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Young adults don't think alike
WASHINGTON — The youth vote — which was big in 2008 when more than 22 million young adults in the U.S. under the age of 30 went to the polls — looks elusive this year.
New surveys, including one from the Pew Research Center, show that young voters are more disengaged this election year. Forty-eight percent of this group is giving the election "a lot of thought" this year compared to 65 percent in 2008.
Similarly, only 63 percent definitely plan on voting, compared to 72 percent four years ago. Another study, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, finds that nearly two-thirds or 66 percent of younger millennials (age 18-25) are currently registered to vote and 50 percent said they are certain to vote in the November election.
The study: "Diverse, Disillusioned and Divided: Millennial Values and Voter Engagement in the 2012 Election" was released Oct. 4. Daniel Cox, director of research and co-founder of Public Religion Research Institute, who presented the survey results at Georgetown University, said the reasons given in the survey for voter apathy included: disinterest, bored by politics, too busy to vote, not convinced votes count and not liking the election choices.
More white younger millennials (71 percent) reported being registered to vote than blacks (60 percent) or Hispanics (53 percent) in their age group. Overall, the respondents gave Democratic President Barack Obama a 16-point advantage. When the group was broken down into various faith practices, 55 percent of Catholic younger millennials favored Obama while 38 percent favored Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent. Eighty percent of white evangelical Protestants in the survey group support Romney, while 15 percent support Obama. A slim majority (51 percent) of white mainline Protestants younger millennial voters also prefer Romney.
The young voters also have very diverse opinions about religion and politics. Nearly half (49 percent) of younger millennials said it is somewhat or very important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs, while 48 percent said it is not too important or not at all important.
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Seventy percent of Catholic parents have children who will go trick-or-treating "door-to-door" this Halloween.
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Prize triumph for ethics
MANCHESTER, England — Catholic leaders in Europe hailed the decision to give the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine to two pioneers of adult stem-cell research as a triumph for ethics. A statement from the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, known as COMECE, said that awarding the prize to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka represented an "important milestone" in recognizing the superior potential of adult stem-cell research over destructive experimentation on human embryonic stem cells.
Bishops laud Chavez site
KEENE — California's Catholic bishops said they were grateful that a national monument was being dedicated to farmworker labor leader Cesar Chavez, who "was profoundly influenced by Catholic social justice teaching." Chavez, who co-founded the United Farm Workers union in 1962, "strived to be a good disciple of the Lord Jesus by bringing the kingdom of God to the vineyards, fields and groves of America," they said in a statement released Oct. 3. The dedication was Oct. 8.
2 new church "doctors"
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict added a 16th-century Spanish priest and a 12th-century German abbess to the roster of doctors of the universal church. The pope proclaimed the new doctors, St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen, at Mass Oct. 7 in St. Peter's Square, where the thousands in attendance included pilgrims waving Spanish flags, and German nuns in traditional habits.
'Bible Challenge' fills need
WASHINGTON — The "American Bible Challenge" has been watched by more than 2 million people in the United States every Thursday night since its debut Aug. 23, making it the most successful show in Game Show Network history. And to the surprise of its creators, an app based on the cable TV show is doing almost as well. The show is sponsored by the New York-based American Bible Society, a 200-year-old nonprofit organization whose mission is to make the Bible available and understandable to everyone. Hosted by comedian and TV personality Jeff Foxworthy, best known for his role in the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, "American Bible Challenge" is a trivia game where the winners give away their prize money to a charity of their choice.
DAJABON, Dominican Republic — Jesuit Father Regino Martinez paused as the solemn candlelight procession of hundreds of Dominicans wound through the streets of this border town toward the river that separates it from Haiti. The Oct. 4 event came as the Dominicans commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Parsley Massacre, when over five days in early October 1937, Dominican soldiers slaughtered thousands of Haitians.
'Ex Corde' affirmed role
NEW ORLEANS — It has been more than 12 years since Blessed John Paul II promulgated "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," an apostolic constitution that clarified the relationship between the diocesan bishop and the Catholic colleges and universities within his diocese. While the 1990 document is known best for the Latin word "mandatum," which required Catholics teaching theology at a Catholic college or university to seek a "mandate" to do so from the local bishop, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond told an audience at Loyola University in New Orleans Sept. 20, that the document overwhelmingly affirmed the essential role of Catholic higher education as "a ministry of the church."
Marriage support urged
BALTIMORE — Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori and other religious leaders Sept. 26 asked supporters of traditional marriage to join efforts to overturn Maryland's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. More than 200 people attended an invitation-only event at St. Mary's Seminary.
Back to class
SHANGHAI — Priests and nuns in the Shanghai Diocese were forced to attend compulsory "study classes," which observers believe were imposed by Chinese authorities in response to the new Shanghai auxiliary's renunciation of the Catholic Patriotic Association. In September, approximately 80 diocesan priests and 80 nuns of the Our Lady of Presentation Congregation were divided into three groups to take three days of classes at the Shanghai Institute of Socialism, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. Classes lasted 12 hours each day and included university professors lecturing about strengthening the sense of duty toward China, the law and the independent church principle, UCA News reported.
WASHINGTON — The Second Vatican Council gave the Bible a central place in the life of the church, a Scripture scholar said during a symposium at The Catholic University of America. In a talk on the council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Hellen Mardaga said Vatican II not only opened the door for scholars to study the Bible using the modern methods of historical criticism, but also enabled them to publish their findings and make them accessible to the Catholic public.
Spreading the word
ROME — As the church is set to begin the Year of Faith and a synod on the new evangelization, the rosary can play a key role in strengthening and spreading the word of God, said a leading American expert in Marian studies. "This Year of Faith is a call for evangelization, a new evangelization that's to start with ourselves" in reawakening one's love for Christ and then reaching out to those who have become distanced from the church, said Holy Cross Father James Phalan, director of Family Rosary International.
Teachings not optional
WASHINGTON — The teachings of the Second Vatican Council are neither optional nor second-class, but must be seen in the proper context, the former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said Sept. 26 as he opened a conference at The Catholic University of America in Washington. The talk by Cardinal William J. Levada focused on three events that share an Oct. 11 date — the opening of Vatican II 50 years ago, the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church 20 years ago and the upcoming opening of the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI.
— Catholic News Service