National Catholic Reporter

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Missouri

Ascension to set aside $20 million from KC-area hospital sales for indigent care

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The owner of St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Mary's Medical Center has agreed to set aside $20 million from its pending sale of those hospitals for charitable care.

In a news release Wednesday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said nonprofit Ascension Health agreed to the set-aside after concerns raised by his office that the money be made available for acute indigent care.

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.

Residents near center for troubled priests worry about property values

A quiet street and a quaint three-bedroom home drew Mike Stenzhorn and his family to Dittmer 15 years ago. He and his two children loved the neighborhood in the small community 40 miles southwest of St. Louis.

They didn't put much thought to the Roman Catholic facility across the street -- a small complex of buildings called the Vianney Renewal Center.

Stenzhorn knew the center had something to do with helping struggling priests. In any case, it seemed harmless, and the neighborhood was nice.

Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

The center, which opposes capital punishment, also found that the 72 death sentences issued in 2014 represents the fewest in 40 years.

Ferguson business owner 'overwhelmed by love, kindness, service'

Plywood covered the broken front windows of her restaurant, the back door served as the main entrance, and no diners appeared on this afternoon.

Yet Maria Flores counted her blessings.

"God was watching over us," Flores said, standing in the intact dining area at El Palenque restaurant about a block from the Ferguson Police Department.

After Ferguson and Eric Garner decisions, white Christians say it's time to stand with blacks

"African-American brothers and sisters, especially brothers, in this country are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be executed, more likely to be killed."

It's the kind of statement that's often cited by black clergy and civil rights activists. But hours after a grand jury on Wednesday chose not to indict the New York City police officer who put Eric Garner into a fatal choke hold on Staten Island, those words came from none other than white evangelical leader Russell Moore.

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