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Catholic Spirit: Transgender persons, human dignity and our response

(by Jason Adkins)
October 9, 2014

This past summer, Time Magazine had a cover story called “The Next Civil Rights Revolution,” chronicling the movement to create legal mandates for the accommodation of persons who either identify as transgender or who refuse to identify as male or female altogether.

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Catholic Spirit: Leaders look to solve achievement gap, advocate for school choice

(by Jessica Trygstad)
October 8, 2014

A variety of community leaders in the Twin Cities gathered for one of what they say will be many meetings to address the achievement gap for Latino students in Minnesota, which data shows is the highest in the nation.

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News Release (Catholic Rural Life and UST): Top Vatican Official to Lead U.S. Symposium on Faith and Farming

For immediate release

Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is drafting a papal encyclical on the environment, will participate in the Nov. 5 to 7 event.

St. Paul, Minn. (October 7, 2014)–One of world’s leading Catholic officials will bring Pope Francis’ message of faith-based ecology to the United States this fall. Cardinal Peter Turkson will deliver the keynote address and participate in working sessions at the Faith, Food & the Environment Symposiuma groundbreaking event that will confront the challenges of 21st century agriculture from a faith-based perspective.

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News Release (USCCB): USCCB General Counsel Submits Comments on Latest Version of HHS Contraceptive Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 8, 2014)—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) submitted comments October 8 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and two other federal agencies on the Obama administration’s latest version of “Rules on Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act,” commonly known as the HHS contraceptive mandate. The comments were submitted by Anthony Picarello, USCCB general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel.

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Catholic Spirit: Building Babylon’s good without bending to its gods

(by Jason Adkins)
September 24, 2014

The finest book of the late Richard John Neuhaus (though not his most well-known) is “American Babylon,” published posthumously in 2009. The book helpfully guides the reader through the challenges of living as an “exile” — both in the world and in a nation sometimes inhospitable, or even outright hostile, to a society grounded in the Gospel.

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News Release (USCCB): Cardinal O’Malley: Government Report Confirms Bishops’ Concern on Abortion Coverage

Investigative agency finds over a thousand health plans covering abortion on demand
Promised “separation” of abortion funds from tax dollars not implemented
Abortion-related abuses under Affordable Care Act require corrective action

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 16, 2014)—A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) “confirms the U.S. bishops’ longstanding concern about abortion coverage” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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News Release (USCCB): Archbishop Kurtz to President Obama: Plight of Religious Minorities in Iraq Requires Increased Support

USCCB President thanks Obama for aid, protection already provided
Repeats call of Pope Francis for international community to help
Notes U.S. dioceses have set aside August 17 as day of prayer for Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 14, 2014)—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged President Obama to answer the call of Pope Francis for the international community “to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” in Iraq. Archbishop Kurtz made the appeal in an August 13 letter, in which he assured President Obama of the prayers and support of the U.S. bishops in these efforts.

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News Release (USCCB): 2014 Labor Day Statement Focuses on Unemployment Among Young People

Archbishop Wenski reiterates Pope Francis’ call for an inclusive economy
Says college debt, lack of stable jobs keeping young people from starting families
Calls for increased solidarity, more and better jobs, immigration reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 13, 2014)—The high unemployment rate of young adults, both in the United States and around the world, is the focus of the 2014 Labor Day Statement from the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami. The statement, dated September 1, draws on Pope Francis’ teaching against an “economy of exclusion” and applies it to the millions of unemployed young adults in the United States.

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Catholic Spirit: Border children and a consistent ethic of life

(by Jason Adkins)
August 13, 2014

The humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border has become a major issue in the public discourse. It has generated a heated political debate that has sometimes obscured the human face of the problem and the actual needs of the unaccompanied minors.

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National Catholic Register: Thai Surrogacy Scandal: The Difference Between Begotten and Made

(by Rebecca Taylor)
August 7, 2014

A surrogacy story has recently made headlines all over the world: David and Wendy Farnell, an Australian couple, contracted with a Thai woman, Pattharamon Janbua, to carry their in vitro fertilization (IVF)-created embryos. Pattharamon gave birth to twins, a boy with Down syndrome and a girl. The Farnells took the girl home to Australia and left the boy, named Gammy, in Thailand.

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