Nation and World News

Catholic aid groups hope latest Israeli-Hamas cease-fire holds

Palestinians celebratde a cease-fire in Gaza City Aug. 26. Catholic aid officials say they hope the Egyptian-brokered Israeli-Hamas cease-fire proposal will hold.

JERUSALEM -- Catholic aid organizations are hopeful that the most recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will hold, as they begin to assess the needs in Gaza after 50 days of war.

"This is a window of opportunity," said Sami El-Yousef, Catholic Near East Welfare Association's regional director for Israel and the Palestinian territories. "(We hope) the unity government will take the lead. A lot of people here think the stage is set (for) a meaningful resumption of negotiations. Now it is up to leaders on both sides to make it happen, to move beyond (the same political hurdles.)

Groups lash out at new opt-out rules for HHS mandate

WASHINGTON -- Pro-life groups that have battled with the federal government since the first rules were issued on contraceptive coverage in 2012 derided the government's latest rules allowing religious institutions -- and potentially some for-profit companies -- to opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

"Once again HHS (the federal Department of Health and Human Services) continues to violate the conscience rights of Americans while claiming just the opposite," said an Aug. 22 statement from Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

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Judge OKs ban on doctors prescribing abortion drugs via video system

Pope consoles family of slain U.S. journalist James Foley

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis phoned the bereaved family of a U.S. journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Syria.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope phoned relatives of the late James Foley on Aug. 21 to console them for their loss and assure them of his prayers.

The call to the Foley family in Rochester, New Hampshire, came at in the afternoon New Hampshire time. Father Lombardi released no additional details.

Faith, prayer sources of strength for slain U.S. journalist, his family

American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in November 2012 in Idlib, Syria, is pictured in an undated photo. Foley, a freelance war correspondent from New Hampshire and a Marquette University alum, was killed at the hands of the Islamic State militant group.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — In April 2013, the parents of slain U.S. journalist James Foley attended a prayer vigil at Marquette University in Milwaukee to pray for their son, who at that time had disappeared in Syria.

Before Diane and John Foley had confirmation that spring that their son was missing, Diane said she just felt it -- he had missed one of his usual phone calls home -- and once they knew for sure, the couple said they were relying on their Catholic faith to cope and leaning on prayer to bring him home.

LCWR leaders hope Vatican will resolve issues, honor group's integrity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Members of the national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said their "deepest hope" is to resolve the issues between them and the Vatican doctrinal congregation in a way that honors LCWR's mission and integrity.

The board issued the statement after the close of LCWR's annual assembly Aug. 12-15 in Nashville.

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