Nation and World News

Justice Department issues memo on religious liberty to federal agencies

A man posed with a child Sept. 26 in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. On Oct. 6, the U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance to all administrative agencies and executive departments regarding stating “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law … religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity.”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance Oct. 6 to all administrative agencies and executive departments regarding religious liberty protections in federal law.

"To the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law ... religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming," the Justice Department stated in the 26-page memo to federal agencies.

Justice Department issues memo on religious liberty to federal agencies

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance Oct. 6 to all administrative agencies and executive departments regarding religious liberty protections in federal law.

"To the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law ... religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming," the Justice Department stated in the 26-page memo to federal agencies.

Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration Oct. 6 issued interim rules expanding the exemption to the contraceptive mandate for religious employers, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, who object on moral grounds to covering contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their employee health insurance.

Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the action as "a return to common sense, long-standing federal practice and peaceful coexistence between church and state."

A week after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico begs for help

Displaced people filled containers with water Sept. 26 in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Much of Puerto Rico remains without communication and electricity and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

WASHINGTON — More than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, much of the island remained without communication and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

News programs tell of long lines of travelers, who have little food or water, and are desperate to get off the island at the San Juan airport to no avail.

But the scene of destruction outside the airport is even more stark: An island whose dense tropical landscape, along with its infrastructure, towns and cities, has been greatly stripped by winds that reached 155 mph.

100 years after Russian revolution, Christianity faces new challenges

A Russian Orthodox woman prayed while gazing at an icon in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg May 29. Orthodox Christianity has been on the rise in Russia since the fall of communism in 1991.

MOSCOW — A few blocks from Moscow's Lubyanka Building, which for decades served as the headquarters of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency, the Russian Orthodox patriarch recently consecrated a church memorializing those martyred during communism's reign.

"While we were in procession around the church, people were standing with portraits of those martyred and those condemned to death" by the communist regime, said Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who heads the church's department for external affairs.

Pope’s communications day theme: Truth in age of ‘fake news’

Pope Francis gestured as he talked Oct. 1 on a pastoral visit in Cesena, Italy. In his message for World Communications Day in May 2018, the pope will highlight the importance of truth.

VATICAN CITY — Given the strong divisions sparked and fueled by "fake news," Pope Francis is highlighting the importance of truth in his message for World Communications Day.

The message will call for studying the causes and consequences of baseless information and will promote "professional journalism," which always seeks the truth and therefore peace and understanding in the world, the Vatican Secretariat for Communication said, announcing the theme.

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