Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Court's pass on same-sex marriage rulings leaves plenty of questions

WASHINGTON -- When the Supreme Court declined to review the appeals on rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional, many people were left second-guessing why this happened and what it means for the future of same-sex marriages and bans on such marriages. The high court's action -- or more accurately, inaction -- gave the immediate go-ahead for same-sex marriages to take place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, where the lower courts' rulings against bans on such marriages will stand. It also cleared a path for same-sex marriages in six other states within the jurisdictions of these federal circuit courts. Although the implications of the high court's move on the first day of its new session were fairly far-reaching, opponents of same-sex marriage and its supporters -- for different reasons -- were not satisfied.

Report takes deeper look at statistics about women's religious orders

WASHINGTON -- A longtime trend of declining numbers of women in religious orders is unpacked a bit in a new study by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. In the report released Oct. 13, the social science researchers of CARA observed that the demographical story of women religious in the United States takes some disentangling. Although past studies have talked about the rapid decline in the number of nuns in the country starting after the Second Vatican Council, "such studies did not provide the more nuanced narrative of what decline meant for the individual religious institute," the report said. "How, for example, did religious institutes respond to declining membership?" From a peak in 1965 of 181,000, the number of women religious in the U.S. has steadily declined to the current 50,000. CARA found that as their numbers declined, some religious orders reorganized their internal structures, while others merged with other religious institutes. Some have been bolstered by sisters from other countries or women who joined a religious order later in life. Others simply stopped serving in the United States.

Priest: Daily recitation of Rosary 'key to world peace'

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone carried the exposed Eucharist in a monstrance through the streets of San Francisco, as more than a thousand Catholics processed in a public display of faith from St. Mary's Cathedral to United Nations Plaza for the 4th annual Rosary rally Oct. 11. "Pope Francis prays three Rosaries a day," said keynote speaker Father Andrew Apostoli, co-founder with Father Benedict Groeschel in 1988 of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, urging the about 2,000 people gathered in the Indian summer sun at the noon rally to pray the Rosary daily. "The key to world peace is to be praying the Rosary," said Father Apostoli, an expert on the Marian apparitions seen by the three children at Fatima, Portugal, in 1916.

Nurse with Ebola supported by prayers from her parish

DALLAS -- At an Oct. 13 Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Texas, the pastor, Father Jim Khoi asked for prayers for Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse who grew up in the parish and is now in the news as the first person known to have contracted the Ebola virus in the United States. "She's very comfortable. She's very supported now. She knows that everybody knew to pray for her, especially in this difficult time," the priest told The Dallas Morning News daily paper. Pham was involved in the care of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan who died Oct. 8.

WORLD

Captors release Franciscan priest kidnapped in Syria

ROME -- Captors released a Franciscan priest who was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey, said the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Franciscan Father Hanna Jallouf was being held under house arrest in a convent in Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, according to a statement Oct. 9 from the Franciscan organization. It gave no details. There was no immediate word on the others who were abducted the night and early morning of Oct. 5-6.

Pope: Avoiding temptation requires vigilance

VATICAN CITY -- Just as you protect your home from thieves, you need to protect your heart from the temptations of the devil, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. Preaching Oct. 10 at Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said Christians need to guard and protect their hearts, "just as you protect your home -- with a lock... How often do bad thoughts, bad intentions, jealousy, envy enter? Who opened the door? How did those things get in?" If one does not safeguard his or her heart, the pope said, it becomes a public square "where the Lord cannot speak or even listen."

Eradicating extreme poverty chief concern for Vatican, says U.N. nuncio

UNITED NATIONS -- Significant progress has been made to reduce global poverty, child mortality and maternal deaths in keeping with the U.N.-coordinated Millennium Development Goals but "more remains to be done," said the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations. "It can only be done if we all work together," added Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent representative at the U.N. in New York. He made the comments in an Oct. 8 address during general debate at a session of the U.N. Economic and Financial Committee. The target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals is 2015. Set in 2000, the eight goals address issues such as hunger, education, inequality, child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS and the environment. They were accepted by 189 member nations and reconfirmed by 45 nations in a 2007 call to action.

-- Catholic News Service

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