National Catholic Reporter

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma attorney general wants private citizens to distribute religious literature in schools

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After a series of challenges to the distribution of Gideon Bibles in the state's school districts, Oklahoma's attorney general stepped in to defend the practice.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced a new initiative "designed to defend religious freedom and provide support to Oklahoma schools facing intimidation."

Oklahoma bill would abolish state's role in granting marriage licenses, leave it in clergy hands

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In an effort to block the state's involvement with gay marriage, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to abolish marriage licenses in the state.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, amends language in the state law that governs the responsibilities of court clerks. All references to marriage licenses were removed.

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.

Oklahoma archbishop calls Holy Hour 'a powerful witness of faith'

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Oklahoma City's archbishop called the overflow crowd at a Sept. 21 eucharistic Holy Hour "a powerful witness of faith."

More than 600 people filled St. Francis of Assisi Church for the prayer service led by Archbishop Paul Coakley. Another 1,400 people stood in overflow areas and outdoor prayer gardens to listen to his homily over loud speakers.

The Holy Hour was celebrated as a response to a Satanic "black mass" held the same day in a downtown arena.

Injunction stops enforcement of HHS mandate for Catholic benefits group

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A federal district court in Oklahoma issued an injunction Wednesday preventing several Catholic entities from being forced to comply with the federal Department of Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate.

Of the nine Catholic entities granted relief by the court's action, four are based in Baltimore, three in Oklahoma, one in North Carolina and one in Kansas.

'Restorative justice,' not death penalty, urged for accused bomber

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In light of the proposed death penalty for 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, "Jesus weeps ... again" at the injustice, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men said in a statement Wednesday.

"Christ calls us to love our enemies and travel the long, difficult, but humanizing and liberating road to reconciliation," the conference said.

The CMSM statement came in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the federal government will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, currently being held in federal prison for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon attacks.

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