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Pope Benedict XVI has written a letter to the world’s bishops defending his decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops of the Society of St. Pius X and acknowledging that the controversy was “a misadventure that was for me unforeseeable,” according to reports in the Italian media.• The shooting of a policeman in Northern Ireland was denounced by Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, a Catholic, and his Church of Ireland counterpart, who said there is “no going back” to the days of violence that killed more than 3,500 people over 30 years. • Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia said March 9 that President Obama’s executive order reversing the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research represents “a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.” • A bill proposed in the Connecticut state legislature that would have given laypeople financial control of their parishes in Connecticut was withdrawn by its sponsors on March 10 in the wake of heated controversy. • Peter Bray, F.S.C., assumed his position in March as the eighth vice chancellor of Bethlehem University, which is administered jointly by the Vatican and the Christian Brothers.

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A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in 2016 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. (CNS photo/Art Babych)
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Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 21, 2017
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Our readersSeptember 21, 2017
Photo by Victor Lozano on Unsplash
Any willingness to cooperate across party lines is praiseworthy. Unfortunately, brinkmanship remains the preferred legislative strategy.
The EditorsSeptember 21, 2017
Pope Francis, seen here at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on June 28, has announced two significant reforms in recent weeks by releasing statements motu proprio. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
When a pope issues a document “motu proprio,” it means he does so by his own motivation, and it can mean a significant change to church law.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 21, 2017