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Catholics say final farewell to Chicago's Cardinal George

CHICAGO — Top elected officials, clergy members and Chicago-area Catholics have attended the funeral for Cardinal Francis George, who was remembered as a vigorous defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

About 1,200 people attended Thursday's funeral Mass at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, which followed three days of visitation.

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said Cardinal George "was so utterly a Christian that no circumstance seemed inappropriate for him to give witness to Christ."

George died last Friday at age 78 after a long fight with cancer. He retired last fall and was replaced by Archbishop Blase Cupich (blayz SOO'-pich).

George played a key role in the church's response to the clergy sex abuse scandal and led the U.S. bishops' fight against the Affordable Care Act, arguing that President Barack Obama's health insurance law would allow taxpayer money to fund abortion.


Archbishop to skip national rally opposing gay marriage

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who has become the focus of controversy for upholding Catholic teachings, will miss an annual march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday opposing same-sex marriage.

Cordileone led prayer outside the Supreme Court at last year's March for Marriage, but the Archdiocese of San Francisco's says he will remain home this year while being with the marchers "in spirit and prayer."

Cordileone received both support and opposition from local Catholics earlier this year when he required some church staffers to sign statements condemning gay relations.

He also called for teachers and staff at four high schools in the archdiocese to refrain from publicly contradicting church teachings on abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, birth control and artificial insemination.

About 100 parishioners took out a newspaper ad last week asking Pope Francis to remove Cordileone.


Jindal blasts companies opposed to religious objections bill

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says businesses that oppose religious objection laws are entering an "unholy alliance" with liberal elites who support more taxes and regulation and demonize profit-making.

In a meeting with reporters Thursday, the Republican governor said he was alarmed when business groups united with LGBT advocates to oppose religious objection laws in Indiana and Arkansas. Critics of those laws say they could allow discrimination against same-sex couples.

Jindal is backing a religious objections proposal before the Louisiana Legislature. Computer giant IBM opposes it, and the governor says other corporations have asked him to oppose the bill. Jindal calls the measure a "religious liberty" bill and says its supporters are natural allies of the business community because both support "economic liberty."


Internet pornography is called worst threat to Christians

WASHINGTON — Christian author Josh McDowell says internet pornography is undermining the church more than gay marriage.

McDowell says laws that declare traditional beliefs bigoted may actually help Christian families "stand out more" and present a positive example to their neighbors, but addiction to pornography is destroying pastors, church members and their marriages.

His latest book is titled "God-Breathed: The Undeniable Power and Reliability of Scripture." In it, McDowell sets out to prove that the Bible is God's truth, and that applying it to life and relationships can give people "victory, even in the area of pornography."

McDowell, who's now 75, says he's confident that his mission of declaring the truth of Christianity is in good hands. He says young men and women are "coming to the forefront in apologetics more than probably ever before in the history of the church."

Online: http://www.readgodbreathed.com/


Vatican confirms pope will stop in Cuba stop en route to US

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says Pope Francis will visit Cuba before arriving in the United States in late September.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the Cuba leg to reporters Wednesday. He didn't provide details or dates.

Francis has been credited with helping the United States and Cuba reach their historic rapprochement by writing to the leaders of both countries and having the Vatican host their delegations for the final negotiations. The pope's visit to Cuba would be a way for him to push the process forward.

Francis is scheduled to visit three U.S. cities starting around Sept. 23. He will address Congress and meet with President Barack Obama at the White House, address the U.N. in New York and attend a church rally for families in Philadelphia.


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