BRISTOL – Close to 1,000 Catholic school teachers and administrators heard a variety of speakers during the two-day 2015 Catholic Educators Faith Conference March 23 and 24 at St. Paul Catholic High School. The event is hosted each year by the Office of Catholic Schools.
NEW YORK (CNS) -- At his funeral Mass March 10 in New York's splendid St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cardinal Edward M. Egan was remembered as a churchman whose faith in Jesus Christ outshone even his considerable temporal qualities.
MILFORD – Calling the refugee crisis in Syria the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II, Soha Menassa, project manager for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Lebanon, explained how CRS is responding to the mounting needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The most serious ailment the aged face and the greatest injustice they suffer is abandonment, Pope Francis said.
HARTFORD – More than 900 people attended the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Connecticut Convention Center March 17, making Catholic education possible for many students who otherwise could not afford it, according to organizers of the event.
NEW HAVEN – Legislative proposals to allow doctors to prescribe fatal prescriptions to people diagnosed with a terminal illness are not seen as a good option by Connecticut adults, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.
ROME (CNS) -- Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked President Barack Obama to exempt religious institutions from fines related to health insurance requirements while legal challenges work their way through the courts.
"The administration's flexibility in implementing the (Affordable Care Act) has not yet reached those who want only to exercise what has rightly been called our 'first freedom' under the Constitution," wrote Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky.
In a Dec. 31 letter, he asked Obama to extend the same kind of temporary exemption from penalties for noncompliance with the ACA that the administration has allowed for small employers and individuals whose current insurance plans will be canceled.
The letter described those allowances as "actions to advance the ACA's goal of maximizing health coverage, while minimizing hardships to Americans as the act is implemented."
Archbishop Kurtz said a whole category of Americans "has been left out in the cold: those who, due to moral and religious conviction, cannot in good conscience comply with the (Health and Human Services) regulation requiring coverage of sterilization and contraceptives.
"This mandate includes drugs and devices that can interfere with the survival of a human being in the earliest stage of development, burdening religious convictions on abortion as well as contraception," the letter said. It noted that at least 90 lawsuits representing almost 300 plaintiffs have been filed to challenge the mandate. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two of the cases, and several lower courts have found merit in the claims and granted at least temporary relief to the institutions and businesses. Other courts have yet to take up the cases. Still others have ruled the employers must comply.
Archbishop Kurtz asked the president to consider that, under other actions by the administration, no employers will be required to offer a health plan at all, and that employers face no penalty in the coming year for canceling coverage.
However, he added, "an employer who chooses, out of charity and good will, to provide and fully subsidize an excellent health plan for employees -- but excludes sterilization or any contraceptive drug or device -- faces crippling fines of up to $100 a day or $36,500 a year per employee. In effect, the government seems to be telling employees that they are better off with no employer health plan at all than with a plan that does not cover contraceptives. This is hard to reconcile with an act whose purpose is to bring us closer to universal coverage."
The letter said the result is "a regulation that harshly and disproportionately penalizes those seeking to offer life-affirming health coverage in accord with the teachings of their faith."
The archbishop added that he realizes the legal issues will ultimately be settled by the Supreme Court.
"In the meantime, however, many religious employers have not obtained the temporary relief they need in time to avoid being subjected to the HHS mandate beginning Jan. 1," he wrote. "I urge you, therefore, to consider offering temporary relief from this mandate, as you have for so many other individuals and groups facing other requirements under the ACA."