Faith’s Big Picture

Huffington Post

The First Amendment is so important, separating church and state, so that church can have complete liberty to profess its moral teachings unambiguously while the state enacts law and policy according to the will of the citizens. Exact alignment of those interests is almost always impossible, but people of good will can work together to close the gap. In a healthy, functional free society, neither side can cut the other out of the picture. God and Caesar have to figure out how to work together for the good of all of the people we serve. Continue reading Faith’s Big Picture

Japan: Bishops offer Mass ahead of earthquake anniversary

Independent Catholic News Source: UCAN/Japan Bishops Conference

A special Mass was held at Sekiguchi Cathedral in Tokyo yesterday ahead of next month’s first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster. The Mass, celebrated by 17 bishops and attended by around 400 people, was dedicated to the memory of the disaster victims and prayers for recovery. Continue reading Japan: Bishops offer Mass ahead of earthquake anniversary

Freedom of and From Religion

Common Dreams

by Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free. Continue reading Freedom of and From Religion

NGOs Urge Open Selection Process for Next World Bank Chief

By Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Feb 15, 2012 (IPS) – A global coalition of development activists and non- governmental organisations (NGOs) is calling on the World Bank’s governors to ensure that Bank President Robert Zoellick’s successor is chosen in an “open and merit-based process” that will give borrowing countries a major say in the selection. Continue reading NGOs Urge Open Selection Process for Next World Bank Chief

Call for International Day of solidarity with Congo

Sent by Barbara Karl, SND

Please find included here a brief translated message from the African Provincial of the Carmelites (Vedruna) inviting international solidarity for the 16th of February, a day when the Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is calling people of faith to go to the streets as a call to justice and peace. This call comes (in part) as a response to the murder of Sister Liliane Mapalayi a Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary (see below) as well as the recent violence during the national elections. Continue reading Call for International Day of solidarity with Congo

Rape at the border: how immigration officials are abusing women in Zimbabwe

New Internationalist

By  Mgcini Nyoni

As we were growing up, we used to hear a story about Nigerian immigration that best illustrated corruption in Africa: it was said when travelling into Nigeria, you had to pay a bribe to the immigration officials even if all your papers were in order. If you neglected to pay the mandatory bribe, the official would return your passport to you and say a page was missing from your passport Continue reading Rape at the border: how immigration officials are abusing women in Zimbabwe

Congolese cardinal to preach Pope Benedict’s Lenten retreat

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo has been chosen to preach Pope Benedict XVI’s yearly Lenten retreat on the theme, “Communion of the Christian with God.” The cardinal, who is archbishop of Kinshasa, is the second African cardinal that Pope Benedict has chosen to preach the weeklong retreat. Cardinal Francis Arinze, retired head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, preached in 2009. The retreat — for the pope and members of the Roman Curia — will run Feb. 26-March 3 in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel inside the Apostolic Palace. During this time, all Vatican events are suspended and the pope makes no public appearances. The retreat begins each day at 9 a.m., with the celebration of lauds and ends around 6:30 p.m., with vespers and eucharistic adoration. Cardinal Monsengwo will give three meditations each day.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 10, 2012
FACT SHEET: Women’s Preventive Services and Religious Institutions

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will cover women’s preventive services, including contraception, without charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August, 2012.  This new law will save money for millions of Americans and ensure Americans nationwide get the high-quality care they need to stay healthy.  Today, President Obama will announce that his Administration will implement a policy that accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women. Today, nearly 99 percent of all women have used contraception at some point in their lives, but more than half of all women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford it. Continue reading The White House

Obama compromise on contraceptive mandate gets mixed reviews

By Nancy Frazier O’Brien

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In an move that appears unlikely to end the controversy over a federal mandate that all health insurance plans include contraception and sterilization free of charge, President Barack Obama outlined a plan that would allow religious employers not to offer such services to their employees but would compel insurance companies to do so.  The president announced the policy in a brief statement Feb. 10 but took no questions. Continue reading Obama compromise on contraceptive mandate gets mixed reviews

S Africa’s ANC denies appeal of youth leader

AlJazeera

Disciplinary committee upholds suspension of Julius Malema, fiery leader convicted of causing rifts within ruling party.

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has upheld the membership suspension of one of its prominent youth leaders convicted of causing rifts within the bloc.  A panel rejected an appeal on Saturday by Julius Malema, who was found guilty by the disciplinary committee in November and was seeking to overturn the five-year suspension, but it said he could seek a lighter sentence.  The committee will hear testimony for the mitigation of its sentence in two weeks.  Continue reading S Africa’s ANC denies appeal of youth leader