News Briefs

The Freedom From Religion Foundation on Sept. 13 challenged the constitutionality of the “parish exemption” tax deductions that clergy are allowed to claim on housing expenses. • Catholic Charities of New Orleans received $15 million, the largest single grant in its history, from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to oversee an effort to provide direct assistance, counseling and job training to Louisiana fishing families affected by the 2010 B.P. oil spill. • Troy Davis was executed on Sept. 21 in Georgia despite petitions from more than 650,000 people around the world, including Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter. • Urging improved cooperation to end human trafficking, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, said on Sept. 14 that more must be done to strengthen a culture in which the relationship between men and women is based on mutual “respect and not on merchandizing the body.” • Discussing the possibility of optional celibacy, Edward Daly, former Bishop of Derry, in Northern Ireland, told the BBC on Sept. 13, “It may create a whole new set of problems, but I think it’s something that should be considered.”

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I’ve only been a priest for 13 years. How could I possibly be at the point that I am just recycling ideas?
Jim McDermottJune 27, 2017
People gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 in Washington. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA) 
The high court, in a 7-2 ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, sided with the religious school.
Activists rally outside U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 26 after the court sided with Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which sued after being denied a state grant for creating a safer playground (CNS photo/Yuri Gripas, Reuters). 
The Supreme Court court ruled on June 26 that the government may not exclude religious groups from grant programs simply because they are religious.
Ellen K. BoegelJune 27, 2017
Pope Francis laughs as he greets a woman during an audience with people from Lyon, France, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican July 6. The audience was with 200 people living in difficult or precarious situations. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The pope's words can be read as an answer to those who hope his pontificate may end soon.
Gerard O'ConnellJune 27, 2017