Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is pictured at an organ at the institute in Rome Dec. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)   VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- 'Tis t...

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Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Written by Jack Sheedy
Left, people gather to watch firefighters attack the blaze as it rages near the towers of the cathedral. The roof eventually collapsed after being completely involved in flames. At right, firefighters...

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Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Written by Mary Chalupsky
German Nativity scene by Egon Wolfsgruber is placed inside a barrel with polychrome wood figurines. (Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Museum)  NEW HAVEN – With its ancestral heritage, c...

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Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday, Pope Francis added world famous director Martin Scorsese to the list of Hollywood stars he has welcomed for a private meeting in the Vatican, following a...

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Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
John Slattery and Nathan Lane in “The Front Page” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)NEW YORK – Because of Nathan Lane’s presence in the cast,  the revival of “The Front Page” has attracted attention an...

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Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Written by Mary Chalupsky
Nicholas Renouf, director of music at St. Mary Church in New Haven or four decades, accompanies the Schola Cantorum during a noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary recently. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) NEW HAVEN...

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Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Written by Administrator
Campaign photo for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which will take place Dec. 10-11 in most parishes. (Photo by Jim Judkis) WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious ...

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Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I wish all of you a holy Advent and a Christmas...

LOCAL

HARTFORD – Reverend Ivan Dario Ramirez and Reverend Israel Rivera have been incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hartford by Archbishop...

WORLD

Women religious gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, the day the high court heard oral arguments...

ARTS

Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "The Birth of a Nation." (CNS photo/Fox) NEW...

FROM OUR READERS

ENFIELD – John Berube, president of the parish council of St. Bernard Parish, thanks Father John P. Melnick, pastor, for...

YOUTH

BRANFORD – More than 300 people attended the 10th annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast, held at the WoodWinds this year...

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) – Virginia became the seventh state to bar abortion coverage from being offered by private insurance companies through the new state-run health insurance exchanges that were mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health-reform law passed last year by Congress.

While the state's House of Delegates voted 61-36 for the ban, a deadlocked 20-20 Senate vote required a tiebreaking vote to be cast by Virginia's lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, April 6.

The vote on abortion coverage was an amendment to the original bill that creates the exchanges. It had been passed by state lawmakers earlier in the year during its regular session, but Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and a Catholic, exercised his right under Virginia law to offer amendments to bills once passed during the regular session.

The language in Gov. McDonnell's amendment prohibits abortion on demand but permits abortion in the cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is endangered.

The other states to have banned abortion coverage on state health insurance exchanges are Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The states were taking advantage of a clause in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which holds that "a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such a prohibition."

Another three states restrict abortion coverage in health insurance policies regardless of whether those insurers participate in statewide exchanges, according to Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the state's two Catholic dioceses.

"People should not be forced to pay for other people's abortions. This amendment goes a long way toward upholding that principle," Mr. Caruso told Catholic News Service in an April 8 telephone interview from Richmond.

The April 6 vote came during a one-day reconvening session of the state's General Assembly to consider amendments proposed by the governor.

Also passed during the reconvening session was a McDonnell amendment to the budget bill that provides funding for abstinence education. It, too, met a 20-20 deadlock in the state Senate, requiring a tiebreaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bolling, who voted in favor of the amendment.

"This shows how critically important grass-roots networks are," Mr. Caruso said. An April 7 "victory alert" email from the Virginia Catholic Conference to its supporters gave credit to the Family Foundation, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists and Americans United for Life for their role in galvanizing opinion in favor of the two amendments.

Mr. Caruso ranked the two votes as among the biggest wins the state Catholic conference had during the Virginia legislative session, which ended for the year April 6. He said an important win during the regular session was passage of a bill to create new regulations on abortion clinics. It requires the state Board of Health to regulate abortion clinics as hospitals rather than as physicians' offices.

"That's going to have a significant impact," he predicted, adding that like the two measures handled in the reconvening session, the clinic bill also faced a 20-20 vote in the Senate and passed with a tiebreaking vote by Lt. Gov. Bolling.

"It was the identical 20-20 vote in all three cases," Mr. Caruso said.