Nation and World News

Students from De Smet draw inspiration from the people they serve in Puerto Rico

Joseph Baxendale of De Smet Jesuit High School cleaned water remaining in a home in Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico, on a service trip to the island territory devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria more than two months ago.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, eight students and two faculty from De Smet Jesuit High School arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a one-week service trip looking like "a great American gang walking in and everyone knew that we meant business," as senior Hunter Schoenig described it.

Pope expresses satisfaction with meetings on Rohingya crisis

Pope Francis answered questions from journalists aboard his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome Dec. 2

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BANGLADESH -- Well aware he was disappointing some people by not using the word "Rohingya" publicly in Myanmar, Pope Francis said his chief concern had been to get a point across, and he did."If I would have used the word, the door would have closed," he told reporters Dec. 2 on his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome.

He spent almost an hour answering reporters' questions after his six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, but insisted that most of the questions be about the trip.

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USCCB names assistant general secretary for human development

Strong net neutrality protections called critical to faith community

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Communications has urged the Trump administration to keep current net neutrality rules in place because an open internet, he said, is critical to the nation's faith communities and how they interact with their members.

"Without open internet principles which prohibit paid prioritization, we might be forced to pay fees to ensure that our high-bandwidth content receives fair treatment on the internet," stated Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington, Vt.

Pope urges bishops to exercise authority as judges in annulments

VATICAN CITY — A diocesan bishop is the sole judge in the streamlined process for handling marriage annulments, Pope Francis said.

The simplified process "is not an option that the diocesan bishop can choose, but rather an obligation that derives from his consecration and from the mission received," making the bishop the sole and exclusive authority in charge throughout the three phases of the briefer process, the pope said.

Several states sue to block exeption rule to HHS contraceptive mandate

WASHINGTON — The Little Sisters of the Poor, who have always been known for their care for the elderly poor, have been in the spotlight for the past six years with their objection to the federal government's requirement that they provide insurance coverage of contraceptives for their employees.

They hoped the issue was behind them after a new rule was issued in October by the Department of Health and Human Services granting an exemption to the contraceptive mandate for religious nonprofits who oppose the mandate on religious grounds.

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