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U.S., business appeal on birth-control mandate


Posted Thu, September 19th, 2013 2:29 pm

UPDATE 4:28 p.m. The Obama administration has taken its own case to the Supreme Court on the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law. The petition and appendix, a large file, are here; they were filed Thursday afternoon. The government petition raises only an issue under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, not under the First Amendment. The Tenth Circuit Court had struck down the mandate as applied to the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby, based on RFRA and not on the Constitution. The government petition is docketed as No. 13-354. No number has been assigned yet to the petition described in the post below. (FURTHER UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: The Conestoga petition has now been docketed as 13-356.)
Lawyers for a family-owned woodworking business in Pennsylvania on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to bar the government from requiring the firm to provide birth-control health insurance for its workers, under the new federal health care law. This is the first of multiple cases on the issue that likely will reach the Court out of the sixty-plus cases working their way through lower courts. The new petition (a large file) is here.

The chances are strong that the Court will agree to rule on one or more of the challenges, since federal appeals courts are now split on the question. Moreover, the Obama administration is expected to file its own appeal on the issue, as early as next week.

Read the rest at: http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/09/birth-control-mandate-issue-reaches-court/

Religious Statues Decapitated Outside Church in Gloucester County

Cleve-Bryan-web-headshotReporting Cleve Bryan
By Cleve Bryan
MALAGA, N.J., (CBS) – Members of St. Mary’s Malaga are in disbelief after vandals smashed the heads off of statues of Virgin Mary and Jesus.
In all, nine statues were damaged including three statues that are about five-feet-tall – Sacred Heart of Jesus, Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima.
“For a statue to be defamed in this way in this very holy ground and this very holy church it is crushing to me,” says long-time parishioner Cynthia Hetzler.
Franklin Township Police believe the vandalism happened between 2 and 4 a.m. on Thursday. The parish has a 24-hour prayer group so someone is almost always at the sanctuary, but so far no witnesses have come forward.
Investigators say they’ll review surveillance from businesses down the street and are hoping for tips at (856) 694-1415.
Depending on what police learn, Chief Michael Rock says vandalism charges could be upgraded to a hate crime.
“If we could determine that this was the result of a bias incident then obviously the charges will be enhanced,” says Rock.
Spokesperson for the Camden Diocese Peter Feuerherd says upon looking at the damages it seems clear the person responsible has it out for the church.
“These are important symbols of the Catholic faith and in that way when you attack the symbols of faith you attack the faith,” says Feuerherd who assured Eyewitness News the church will go through insurance to have the statues rehabilitated if possible.

Source (CBS Philly) - click here to see the CBS video report: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/09/19/religious-statues-decapitated-outside-church-in-gloucester-county/

7 Reasons Why Pope Francis Worries Some Catholics & Why They Shouldn’t Worry

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aggie Catholics
It seems our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, rubs a number of Catholics the wrong way. He certainly isn't the first Pope to do so, but the difference is he troubles a much different group of Catholics than our previous Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI did.

Some said Benedict was a "conservative" and that he wasn't open-minded, caring, loving, or other accusations. These are not accurate descriptions and he doesn't deserve to be accused of such things. Rather, he (like Francis) is CATHOLIC. That means he doesn't fit into the neat political framework of being either liberal, conservative, progressive, traditionalist, moderate, etc.

Take these quotes from BXVI for example - most would call them "liberal":
**"It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs."
**“It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity. Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion.”
**"the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism"
**"If we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god."
So, what label should we put on Benedict? How about Catholic. Just as Benedict shouldn't be reduced to political labels, neither should Francis. It isn't fair to either of them.

Why is it that Francis gets some people upset? I think there could be several reasons and here are 7 of them.
  1. Many Catholics are stuck in a model of catechetical formation. This means they see the work of the Catholic Church is to hand over doctrines and teachings. While this is one important role, this isn't the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to make followers of Jesus. This is done by evangelization. Evangelization must be centered on relationships. Our relationship with another (through word and witness) helps someone form a relationship with Jesus. If some get the mission of the Church wrong, then they won't understand the focus Francis has on making disciples as one that is in the heart of the Church. Doctrinal formation necessarily must follow the proclamation of the Gospel. NOT the other way around.
  2. Francis is frequently speaking to those on the fringes of the Church and outside the Church - not those who are already faithfully Catholic. If he doesn't focus on what many Catholics find are the most important issues (culture war topics (e.g. abortion, sex, etc.) then he must not care about them. This is false. He has said he is a child of the Church and accepts all the Church teaches. If he doesn't focus on them, it is because he knows that he will drive more away than he will attract if he starts with those topics.

