Archive for Religion

Notre Dame’s student health plan to cover abortifacients, contraceptives

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National Catholic Register:

The University of Notre Dame has approved a student health-insurance plan that features contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and other preventive services covered under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate.

The university’s decision to provide the group health plan for students comes as Notre Dame pursues its legal challenge to the HHS mandate. Critics thus expressed concern that the move could undermine the university’s legal case, especially when other options were available for circumventing compliance requirements for the mandate.

“The university need not provide student health insurance at all,” said Gerard Bradley, a constitutional scholar at Notre Dame’s law school, who outlined the options available to university administrators.

 

Bradley noted that only group health plans must comply with the mandate. Consequently, the university also had another option: It could have opted to self-insure the plan for students and avoid coverage of services that violate Catholic teaching.

Earlier this year, Notre Dame denied recognition to a group supporting traditional marriage. Throw in that and the flap over President Obama receiving an honorary degree and speaking there, along with some other moves, and Notre Dame’s Catholic character appears to be in the process of being degraded.

If nothing else, this move makes the HHS mandate suit the university is engaged in more complicated.

Canonization process for Archbishop Fulton Sheen halted

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From a statement from the Diocese of Peoria:

It is with immense sadness that the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation, announced today that the Cause for Sheen’s beatification and canonization has for the foreseeable future been suspended. The process to verify a possible miracle attributed to Sheen had been going extremely well, and only awaited a vote of the Cardinals and the approval of the Holy Father. There was every indication that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the coming year. The Holy See expected that the remains of Venerable Sheen would be moved to Peoria where official inspection would be made and first class relics be taken. Subsequently, the Archdiocese of New York denied Bishop Jenky’s request to move the body to Peoria. After further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive. Countless supporters especially from the local church in Central Illinois have given their time, treasure and talent for this good work with the clear understanding that the body of Venerable Sheen would return to the Diocese. Bishop Jenky was personally assured on several occasions by the Archdiocese of New York that the transfer of the body would take place at the appropriate time. New York’s change of mind took place as the work on behalf of the Cause had reached a significant stage.

This happened before in 2010 before the cause was eventually reopened. Sheen’s Wikipedia entry has details on the cause for canonization as well as the most recent ending of it. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the Archbishop of New York and Sheen is buried in the territory of the Archdiocese of New York.

An actor named Ramon Estevez, a Catholic, adopted the name Martin Sheen to honor Archbishop Sheen.

UPDATE

More at The Deacon’s Bench.

Comments from Pat Archbold:

This release is shocking in its directness that Archdiocese of New York (Read Cardinal Dolan) repeatedly promised to transfer the remains of Archbishop Sheen and has now reneged, causing a fatal blow to the cause.

I cannot even imagine what legitimate reason could be given for making and breaking such a promise. Terrible.

ISIS beats, tortures, kills Iraqi Christian who won’t convert

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Christian Post

A Christian man in Iraq has reportedly been beaten, tortured, and killed by terror group ISIS for refusing to renounce his faith and convert to Islam.

Ankawa.com reported on Tuesday that the 43-year-old man, Salem Matty Georgis, remained in the Syriac Christian town of Bartella after it was captured by ISIS on August 7. A relative said that the man was suffering from heart disease and could not leave the town with his family because of his illness.

Georgis hid in his home for three weeks, but eventually had to venture outside in search of food. He was then confronted by an ISIS patrol in town.

“The patrol arrests him and tried to force him to convert to Islam, but he completely refused. Thus, the militants beat him and tortured him until he died in their hands,” the relative explained.

The militants dumped Georgis’ body, which was later discovered by a Bartella resident and buried.

The article goes on to quote eyewitness accounts about children’s camps and people being forced to watch lashings, beatings, beheadings, and crucifixions.

California illegally requiring employer insurance to cover elective abortions

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AP via Newsbusters:

Health insurance companies in California may not refuse to cover the cost of abortions, state insurance officials have ruled in a reversal of policy stemming from the decision by two Catholic universities to drop elective abortions from their employee health plans.

Although the federal Affordable Care Act does not compel employers to provide workers with health insurance that includes abortion coverage, the director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care said in a letter to seven insurance companies on Friday that the state Constitution and a 1975 state law prohibits them from selling group plans that exclude the procedure. The law in question requires such plans to encompass all “medically necessary” care.

“Abortion is a basic health care service,” department director Michelle Rouillard wrote in the letter. “All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

Jesuit-run Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University notified employees last fall that they planned to stop paying for elective abortions, but said faculty and staff members could pay for supplemental coverage that would be provided through a third party. The two schools said their insurers, Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, had cleared the move with the state.

University employees who objected to the decision and abortion-rights groups lobbied the women’ caucus of the California Legislature, which in turn asked Gov. Jerry Brown to clarify and reverse the health care department’s determination.

Life Legal Defense Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Cardinal Newman Society sent a letter to state officials reminding them that this mandate is illegal under federal law (the Weldon Amendment.)

Funeral Arrangements for Cookie Harris Announced

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A lot of people in Maryland were shocked yesterday about the sudden death of Cookie Harris.

