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  • In tough times, Texas couple works hard to give daughters a future

    BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CNS) -- Gustavo Rodriguez knew he couldn't study math forever. The impoverished conditions in his town in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in the early 1980s just wouldn't allow it. So instead of crunching numbers with a pencil and notepad his parents couldn't afford, he decided to pinch centavos elsewhere, away from home.

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  • Lawmakers say Obama's actions in Vietnam ignore human rights abuses

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said May 24 that President Barack Obama's decision to lift the arms embargo in Vietnam "failed to advance long-term U.S. interests." Smith was joined by Reps. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia, and Alan Lowenthal, D-California, and Vietnamese human rights activists at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

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  • Court remands two HHS challenges to lower courts 'in light of Zubik'

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Supreme Court in orders issued May 23 remanded two Catholic entities' legal challenges to the federal contraceptive mandate back to the lower courts. The high court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari for two plaintiffs -- the Catholic Health Care System, an umbrella for four Catholic institutions affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York, and the Michigan Catholic Conference.

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  • Zika's spread spurs contradictory congressional action

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a federal effort to combat the spread of the Zika virus, the Senate voted May 17 to allocate $1.1 billion to fight it in the United States. The funding is less than the $1.9 billion the White House recommended, but it's more than the $622 million the House says it would spend -- provided the money is taken from other federal health programs. Republicans in charge of the House believe money should be pulled from research in Ebola, the previous disease to throw a scare into the public.

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  • USCCB abuse audit warns of complacency, cites 'room for improvement'

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" warns against complacency in dioceses, and the firm contracted to conduct audits of dioceses and parishes said there was "plenty of room for improvement" in implementing two of the charter's articles.

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  • Catholic values drive head coach of Ravens on and off the field

    BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The accomplishment of winning the Super Bowl in February 2013 as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens gave John Harbaugh a crowning achievement in football, but he relied on his Catholic faith to guide him and his players through a series of potentially spirit-crushing events during the past year.

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  • Chicago Archdiocese announces new parental leave policy to start July 1

    CHICAGO (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago will begin offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its staff beginning July 1. The new policy is open to fathers and mothers who just had children or adopted children. Staff who are eligible for benefits -- those who work at least 26 hours a week -- and who have worked at the archdiocese at least one month qualify for parental leave. Archdiocesan employees who have worked less than one year will receive one week of paid parental leave for every month they worked.

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  • Martyrs' Shrine could have new ownership; plans for its future underway

    ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) -- Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany likes to term the future of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville a "concelebration." As when priests celebrate a Mass together and each recites one portion of the prayers, he explained, various entities will be collaborating to ensure the shrine's future.

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  • Against death penalty, Pfizer bans drug sales for lethal injections

    New York City, N.Y., May 16, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- The drug company Pfizer has announced it will no longer sell drugs for use in lethal injections because it objects to their use in executions. “Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment,” the company said in an April 2016 policy position paper.

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  • U.S. Supreme Court sends Zubik case back to lower courts

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Supreme Court May 16 sent the Zubik v. Burwell case, which challenges the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive requirement for employers, back to the lower courts. The justices' unanimous decision, explained in a nine-page unsigned opinion, was based on the information that both sides submitted a week after oral arguments were heard in the case about how and if contraceptive insurance coverage could be obtained by employees through their insurance companies without directly involving religious employers who object to this coverage.

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  • Study of women deacons won't be first, but might answer questions

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When Pope Francis accepted a proposal at the Vatican May 12 to form a commission to study the possibility of women serving as deacons today, it generated plenty of buzz. The pope's agreement on the idea -- raised by members of the International Union of Superiors General, the leadership group for superiors of women's orders -- was interpreted by some as a thumbs-up to women deacons and eventually women priests, which the Vatican spokesman was quick to rebut the next day.

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  • Denver archbishop says pope's letter focuses on renewing marriage

    DENVER (CNS) -- Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on marriage and family essentially promotes the renewal of marriage. The document, "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), was released April 8 and is the conclusion of a two-year synod process that gathered hundreds of bishops together with the pope to discuss issues surrounding marriage and the family.

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  • Dioceses, other groups file suit over New York state abortion mandates

    ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) -- The Albany and Ogdensburg dioceses, Catholic Charities agencies and other groups have filed a lawsuit against a branch of the New York state government and several health insurance companies challenging the constitutionality of making religious and other employers cover abortions for their workers.

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  • Sisters of Life hold up dignity of single moms in 25-year-old ministry

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- On a drizzly gray morning in early May, the bright kitchen at Visitation Mission on Manhattan's East Side was filled with the sound of laughter and the inviting aromas of fresh-cut vegetables and baking cookies as postulants and novices of the Sisters of Life prepared food for themselves and their anticipated guests.

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  • Holder calls for forms of slavery reparations in Georgetown talk

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Former Attorney General Eric Holder added his voice to the call for slavery reparations during a program at Jesuit-run Georgetown University. Such reparations can take a variety of forms and may not necessarily mean cash payments to descendants of slaves, Holder said in a response to a question from a student during an April 29 program on race and justice.

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