READ THE OTHER FIVE HERE: http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2013/09/7-reasons-why-pope-francis-worries-some.html

A Big Heart Open to God

The exclusive interview with Pope Francis

Thinking Faith
Pope Francis and Antonio Spadaro SJ
Pope Francis and
Antonio Spadaro SJ

Editor’s Note: This interview with Pope Francis took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome. The interview was conducted in person by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal. Father Spadaro conducted the interview on behalf of La Civiltà Cattolica, Thinking Faith, America and several other major Jesuit journals around the world. The editorial teams at each of the journals prepared questions and sent them to Father Spadaro, who then consolidated and organised them. The interview was conducted in Italian. After the Italian text was officially approved, a team of five independent experts were commissioned to produce the English translation, which is also published by America.

Father Spadaro met the pope at the Vatican in the pope’s apartments in the Casa Santa Marta, where he has chosen to live since his election. Father Spadaro begins his account of the interview with a description of the pope’s living quarters.

this article
in PDF

The setting is simple, austere. The workspace occupied by the desk is small. I am impressed not only by the simplicity of the furniture, but also by the objects in the room. There are only a few. These include an icon of St. Francis, a statue of Our Lady of Luján, patron saint of Argentina, a crucifix and a statue of St. Joseph sleeping. The spirituality of Jorge Mario Bergoglio is not made of “harmonised energies,” as he would call them, but of human faces: Christ, St. Francis, St. Joseph and Mary.

The pope speaks of his trip to Brazil. He considers it a true grace, that World Youth Day was for him a “mystery.” He says that he is not used to talking to so many people: “I can look at individual persons, one at a time, to come into contact in a personal way with the person I have before me. I am not used to the masses,” the pope remarks. He also speaks about the moment during the conclave when he began to realise that he might be elected pope. At lunch on Wednesday, March 13, he felt a deep and inexplicable inner peace and comfort come over him, he said, along with a great darkness. And those feelings accompanied him until his election later that day.

The pope had spoken earlier about his great difficulty in giving interviews. He said that he prefers to think rather than provide answers on the spot in interviews. In this interview the pope interrupted what he was saying in response to a question several times, in order to add something to an earlier response. Talking with Pope Francis is a kind of volcanic flow of ideas that are bound up with each other. Even taking notes gives me an uncomfortable feeling, as if I were trying to suppress a surging spring of dialogue.

READ THE REST HERE: http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20130919_1.htm

Mary of Nazareth: How Coordinating a Faith-Based Film Event Could Change Your Life

By - Posted on

MARY OF NAZARETH - Theatrical movie posterFor the past few weeks, you’ve heard us sharing the good news about the beautiful movie Mary of Nazareth which will be opening on October 1st around the country. The unusual thing about this movie — along with its beauty and ability to be a true tool of the New Evangelization — is the fact that all screenings are being organized and sponsored by volunteers. Ignatius Press, the film’s distributor, is actively seeking parishes and individuals who will step forward in faith to bring this lovely film to their communities. They provide all the tools you need to make your screening a great success, but it’s up to you and I to prayerfully consider how we might be a part of sharing this stunning film with our friends and loved ones.

To encourage you to consider volunteering, today I’m sharing a recent conversation I had with someone just like us — a busy, working wife and mom — who organized a similar screening of the film Restless Heart a few years ago in her home town. What Marsha discovered was not only the joy of sharing a movie with friends. Indeed through her efforts, she was able to raise over $6,000 for a crisis pregnancy center in her community! Imagine making this happen in your home town, and supporting your parish, school or organization at the same time…
I hope you enjoy this interview. For additional information, visit the Mary of Nazareth website.

