Tax bill passes amid concerns about future effects on poor

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke Dec. 19 after the House of Representatives passed tax reform legislation in Washington. The final bill was passed by the House and Senate Dec. 20.

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers joined President Donald Trump in cheering passage of the most significant overhaul of the federal tax system in three decades even as the chairman of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee called on the president to work with Congress to fix "unacceptable problems" in the law.

Republicans hailed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as the stimulus needed to get the economy rolling into high gear as they expected corporations to reinvest in America with the middle class benefiting from lower taxes, higher wages and greater job opportunities.

Economic solutions need broader vision, pope tells G-20 leaders

VATICAN CITY — World leaders attending the Group of 20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, must reflect on the repercussions their decisions may have on the entire global community and not just their own countries, Pope Francis stated.

While it's reasonable that the G-20 is limited to a "small number of countries that represent 90 percent of the production of wealth and services worldwide," a multilateral approach in solving economic problems must be made "for the benefit of all," the pope wrote.

Raising awareness of poor labor, trafficking practices at interfaith meeting in St. Louis

Rescue workers looked for trapped garment workers at the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh April 26. At least 1,000 people died in the April 24 collapse of a building housing factories that made low-cost garments for Western brands.

The recent collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building that housed garment factory workers in Savar, Bangladesh, has become a prime example of the need for corporations to make responsible decisions that protect lives and implement safe working conditions for all.

More than 1,000 died and approximately 2,500 additional people were injured in the April 24 collapse, one of the deadliest garment factory accidents in history. Media reports indicated that warnings had been made about cracks found in the building, but factory workers were ordered to return to work.

Drought conditions persist, affect rural areas

Hubie Kluesner stood in the pasture of his family farm in Marthasville. The farmer struggles through the winter by feeding his cattle with silage, a fermented, high-moisture fodder made of corn plants.

The farmer in a rural community in Franklin County thought things were lining up so he could get a loan to purchase additional livestock.

"The bank was willing to give him a loan until they heard it was for agriculture," said Maria Killian of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Holy Family Parish in Port Hudson. "The banks aren't doing agriculture loans. I thought, 'Are you kidding? They can't get a loan to get back on their feet.' It's really a pickle."

Faithful Citizenship | Voting with an informed conscience

Faithful Citizenship

** You may download a PDF of our print edition here **

As the Nov. 6 election approaches, Americans are weighing their choices and considering their options in preparation for casting their ballots.

But for Catholic Americans, it requires more than just a quick study of economic issues or party affiliations. As Catholics, we have an obligation to form our consciences in accordance with the teachings of the Church and vote accordingly.

How do we do that?

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Farm community: It's in the Lord's hands

No use complaining about this summer's drought, explained Bill Kaimann, a farmer in Lincoln County and member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Old Monroe.

"Whatever the Lord wants to give us," is his philosophy, shared by many others in the parish.

Kaimann, who has chosen to go without crop insurance, is "working for the Lord," he said, so his view is to just "do it all again" and see how it turns out.

The farm community around Immaculate Conception Parish has "a sense of ownership in their parish that I've never seen before," according to the parish pastor.

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