WH offers compromise on birth control for religious employers

Somehow, this slipped under the radar today: The Obama administration outlined a new compromise Friday aimed at shielding religious business owners and Christian universities and charities from the health law’s contraception-coverage requirements, but a chilly initial response from Roman Catholic bishops suggested the move wouldn’t assuage their concerns. Federal officials laid out fresh rules to [Read More...]

Obama: “Service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us…”

From the President’s weekly address:  So many people all across the country are helping out at soup kitchens, buying gifts for children in need, or organizing food or clothing drives for their neighbors.  For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us [Read More...]

Obama quotes the pope in economic address

Details, from the AP:  The Pope is making the world sit up and pay attention to poverty with his dedication to serving the poor, and it looks like world leaders are taking a leaf out of his book, including President Obama. During a Wednesday speech on income equality, Obama remarked, “Across the developed world, inequality has [Read More...]

Obama Nominates Former CRS Head as Vatican Ambassador

Details from David Gibson:  President Obama on Friday nominated Ken Hackett, former head of Catholic Relief Services, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. It’s a savvy move, picking a Catholic whose career in the church has been dedicated to alleviating suffering as America’s representative to a pope whose has made helping the [Read More...]

White House “Strongly Objects” to Amendment Protecting Religious Liberty for Soldiers

Details: Breitbart News reported last week that Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) passed an amendment in the House Armed Services Committee protecting religious speech of service members in the military. President Barack Obama has now threatened to veto the bill if it passes the full House and Senate. The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) [Read More...]

Obama visits Bethlehem

From CNS:  U.S. President Barack Obama, visiting the West Bank city of Bethlehem, stopped twice to light candles for his family and himself: first at the Church of Nativity grotto, where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was born, then at the adjacent Catholic Church of St. Catherine. On the last leg of his four-day visit [Read More...]

Obama on possibility of an American pope: “Bishops in U.S. don’t seem to be taking orders from me”

He spoke with ABC News this morning and in a wide-ranging interview touched on the subject of the papal conclave: As cardinals gather at the Vatican to elect a new pope, President Barack Obama said he believes U.S. politics wouldn’t stand in the way of an American pope doing his job. “It seems to me [Read More...]

The Donilon brothers: one’s boss is the President, the other’s may be the next pope

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day. From the Washington Post:  Shortly after arriving in Rome with his boss, dark horse papal contender Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Terrence Donilon received an e-mail. It was from his brother Tom, the national security adviser to President Obama. “How’s it going?” the top White House official asked. The answer is: [Read More...]

Obama at prayer breakfast: “We place our faith in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ…”

Details: For his fifth year, President Barack Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning in at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. Yet even though Obama has taken strong positions in the last year on issues of concern to religious communities, such as same-sex marriage, immigration reform and the contraception mandate in his healthcare [Read More...]

The benediction for the inauguration

Elizabeth Tenety at the Washington Post notes:  The Rev. Luis Leon gave the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration Monday, praying that “with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God’s grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable (sic) and irreplaceable.” Leon also included a reference to ‘gay or straight’ Americans as created in God’s image, [Read More...]