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Pope: Defend the Rohingya, who are ‘images of the living God’

Pope Francis greeted a young Rohingya refugee from Myanmar at a Dec. 1 interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace in the garden of the archbishop’s residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Each human being is created in the image and likeness of God, yet so often people desecrate that image with violence, as seen in the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya, Pope Francis said.

"Today, the presence of God is also called 'Rohingya,'" the pope said Dec. 1 after meeting, clasping hands with and listening intently to 16 Rohingya who have found shelter in Bangladesh.

"They, too, are images of the living God," Pope Francis told a gathering of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders gathered in Dhaka for an interreligious meeting for peace.

Tax bill called ‘unacceptable,’ some provisions ‘unconscionable’

WASHINGTON — The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 "is unacceptable" as currently written and it "contains many fundamental structural flaws that must be corrected," stated the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a letter Nov. 9 to U.S. House members, the three bishops called for amendments to the current draft of the tax reform bill "for the sake of families" and "for those struggling on the peripheries of society who have a claim on our national conscience."

U.S. bishops take on immigration, racism at fall assembly

Bishops exchanged the sign of peace during Mass Nov. 12 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore on the eve of the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

BALTIMORE — At the start of their annual fall assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13, U.S. Catholic bishops faced some big issues — immigration and racism — straight on and zeroed in on how to raise the national level of discussion on these topics starting in the church pews.

They acknowledged the current polarization in the country and divides within the Catholic Church and stressed their responsibility as Church leaders to promote immigration reform, educate parishioners on justice issues and listen to those affected by "sins of racism."

Keeping the holiday holy

With perhaps the exception of Christmas, it seems no holiday has as much tradition as Thanksgiving. It's clear, however, that those traditions vary widely from house to house.

One family may have unique ethnic foods at their meal while another has an afternoon game of touch football. One family may start a 5K run. Some families center the celebration around food and football, while others draw out conversations in the dining room. Some parishes offer free community meals, with parishioners volunteering to serve the food first before going to their own homes to celebrate.

Pope urges Christians to think about what they say in the Our Father

VATICAN CITY — To pray the Lord's Prayer and believe what one is reciting takes real courage, Pope Francis said.

One must be bold "to truly believe that God is the father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask," Pope Francis said in a filmed conversation about the Our Father.

The Italian bishops' television station, TV2000, was to begin airing a nine-part series Oct. 25 featuring Pope Francis' conversation with Father Marco Pozza, an Italian prison chaplain and theologian. A long trailer for the program was released Oct. 18.

Health care law: uncertain outcome after multiple diagnoses

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act — on the examination table since President Donald Trump came into office — has been poked, prodded and even pronounced dead while the fight to keep it alive keeps going.

President Trump told Cabinet members Oct. 16: "Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. ... There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore," but that isn't how health-care reformers, including Catholic leaders, see it, and it isn't the general public's view either, according to a recent poll.

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