Bishops' agenda to be more devoted to internal matters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore will be shorter than usual and focus primarily on the inner workings of the Church than on larger societal issues.

The Nov. 14-16 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, originally scheduled to last until Nov. 17, will include a discussion on religious liberty that could touch on a wide range of topics. But the main business of the gathering will be on liturgical, financial and organizational matters.

Feds deny Bishops' agency grant for trafficking victims

WASHINGTON  -- Since 2006, the U.S. Catholic bishops' Migration and Refugee Services has helped more than 2,700 victims of human trafficking obtain food, clothing and access to medical care.

That service came to an abrupt halt when the agency recently learned that it would no longer receive a federal grant for this work from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement.

MRS officials had no immediate comment on the contract's discontinuation.

Priests urged to preach about effects of poverty, job loss on families

WASHINGTON -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging priests across the country to preach about "the terrible toll the current economic turmoil is taking on families and communities."

In a letter to his fellow bishops, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York said he was writing at the recommendation of the Administrative Committee, which directs the work of the USCCB between general assemblies.

The committee "wanted something more than a public statement," he said in the letter, dated Sept. 15 and made public Sept. 19.

U.S. bishops aim to mobilize Catholics to guard consciences on contraception

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops are working to mobilize Catholics across the country to tell the Obama administration that contraception and sterilization do not constitute preventive care for women and must not be mandated as part of health reform.

Contraceptive mandate exemption too narrow, Cardinal DiNardo says

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services' proposed "religious exemption" to the requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization for women is "so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and health care providers," according to the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Bishops urged to fight war of words to defend traditional marriage 

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., urged his fellow bishops June 15 to fight back in the war of words over efforts to redefine traditional marriage.

The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage said organizations advocating the legal redefinition of marriage have been using words like "human rights" and "hate" in discussions of same-sex marriage.

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