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Washington D.C., Feb 3, 2016 / 03:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A current proposal by a federal agency has raised concerns that doctors may be punished for believing that there are only two genders, rooted in biological sex.The proposed rule, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says that it is aimed at banning discrimination against transgender individuals under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act cites decades-old federal laws that prohibit any individual from being denied benefits or discriminated against in any health program or federally funded activity on the basis of race, color, nationality, sex, disability and age. However, the Office of Civil Rights is now interpreting “sex” to include “gender identity” and “sex stereotypes.”The consequences of this change could be wide-reaching. The proposed regulation defines “sex stereotypes,” in part...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday met with a group of soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers from Paraguay and Argentina. The group was attending the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.UN peacekeepers are identified by their blue helmets or berets, and  to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. UN Peacekeepers from Latin America have been serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Haiti, and other countries.During their meeting with Pope Francis, they offered him a maté which is popular in both Paraguay and the Pope’s native Argentina.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis responded to a group of children who touched on various topics such as the need to bring peace to Mexico, the significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the plight of immigrants.In response, the Pope said he is not coming to Mexico to bring ideas, or solutions, but as a “pilgrim,” carrying with him the “richness of the faith,”  and in turn receiving with an “open heart” what they have to offer himThe Pope noted the unique traits of the Mexican people, which stem from a history marked by suffering, success, failures, and searching.He explained how the wealth of the Mexican people is that they are not orphans, but are children of Our Lady of Guadalupe.Pope Francis recounted his encounters with Our Lady of Guadalupe during past trips to Mexico, and also touched on the need to promote peace and dialogue amid violence and corruption.Finally, the Pope spoke of faith which comes from encountering Jesus, and the need to...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis briefly greeted actor Joseph Fiennes during his general audience on Wednesday.The Shakespeare in Love star was at the audience with his wife and two daughters. He was also accompanied by Argentinian actress Maria Botto, who appears with him in the new movie Risen.The two stars are in Rome to promote the film, in which Fiennes portrays Clavius, a Roman centurion given the task by Pontius Pilate of investigating the resurrection of Jesus. Botto plays Mary Magdalene.The film is scheduled to be released on 19 February.
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Wednesday inaugurating the new premises of the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embsassy) to Slovenia, in the capital Ljubljana.“This is a significant moment in the relations between Slovenia and the Holy See, which allows me to recall that the Holy See was among the very first to recognize the independence of Slovenia, on 13th January 1992,” Cardinal Parolin said.He said this latest development means the Pope now has “his own house” in Slovenia.“As we inaugurate this building, it is, of course, important to recall that an Apostolic Nuncio must be competent above all in building the bridges of human relationships, through dialogue and an openness to the humanity at the heart of every problem,” Cardinal Parolin said. “That is ultimately the vocation of each and every Christian and underlines that the solid foundation from which we must start building is always Christ.&...
(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, was in Houston on Tuesday for the ordination of Steven J. Lopes,  the first bishop to head one of the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans established in accordance with 2009’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.During the festivities, the Cardinal attended a barbecue, during which he wore the native dress of Texas: A cowboy hat while riding a horse.Bishop Steven J. Lopes, a former official of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith is the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. His predecessor as Ordinary, Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, was a former Anglican priest, who was not consecrated as a Catholic bishop.There are currently three Ordinariates: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (for England, Wales, and Scotland); Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (for the United St...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is urging the faithful to open their hearts to forgiveness“This is the way to solve differences within families – he said - between spouses or between parents and children”.This is what happens when he who has been offended loves the person who offended him and wants to save the relationship: “that binds him to the other” he said.The Pope was addressing over 10,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.Reflecting on the Sacred Scriptures that present God as infinite mercy, but also as perfect justice, the Pope asked the question of how reconcile infinite mercy with perfect justice? How does the reality of mercy fit in with the needs of justice?It could appear – he said – that the two realities are in contradiction, but this is not so because God’s justice is his mercy.When we think of justice – Pope Francis said – we think of its legal administration whi...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday greeted members of the American Circus, which performed during his weekly general audience.Speaking off the cuff, Pope Francis thanked the performers, and reiterated his remarks from last week, when another circus performed in St. Peter’s Square.“I am going to repeat what I said a week ago, when there was another performance such as this one,” Pope Francis said. “You make beauty, and beautiful things bring us closer to God. Thank you for this.”However, Pope Francis said he wanted to emphasize another point: Such a performance “cannot be improvised.”“Behind this beautiful show, there are hours and hours of exhausting training,” Pope Francis said.“Training is hard work,” continued the Holy Father. “The Apostle Paul tells to get to cross finish line and win, you must rain, and this is an example to us all – because the seduction of an easy life, to seek a good outco...
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated a Mass on Tuesday to mark the close of the Year of Consecrated Life at the Cathedral of Ljubljana in Slovenia.In his homily for the World Day of Consecrated Life, Cardinal Parolin called the religious men and women of the Slovenian Church to present themselves to the Lord.“It is this gesture, interior and exterior, which characterizes the today’s celebration: present oneself and to be presented. This was Mary and Joseph’s gesture which, as we heard in the Gospel, ‘When the days were completed for their purification, according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord.’ This is the gesture which each one of us, especially consecrated men and women, is called to renew, with pure and sincere hearts and with all our dedication.”Cardinal Parolin went on to remember the long history of ...
WASHINGTON-The Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, February 1, on behalf of USCCB, the Texas Catholic Conference and several Christian partners in support of a Texas law mandating health and safety standards protecting women who undergo abortions. Other groups joining the brief include the National Association of Evangelicals, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The case is Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court."There is ample evidence in this case that hospital admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements protect women's lives and health," said the brief. "When such requirements are not enforced, abuses detrimental to women's lives and health arise."The brief noted that some abortion clinics have decla...
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