A bill meant to expand anti-discrimination employment policy to include gays and transgendered individuals may see its defeat in the House of Representatives.
After the United States Senate voted to end cloture and bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the floor, House Speaker John Boehner expressed his opposition. Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker Boehner, stated in an email to Politico that the Republican-controlled House will oppose the bill should it pass the Senate.
"The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs," wrote Steel. more >>
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution Thursday calling on President Barack Obama to fully explain the National Security Agency's spying activities in relation to Pope Francis and the Vatican.
"Do we want to be the country that is spying on the pope? For goodness sake, what good is that?" Paul said in a Fox News interview about 30 minutes after he submitted his resolution.
The accusation that the NSA has been spying on the pope came this week from an Italian publication. The NSA reportedly monitored phone calls made by cardinals and bishops before and after the papal conclave that chose Pope Francis. more >>
Pope Francis announced earlier this week that he reached a social media milestone by amassing more than 10 million followers on Twitter.
"Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you! I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me," said Francis in a tweet on Sunday.
The pope has nine different Twitter handles, each of them beginning with "Pontifex," and his words of encouragement and insight are published in a different language on each of them. Currently about 3.2 million people follow the pontiff's English language handle. more >>
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitored the phone calls of the future Pope Francis and other Vatican officials leading up to the papal conclave, according to an Italian magazine, though the spy agency has denied the report.
Panorama, an Italian weekly, reports that the agency monitored calls made by Catholic cardinals and bishops both before and during this year's papal conclave, according to The Telegraph. Calls to and from the place where Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, resided during the conclave were among those that were reportedly monitored.
The article also claims the NSA intercepted calls pertaining to the election of the head of the Vatican bank, among other things. The agency is said to have divided the information it intercepted from the Vatican into four categories: "leadership intentions," "foreign policy objectives," "threats to financial systems" and "human rights." more >>
WASHINGTON - One of Pope Francis' messages is that the world is becoming increasingly cold, not cold in the meteorological sense, but in a relational sense, George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, explained in his Tuesday address to the Catholic Information Center's second annual "Blessed John Paul II Award Dinner for the New Evangelization."
"Pope Francis has reminded us, as indeed his two noble predecessors reminded us, we're living in an increasingly cold world. Not cold because of Canadian air flows. But cold because of a tendency to measure human beings by their utility rather than their dignity. To walk past those who are 'other.' To fail to at least attempt to understand why others fail to perceive the world as we do," he said.
Culture is becoming "increasingly unreal," Weigel believes. In this "new gnosticism," "everything is plastic and malleable" and "anything goes." Citing examples of the right to life, from conception to natural death, and the redefinition of marriage, Weigel said that this culture "not only permits unreality but now is beginning to legally require it." more >>
Pope Francis has suspended German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, nicknamed "the luxury bishop" and the "bishop of bling" by German newspapers, following uproar over revelations that he spent over $42 million on a luxury residence.
"A situation has been created in which Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst currently cannot exercise his episcopal ministry," the Vatican press office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pope Francis, who has led as an example of modesty and has called on church leaders to live humbly, has apparently been "continually, broadly and objectively informed" about the situation in the Diocese of Limburg, and has authorized the suspension with immediate effect. more >>