The numbers: Capital punishment in the United States is on life support, hanging on in the 2 percent of counties that administer more than half of all executions.
While one Catholic archbishop was urging a fix to the country's immigration laws before a Catholic crowd, another was pleading with the government not to separate mothers from their children while in immigration detention, and yet another, a cardinal, was accompanying a grandfather to an appointment that could have resulted in his deportation.
Catholic Church leaders in the U.S. spent the week of March 6-10 trying to allay fears, urging compassion, not just from the government from those who are not seeing "God's creation" when they malign unauthorized immigrants.
Calling health care "a vital concern for nearly every person in the country," the U.S. Catholic bishops said March 8 they will be reviewing closely a measure introduced in the House March 6 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court took on a U.S-Mexico border issue Feb. 21 when it examined if the parents of a Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. border agent who shot and killed their son.
During the oral arguments, the justices seemed divided over who was responsible for the action. Some of the justices stressed that it was a U.S. concern since the teen was shot by a U.S. agent; other justices said that since the 15-year-old died on the Mexican side of the border, the case should stay out of the U.S. courts.
In a 6-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that Texas inmate Duane Buck had been unfairly represented.
In a joint statement, Catholic bishops whose dioceses are along the U.S.-Mexico border spoke of the "pain, the fear, and the anguish" they're seeing in immigrants and vowed to follow the example of the pope in building "bridges, rather than the walls of exclusion and exploitation."
The Feb. 14 statement was read at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in Texas after a visit by the bishops to an immigration detention center as well as to a humanitarian respite center at Sacred Heart Parish in McAllen, Texas, in the Brownsville Diocese.
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting says Scouting units sponsored by the Catholic Church will not be impacted by the Boy Scouts of America's new policy to accept members based on gender identity.
The U.S. Supreme Court tackled immigration, abortion, the contraceptive mandate and the death penalty, doing so with one less vote following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February.
New Texas burial laws: Texas Catholic bishops and the state's Catholic cemeteries are working together on efforts to provide a proper burial for children lost to abortion. Effective Dec. 19, new state regulations from the Department of State Health Services require the interment of the remains of all children who are lost through abortion or miscarriage at a health care facility or abortion clinic.
Abortion laws in Ohio: The Ohio Legislature has sent two abortion bills to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. On Dec. 8, lawmakers passed a measure to ban abortions in the state after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. On Dec. 6, they approved legislation that would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually at about the sixth week of pregnancy.