30.

But they took issue with the law on various fronts.

"We believe the new buffer zone law is a backdoor attempt to interfere with the constitutional right of free speech in the service of women seeking abortion, whose minds are not made up, women who are looking for the hope, help and love which is Eleanor McCullen's mantra," and that of other sidewalk counselors, said attorney Philip D. Moran.

Obama administration says it plans opt-out alternative on mandate

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The Obama administration has filed a brief with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver indicating it plans to develop an alternative for Catholic and other religious nonprofit employers to opt out of providing federally mandated contraceptives they object to including in their employee health care coverage.

Utah asks Supreme Court for urgent intervention to halt same-sex marriage recognition

Utah asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to issue an emergency order that would prevent the state from recognizing the marriages of thousands of gay and lesbian Utahns, because the state believes it will ultimately prevail in its fight to revive a ban on such unions.

If it does, the state wrote, Utah will do "everything possible" to enforce the law. That means effectively nullifying the more than 1,000 unions gay and lesbian Utahns entered into during a 17-day window when such weddings were legal.

Votes fall short to move Senate bill forward in response to Hobby Lobby

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The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to block consideration of a bill aimed at reversing the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and forcing businesses to provide contraceptive coverage for employees even if they object to it on religious grounds.

Known as the "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014," or S. 2578, the measure was co-written by Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado. Murray introduced the bill July 9. The 56-43 vote fell four short of the 60 needed to move ahead on the bill.

Archbishop: Catholics should be free to serve with 'eucharistic heart'

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The Eucharist conforms Catholics to "the pattern of Christ's self-giving love" and compels them to see the dignity of the poor and perform acts of mercy, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said at the June 21 opening Mass for this year's Fortnight for Freedom.

The Mass coincided with the feast of Corpus Christi.

"By entering the dynamic of Christ's self-giving eucharistic love, we are impelled ... to work for a loving and just society where the dignity of human life is respected from conception until natural death and all the stages in between," he said in his homily.

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September 12-25, 2014

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