International Catholic Rural Association: While today's family farmers worldwide are tested as never before, the church believes they can contribute to a more just ordering of life, said a new document issued Dec. 7. "The circumstances facing the family in farming are especially distressing. In many respects, we have sought an abundant harvest in exchange for a more diminished culture of life," said the document, "The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader," released by the International Catholic Rural Association.
Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska is named bishop of Dallas: Pope Francis has named Burns to be bishop of Dallas, succeeding now-Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, who headed the Dallas Diocese until he was named in August to be the first prefect of the new Vatican office for laity, family and life. Burns, 59, has headed the Diocese of Juneau since 2009.
Diocese of Rockville Centre: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and appointed as his successor Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court agreed Dec. 2 to hear arguments about church hospital pension disputes over whether religious hospitals and schools can be exempt from complying with federal laws covering employee pension benefits. Lower courts have ruled against three hospital systems, two of which are Catholic, that have claimed an exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
Orthodox iconography: "The Byzantine Orthodox iconography is not just an 'art,' it’s a sacred art," Theodoros Papadopoulos, Greek icon expert, explains.
Immigration Pardons: People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO) is currently circulating a petition to deliver to the White House Dec. 15 urging the Obama administration to grant pardons immigrants in the country without legal documentation and people with nonviolent, federal drug offenses serving prison sentences. It is also urging local elected officials, governors, mayors and churches across the country to take steps to designate themselves sanctuaries, protecting immigrants from deportation, in response to President-elect Donald Trump promises to deport 2 to 3 million immigrants without documentation.
Over 70 presidents at Catholic institutions have pledged their support for students attending their schools who are legally protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Fidel Castro's Death: "It is with great sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, friends of our America and the world, that today, November 25, 2016, at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz passed away," said his brother Raul.
United Nations: The Federation of American Scientists' tallies show there are about 15,350 nuclear weapons in the world. The U.S. and Russia each have about 4,500 nuclear weapons stockpiled.
The District of Columbia City Council Nov. 15 approved a bill allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medications to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.