Here’s an announcement on the details of her funeral and visitation arrangements:

A funeral mass will be celebrated for Cookie Harris, wife of Congressman Andy Harris, on Monday, September 1 beginning at 11am at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Private interment to follow.  Visitation will occur Sunday, August 31 from 1pm until 8pm with a vigil beginning at 7pm at Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, Towson, MD 21204.
The family prefers in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in the memory of Cookie Harris to the Pregnancy Center North, 6805 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212 where she was a regular volunteer and board member.

More on the funeral arrangements from Ruck Funeral Home:

On August 28, 2014 Sylvia “Cookie” Harris (nee Payne) beloved wife of Andy Harris; devoted mother of Joseph, Rebecca, Irene, Jessica and Daniel; loving grandmother of Charles and Abigail; beloved daughter of Drs. Charles and Sylvia Payne; dear sister of Betsy McGinnis and Charles, Stephen, Mark and Andrew Payne; also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Friends may call at the family owned Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc. 1050 York Road (beltway exit 26) on Sunday from 1 to 8 PM where a Vigil Service will be held at 7 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Monday at 11:00 AM. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Cookie’s name may be made to the Pregnancy Center North; 6805 York Road, 2nd floor; Baltimore, MD 21212.

Report: Imminent Attack Warning? ISIS operating across US-Mexico border?

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Judicial Watch via Andrew McCarthy:

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.

Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source. “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.

McCarthy’s take:

For those of us who’ve been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration’s non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise — particularly less than two weeks before September 11. But it is nonetheless jarring to read.

Bryan Preston fills in some more background:

There have been rumors and suggestions in the past that Islamic terrorist group Hizballah is operating in the border region over the past several years. Hizballah is confirmed to have operations in South America, in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

A former deputy sheriff in the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department told me in 2012 that captured Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan, where he served in the United States Army, had confessed that they were training operatives from drug cartels in Mexico.

Body of missing American student found in Israel

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CBS News

A spokesperson for Israeli police confirmed to CBS News that they have found the body of an American seminary student who disappeared while hiking in Jerusalem last week.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the body was found in the same area where Aharon Sofer disappeared.

The 23-year-old Sofer, of Lakewood, N.J., an ultra-Orthodox student at a yeshiva,disappeared during a hike with a friend last Friday.

Rosenfeld said the police were pursuing all avenues in their investigation, including the possibility that Sofer may have fallen victim to an attack by Palestinian militants.

Kidnapping and murder have been a tool used by the Palestinian militants in recent months.

2014 Nun Run will raise money for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore

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On September 13, the Little Sisters of the Poor will hold the inaugural Nun Run, a 5K run and a 1 mile run/walk, to raise money for St. Martin’s home in Baltimore. The event takes place at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There will be refreshments, entertainment, and a gift bag for all participants. The mission of St. Martin’s is to serve the elderly poor with independent living apartments, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.

The Little Sisters live at St. Martin’s and are there 24/7. Their goal is that no one dies alone.

More on their philosophy:

  • We adhere to all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those concerning the sanctity of human life.
  • We reject all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide and protect our Residents from these practices, as well as from all forms of abuse and neglect.
  • The compassionate care and accompaniment of the dying is the summit of our ministry. At St. Martin’s it is our goal that no one die alone.

With the assistance of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Little Sisters of the Poor (the national congregation) filed suit against the federal government over the HHS Mandate. The Becket Fund has a good website on that suit as well as on the mission and values of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

I have friends running in the race as well as members of my Knights of Columbus council who are participating.

You should participate as well. If you aren’t running or walking, you can still make a donation.

More information:

Boko Haram leader says captured Nigerian town part of Caliphate

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AFP:

Boko Haram’s leader said a northeast town seized by the insurgents earlier this month has been placed under an Islamic caliphate, in a video obtained by AFP on Sunday.

“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Abubakar Shekau said in the 52-minute video.

The military however rejected the claim, saying in a statement that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact”.

In a July video, Shekau voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State (IS) militants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”.

Shekau may or may not have been referring to al-Baghdadi’s caliphate, according to the AFP story. There was a separate Nigerian caliphate in 1800s.

Georgetown prof, son of terrorist, compares Israel to ISIS

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Adam Kredo of Washington Free Beacon has the details:

A Georgetown University professor whose father pled guilty to terrorism charges is facing criticism for comparing Israel to the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) on Twitter.

Georgetown University History Professor Abdullah Al-Arian, the son of Sami Al-Arian, a controversial Israel critic who pled guilty to conspiring with a terror group, tweeted out his take on a common nursery rhyme by comparing Israel to the terror group ISIL, which recently beheaded an American journalist on film

Al-Arian quickly deleted the tweet, but not before a screenshot was taken and retweeted by the Washington Free BeaconCritics immediately deemed the tweet offensive, inaccurate, and over the line for a professor at Georgetown, which itself has come under fire for hosting a 9/11 Truther and a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party.

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Kredo got no response to request for comment from Al-Arian or from Georgetown. Al-Arian is a professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service on the Qatar campus. As Kredo notes, Qatar has been the principle source of funding for Hamas.