U.S. & World news briefs – July 3, 2014

WASHINGTON

Court gives EWTN last-minute relief from HHS contraception mandate

A federal appeals court has issued a temporary injunction protecting the Eternal Word Television Network from having to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.

EWTN, based in Irondale, Ala., has appealed a federal judge’s order from late June dismissing its lawsuit challenging the government’s requirement that most employers, including religious employers, cover contraceptives in employee health care plans.

In granting an injunction, the 11th Circuit cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case issued the same day that said closely held corporations can opt out of the new health care law requirement because of religious objections.

EWTN’s appeal with the circuit court has to do with a June 17 ruling handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granada in Mobile, Ala., denying the network the protection it sought from enforcement of the Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed the lawsuit, reports that more than 100 cases against the Health and Human Services mandate have been filed since the regulation was announced in August 2011.

VATICAN CITY

Synod document cites cultural and economic threats to family

The working document for the October 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops offers a picture of the Catholic Church today struggling to preach the Gospel and transmit moral teachings amid a “widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis” of the family.

The 75-page “instrumentum laboris,” published by the Vatican June 26, is supposed to “provide an initial reference point” for discussion at the synod, whose theme will be the “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” The document is based principally on comments solicited in a questionnaire last November from national bishops’ conferences around the world. But it also reflects comments sent directly to the Vatican by individuals and groups responding to the questionnaire, which was widely published on the Internet.

SEOUL, South Korea

Founders of Korean church among martyrs Pope Francis will beatify

When Pope Francis goes to South Korea in August, he will put 124 martyrs on the path to sainthood. Many in this group established the Catholic Church in that East Asian country.

“They are . . . the fathers, of the (103) Korean martyrs, who really founded the Catholic Church with their blood, with their faith, compassion . . . their blood shed for Christ,” said Legion of Christ Father Simon Chung of Seoul.

Pope John Paul II canonized 103 Koreans 30 years ago, and Father Chung said many were the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the 124 up for beatification.

MANCHESTER, England

British high court rejects challenges to assisted suicide laws

Britain’s highest court has thrown out three challenges to laws against assisted suicide. Two of them involved cases in which severely disabled men said their right to privacy was being violated by the 1961 Suicide Act, which makes assisting a suicide a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail. A third man sought clarification about whether anyone who helped him to commit suicide in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is permitted, would face prosecution in Britain. In a ruling published June 25, the Supreme Court dismissed all three — the third unanimously — and as a result exhausted a long battle by assisted suicide activists to change the law through the courts.

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Category: U.S. & World News

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