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 19, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on September 19

4:00 – 6:00 – Catholic Relief Services and the Population Research Institute Come Together to Air Their Differences AND We Analyze the Pope's Lengthy Interview in America Magazine that is Capturing the World's Attention Today
Big show today as we bring together representatives from Catholic Relief Services and the Population Research Institute to discuss the controversy raised in a 100+ page report issued by PRI criticizing some of the work of CRS in Africa. We try to shed light and get to the heart of the disagreement. Also, a lengthy interview that Pope Francis granted America Magazine is sending shockwaves around the world - and great amounts of misreporting. We look at what was ACTUALLY said and what he did not say.

The Danger of Martha’s Vindication

National Catholic Register

I have noticed a troubling trend in past years when the Gospel reading about Mary and Martha’s encounter with Christ surfaces. Of course we all know the passage:
“Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
What usually happens when this passage is discussed is that the speaker or writer immediately comes to the defense of Martha. Some point out that she was a saint (which she was), and others note that she was simply seeking to serve Jesus (which she was). I can’t know the individual motivations behind this tendency, but, regardless, the softening of Martha’s error in judgment runs contrary to what the Holy Spirit is working to reveal to us here.

We know that Martha is a good and holy woman, who is doing a good thing in her desire to serve Christ. Yet Jesus’ rebuke in this passage is harsh — which should not cause us to recoil, but instead inspire us to lean in and pay close attention.

Imagine yourself in Martha’s shoes, rushing around to care for Jesus with diligence and love. Christ knew the inner workings of her heart. He knew her desires, intent and concerns. He had the opportunity to honor her efforts, but he didn’t; quite the opposite.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/dan-burke/the-danger-of-marthas-vindication#ixzz2fJ7z7oq3

"What the Pro-Life Movement Must Do In the Next 10 Years to End Abortion"

Video source: Youtube and LifeNews
Sept. 18, 2013

Giants CB Prince Amukamara: ‘Some People Call Me The Black Tim Tebow’

Nebraska Alum: 'I Am A Virgin. I'm Not Ashamed To Say That'

Giants corner Prince Amukamara kneels on the field after defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on Feb. 5, 2012 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Giants corner Prince Amukamara kneels on the field after defeating
the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on
Feb. 5, 2012 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
He was released by the Jets on April 29 and is now nothing more than an afterthought in New York.
But Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara is now being compared to Tebow, who was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31.
The comparison doesn’t have to do with their play on the field, but rather their actions off the field.
Big Blue’s first-round draft pick in 2011 told Muscle and Fitness that he never drinks alcohol, and is committed to staying celibate.
With that has come a nickname.
“Yeah, some people call me the black Tim Tebow,” the 24-year-old told the magazine. “I am a virgin. I’m not ashamed to say that.”
The Super Bowl XLVI champion is engaged, and he met his fiancee when he was out dancing at SL in the Meatpacking District – although it took some encouragement from his peers.
“(Teammates) Corey Webster and Aaron Ross made me go back,” Amukamara told Muscle and Fitness. ”They were like, ‘Go say something to her!’ And they were cheering me on. She thought we were all rowdy and drunk and she didn’t pay us any attention. Then, later, I was waiting for Ahmad (Bradshaw) and she came by and we struck up a conversation.
“I asked her for her email address because when someone asks for your number, it might be too personal and you might not want to give it. But if you ask for their email address, they’ll give it. I was right.”
Amukamara will likely imbibe for the first time in the coming months.

Prince Amukamara (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for H.H. Brown Shoe Company)
Prince Amukamara (Photo by D Dipasupil/
Getty Images for H.H. Brown Shoe Company)
“I still haven’t had a drink,” the Nebraska alum said. “I told my fiance that I’ll probably take my first drink at my bachelor party. I grew up Catholic, so it just started out as one of those things. I’d think, ‘If I do this, maybe I can get to heaven,’ so I said no drinks, no sex, all the big things.”

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 18, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on September 18

4:00 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk
Today we open the phone lines and let you set the agenda with your questions and comments. As always, we have topics we will bring up for discussion but the show only works with your input. Some topics include the complete lack of any context when reporting in “priestly sex abuse,” an Evangelical leader saying Catholics are not Christians, the continued ignorance over the Pope’s remarks on celibacy and the trend of young people knowing less and less about religion in general. Be ready to call 877-573-7825.
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