New Briefs

A Catholic Church relief worker who recently returned from Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley said the 1.5 million civilians displaced by a government crackdown on militants are facing "horrible conditions." "They are without proper shelter and cannot stand the extreme heat," said Eric Dayal, of Caritas Pakistan. • As the government of Sri Lanka declared victory over Tamil separatists engaged in a 26-year battle for independence, Pope Benedict XVI appealed to both sides to protect civilians and asked the international community to provide aid to tens of thousands of refugees. • Disarmament advocates have called upon the Canadian government to endorse U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons. "The complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only lasting solution to the grave dangers that threaten our world," said Bruce Blair, president of the Washington-based World Security Institute. • The Vatican is launching iPhone and Facebook applications as part of a brand new Vatican Web site—www.pope2you.net—that is to go live on May 24.

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The Affordable Care Act has changed our expectations for health care. It shifted the way we live, which may be shifting what we believe.
Michael RozierMay 25, 2017
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speak to the media about President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The U.S. bishops have raised some serious concerns about what this proposal says about our national values.
The EditorsMay 25, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, accompanied by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, following after a Republican policy luncheon. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Congress is asking the nation to make “immoral choices,” said Sister Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association.
Kevin ClarkeMay 25, 2017
Philippine government soldiers walk past a mosque before their May 25 assault on Maute insurgents, who have taken over large parts of the town of Marawi. Residents started to evacuate Marawi after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law across the entire Muslim-majority region of Mindanao. (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters)
Gunmen claiming to have links with the Islamic State group threatened to kill hostages, including a Catholic priest, who were taken from the southern Philippine city of Marawi on May 23.