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Washington D.C., Aug 24, 2016 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Obama administration guidance that would require schools to comply with transgender bathroom policies or lose federal funding.“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students, and this order certainly helps them in fulfilling that duty,” said Matt Sharp, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.“The Obama administration cannot unilaterally disregard and redefine federal law to accomplish its political agenda of forcing girls to share locker rooms and showers with boys.”The religious freedom legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is litigating several cases involving the federal order in Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio.Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Aug. 21 issued a preliminary injunction on the Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX, a fed...
Vatican City, Aug 24, 2016 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Instead of giving the usual catechesis during his Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis decided to postpone the speech, leading pilgrims in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary for the victims of an earthquake that rocked central Italy earlier that morning.“On hearing the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy and which has devastated many areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted,” the Pope said Aug. 24.He offered his condolences to all who have lost loved ones, and his expressed his spiritual closeness to those who are “anxious and afraid.”At least 21 people have been killed and countless buried under rubble after an earthquake hit central Italy early Wednesday morning.The original 6.2-magnitude quake hit the town of Norcia, about 65 miles northeast of Rome, at 3:36a.m. with sev...
Marquette, Mich., Aug 24, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Marquette in Michigan says it is already experiencing success in their process of adopting a Catholic liberal arts curriculum for all its schools, rather than using Common Core State Standards.The schools in the diocese previously had no set curriculum. The adoption of a classical curriculum comes at a time when two bills that would repeal and replace the Common Core State Standards are being considered in Michigan’s state legislature.In June, Marquette Bishop John Doerfler said in a statement that after serious consideration, the diocesan schools would not be adopting Common Core State Standards “which were developed for the public school system.”“That said, we acknowledge that there is a base of adequate secular material in the Common Core State Standards that faith-based schools could reference as part of their educational programming,” he said.“While we respectfully und...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday urged moral theologians to “break the bread of mercy” when teaching “this important discipline.”The Holy Father was speaking during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.Among those present were participants at a Congress celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Italian Theological Association for the Study of Morality.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday during his general audience greeted the participants the General Assembly of the World Conference of Secular Institutes.A Secular Institutes is an “institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within.” [CIC 710]The General Assembly of the World Conference of Secular Institutes takes place every four years, and brings together the Presidents General of the member secular institutes, as well as the Presidents of national and international conferences of secular institutes.Pope Francis said he “wishes this Jubilee of Mercy…is a time of grace and spiritual renewal.”
(Vatican Radio) Emergency services are on the scene following an earthquake which struck central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday morning. They arrived with earth-moving equipment and sniffer dogs in order to locate people trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.The quake measured 6.2 on the Richter scale.Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.Dr Roger Musson is a seismologist at the British Geological Survey. He spoke to Lydia O’Kane about quake and it’s impact.Listen:  “It’s not a great earthquake in world terms”, said Dr Musson but the impact of an earthquake is not just a function of the magnitude, it’s a function of where it occurs and also the depth and this earthquake has occurred in a populated area of Italy; it occurred at a very shallow depth… and that means that a lot of people are exposed to strong shaking so the consequences can be quite severe.&rdqu...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday made a special greeting during his General Audience to the members of the International Paralympic Committee and the athletes who are preparing to participate in the next Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will take place from 7-18 September.The Holy Father blessed the Paralympic Flag when he was in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in 2013, taking the opportunity to speak about the bonds between evangelisation and the world of sport.The Vatican is participating in the "Casa Italia Paralimpica in Rio 2016,” which is a meeting place for the Italian delegation at the Paralympic Games.The Casa Italia is a long-term project – which will involve the collaboration of the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro – to offer practical support to a series of project initiatives, especially involving parasport activities.
(Vatican Radio) In the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday, Pope Francis at the General Audience postponed his prepared catechesis, and led the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square in the recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary.The Holy Father expressed his “heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness” to all those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. He said he was deeply saddened upon learning several children were among the dead, and of hearing of the total destruction of the town of Amatrice.“I want to assure all the people of Accumuli, Amatrice, the Diocese of Rieti, Ascoli Piceno, and all the people of Lazio, Umbria, and Le Marche, of the prayers and close solidarity of the entire Church, who in these moments extends her merciful love, as well as the concern of all of us here in the Piazza, Pope Francis said.He asked everyone to join him in prayer to Jesus, that the Lord might “c...
(Vatican Radio)  As the death toll from an earthquake in central Italy continues to rise, Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole of Ascoli Piceno traveled the short 40 km to Pescara del Tronto to be with the hundreds of people affected by the quake.Bishop D'Ercole spoke to Vatican Radio early Wednesday morning, saying the scene was 'distressing'."When I arrived at the break of day, I saw a destroyed village, screams, death... We are truly in a desperate situation and unfortunately this is not the only area affected, because others are also in this situation".He said there were still many areas unreached by rescue personnel."There are several people who are not responding [to telephone calls], and I went to bless the bodies of two children buried under the rubble.""A certain part of the diocese is suffering. I think, however..., that the area worst hit is the part near Rieti, that is, between Amatrice, Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto, Arq...
(Vatican Radio)  Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has insisted he will fire senior public sector workers in five key ministries who voted against him in a build up to an attempted referendum trying to remove him.  Listen to James Blears' report: According to ruling Socialist Party spokesman Jorge Rodriguez: "People who are against President Nicolas Maduro`s Revolution, cannot be in management positions in Ministries, Public Institutions, State or Local Government."Those five key ministries, which are due for the firings are: Food, Finance, Works, Basic Business, and the Presidential Office.  Their offense, punishable by being for the high jump, was voting against President Maduro in round one of a signature collection, which the opposition aims to lead up to a Referendum, to remove President Maduro from power.Hundreds of less highly placed opponents who were workers in the public sector say they've already been fired.Electoral official...
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