Members of the Knights of Columbus stand outside the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., Feb. 8 to protest a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The House passed the measure that day and the Senate approved it a week earlier. Gov. Chris Gregoi signed the bill into law Feb. 13. Washington is the seventh state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal. Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain had urged lawmakers to oppose the measure "based on the grave challenge this legislation poses to the common good. By attempting to redefine marriage, it ignores the origin, purpose and value of marriage to individuals, families and society."
CNS photo/Robert Sorbo, Reuters
Youth Day logo
This is the English-language version of the winning logo for World Youth Day to be held in Rio de Janeiro July 23-28, 2013. Gustavo Huguenin, 25, a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, is the creator of the winning logo. It shows Rio's most famous symbols — Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Brazilian coastline — and the World Youth Day pilgrim's cross inside a heart symbolizing the heart of the disciple. The green, yellow and blue of the heart are the colors of the Brazilian flag.
Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua is pictured in 1991, after he had been given the red hat by Pope John Paul II in June. Cardinal Bevilacqua, who led the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from February 1988 to October 2003, died Jan. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood. He was 88.
Rev. William Rowe, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mount Carmel, Ill., for the past 17 years, says he offered his resignation to Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Ill., after their discussions did not resolve the bishop's concerns about the priest's style of celebrating Mass, including his failure to follow the new English-translation of the Roman Missal.
Mass at Vatican
Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, former Oakland bishop, celebrates Mass with bishops from Michigan and Ohio at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Feb. 2. Archbishop Vigneron and other U.S bishops were on their "ad limina" visits to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials.
Appeal panel rules against Proposition 8
SAN FRANCISCO — By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the California ban on same-sex marriage, saying that it violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens due process and equal protection under the law. The majority opinion, issued Feb. 7, said that the state, which had given homosexual couples the right to marry, could not revoke that right. The National Organization of Marriage Education Fund, in a statement issued by its director, Brian S. Brown, accused the judges of "finding a 'right' to same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution! This sets up an all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court," said Brown, who asked for contributions to help fund a possible Supreme Court challenge to the lower court's ruling.
Speaker: Catholics losing connection to the land
WASHINGTON — Catholics are at risk of losing their connection to the land, according to a professor from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. "There are 244 Catholic degree-granting institutions in the United States, and not one of them offers an undergraduate degree program in agriculture," said Christopher Thompson, academic dean at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, which is housed at the university. In the classes he teaches, he said he was baffled by his students' seeming ignorance of even some of the basics. Thompson said one student asked him what a kingfisher was. (It is a bird.) Another student asked what an aspen was. (It is a tree.) A student from Los Angeles, after going on a Thompson-led weekend retreat that visited three farms in Minnesota, remarked: "I didn't know they raised animals in Minnesota."
State has no authority to redefine marriage
WASHINGTON — The archbishops of Los Angeles and New York criticized a federal appellate court decision Feb. 7 that ruled unconstitutional California's Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved initiative that forbade same-sex marriage in the state. "The government has no competence and no authority to 'redefine' marriage or 'expand' its definition to include other kinds of relationships," said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles in a Feb. 7 statement. Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York called the 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals "a grave injustice, ignoring the reality that marriage is the union of one man and one woman" in a Feb. 7 statement. The majority opinion said Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees citizens due process and equal protection under the law. It said the state, which had given homosexual couples the right to marry, could not revoke that right.
Komen official resigns over Planned Parenthood
DALLAS — Karen Handel, vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, resigned Feb. 7 over a dispute of how the organization handled its grants to Planned Parenthood. Komen announced Jan. 31 that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screening referrals and then reinstated these grants Feb. 3 after significant protest. In her resignation letter, Handel said she had supported Komen's decision to stop providing funding to Planned Parenthood, but she also noted that discussion of the move had begun long before she joined the organization last year. Handel said the decision to withhold grant funding from Planned Parenthood was nonpolitical and was "based on Komen's mission."
Catholics protest play depicting Mary as lesbian
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Led by Bishop Peter J. Jugis, Catholics in the Charlotte Diocese were protesting a newly opened play for its "gravely offensive" portrayal of Mary as a lesbian and its mocking of the virgin birth. "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told," which opened Feb. 2 at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, also retells the Creation story with two homosexual couples. "The implication that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a lesbian is gravely offensive to Catholics and to all Christians, who hold Mary in the highest regard as the mother of the Savior," Bishop Jugis wrote in a Jan. 31 letter to the performing arts center.