U.S. Catholics urged to renew commitment 'to defend' life during October

WASHINGTON -- During October, designated each year as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Catholic Church, Catholics should "renew their personal commitment to defend all human life, especially the most vulnerable members of the human family," said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

New Vatican doctrinal chief talks about traditionalist society, women religious discussions

VATICAN CITY -- Asked about how he would handle the most controversial cases he inherited, the new head of the Vatican's doctrinal office said, "For the future of the Church, it's important to overcome ideological conflicts from whatever side they come."

Archbishop Carlson to address LCWR assembly in St. Louis next week; sisters to discern Vatican assessment

Recent attention to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is expected to increase as almost 900 women religious will converge upon St. Louis for the organization's annual assembly Aug. 7-11 at the Millennium Hotel Downtown.

In April, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced a major reform of the LCWR, which has more than 1,500 members of U.S. congregations of women religious. They represent about 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. It currently holds a canonical status that is granted by the Vatican.

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'Fortnight' about religious freedom, not politics, archbishop says

ATLANTA -- Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said June 13 that the U.S. bishops' Fortnight for Freedom campaign has come under heavy criticism in the secular media, in the blogosphere and by some Catholics as being a partisan political effort.

But the two-week period is meant to be free of politics and will emphasize Church teaching on religious freedom, the chairman of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Freedom said in Atlanta.

Bishops discuss religious liberty, economy, 10-year review of charter

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, left, and and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta prepare to vote on an action item during the U.S. bishops' mid-year meeting in Atlanta June 13. (

ATLANTA — During the public sessions of their spring meeting in Atlanta, the U.S. bishops received a 10-year progress report on their abuse charter, voted to draft a message on work and the economy, and heard reports about religious liberty issues in the United States and abroad.

They also listened as an Iraqi bishop made an impassioned plea on behalf of Iraq's dwindling Christian population and called on the U.S. prelates to press the Obama administration to take steps to protect religious rights in the Middle Eastern country.

Haitians are key to overcoming daunting challenges, archbishop says

Haitians worked on a test garden for growing hot peppers in Chardonnieres, Haiti, in September. A local community group with help from Catholic Relief Services was engaged in a multiyear program of soil conservation, health training and agricultural improvements — all aimed at assisting farmers.

WASHINGTON -- In a nation challenged by debilitating poverty, a largely unresponsive government and the aftereffects of a devastating earthquake, Haitians themselves are their country's greatest resource for renewal and development, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami.

Addressing the closing session of the One Table, Many Partners National Solidarity Conference June 3, Archbishop Wenski said Haitians know best what they need and must play the main role in overcoming the numerous obstacles they face.

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