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'Great misunderstanding' seen on church's teachings on end of life

There is "great misunderstanding" among Catholics and others about the church's teachings on whether and when life-sustaining medical treatment can be withdrawn when death is near, according to a leading Catholic bioethicist.

Marie T. Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy and a staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, said the Philadelphia-based center conducts about 2,000 consultations a year with "families in distress" who want to talk with an ethicist "about the church's teaching in light of their (family) situation."

Brother-sister team named CCHD Cardinal Bernardin award recipients

Two advocates for worker rights received the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Cardinal Joseph Bernardin New Leadership Award during the U.S. bishops' annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Jose and Ana Aguayo, a brother-and-sister team instrumental in the success of the Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center, were recognized Monday for their advocacy efforts on behalf of low-wage workers.

Bishops approve 2014 budget, 3 percent assessment increase for 2015

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The U.S. bishops, in separate votes Tuesday, approved a budget for the year 2014 and a 3 percent increase in diocesan assessments starting in 2015.

The bishops also approved a proposal to modify that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' bylaws to allow the chairman of its audit subcommittee to be chosen from among their overall membership rather than restrict the choice to those bishops currently serving on the USCCB Administrative Board, as has currently been the practice.

All three votes took place the second day of the annual USCCB fall general assembly in Baltimore.

New USCCB president shifts message, asks to 'warm hearts'

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Hours after his election as the next president of the U.S. bishops' conference, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz began notably shifting the conference's tone, saying he wants to speak for the "voiceless and vulnerable" and sees himself primarily as a pastor.

Kurtz, the archbishop of Louisville, Ky., spoke Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the bishops' meeting. The current vice president of the conference, Kurtz was elected Tuesday morning to be their next president by a 53 percent majority. 

Archbishop: DOMA ruling, ENDA passage put marriage at 'critical point'

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The Supreme Court's ruling that rendered the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and the Senate's passage Nov. 7 of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act put the legal defense of marriage "at a critical point in this country," said the archbishop who heads the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The Supreme Court's DOMA decision is now being used to judicially challenge marriage laws in more than a dozen states that still recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.

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