Archive for Religion

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.

Mass in Baltimore Friday will honor St. Padre Pio

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On Friday August 22, 2014, there will be a Holy Mass in honor of Saint Padre Pio at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. The guest celebrant will be Fr. Dominic Bump, OP.

Holy Rosary will be prayed at 6:30 p.m. and Mass will start at 6:45 in Our Lady’s Chapel at the Cathedral. After Mass, a relic of St. Padre Pio will be venerated.

Padre Pio was born in 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. His birth name was Francesco Forgione. He was given the name Pio (Pius) when he became a Capuchin.  Padre Pio died in 1968. He was beatified in 1999 and Pope JohnPaul II canonized him in 2002.

Padre Pio was most known for occurrences of the stigmata he experienced:

On 20 September 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity.

In 2002, there were reports of a statue of St. Pio shedding tears of blood in Messina, Italy.

Saint Padre Pio is the patron saint of civil defense volunteers.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Dear God, You generously blessed Your servant,
St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
with the gifts of the Spirit.
You marked his body with the five wounds
of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness
to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son.
Endowed with the gift of discernment,
St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional
for the salvation of souls.
With reverence and intense devotion
in the celebration of Mass,
he invited countless men and women
to a greater union with Jesus Christ
in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
I confidently beseech You to grant me
the grace of (here state your petition).

Glory be to the Father… (three times). Amen.

 

 

ABC News shocked to discover the Pope is Catholic

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Johee Choo of ABC News, reporting from South Korea:

During his trip in South Korea today, Pope Francis stopped to pray at a monument for aborted children, a rare gesture as he has been known to avoid such culturally sensitive issues.

Just because Johee Choo was either not paying attention (or is just going with what the media narrative is regarding Pope Francis) doesn’t mean he has ignored “culturally sensitive issues” since he became Pope.

Some (not even close to all) previous statements on abortion made by Pope Francis after he became Pope (there are plenty of others made when he was still a Cardinal) are below. A longer, but still incomplete, list is also online.

June 16, 2013:

All too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the ‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others.

…As a result, the living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.

July 17, 2013

Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live for ever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.

July 28, 2013:

All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.

August 6, 2013:

Human life must always be defended from its beginning in the womb and must be recognised as a gift of God that guarantees the future of humanity.

September 20, 2013:

Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!

Additionally, there are plenty of other statements by the pontiff on other “sensitive” subjects, including same-sex “marriage” since he took office and while he was still Cardinal.

American Catholics say a special prayer for peace in Iraq in Mass today

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A statement from the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops from August 7:

The chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, made the request, August 6, sending the bishops the text of a prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako. Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries.

Patriarch Sako’s prayer:

Lord, The plight of our country is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening. Therefore, we ask you Lord to spare our lives, and to grant us patience, and courage to continue our witness of Christian values with trust and hope. Lord, peace is the foundation of life; Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other without fear and anxiety, and with dignity and joy. Glory be to you forever.