Weekly round up: Divorce rates, rooftop farming, and filibusters

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Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a busy week here at U.S. Catholic and I’m sure you’ve all been busy too. Here are some of the top stories from the news you might have missed this week.

Everyone has been talking about Pope Francis and his interview with the Jesuits that was published in English in America magazine. Many have praised the pontiff’s words, however there is some criticism that has emerged from it. As Phyllis Zagano pointed out in the National Catholic Reporter, America skipped over two sentences that can be found in the transcripts in any other language. The sentences discussed the role of women in the church (A topic that caused an Australian priest to be the first person to be excommunicated by Pope Francis). America apologized for “inadvertently” omitting the sentences. Heidi Schlumpf also defended America in her column in NCR claiming that the mistake should be forgiven, using the “Christian charity that our pope has talked to much about.”

Speaking of the pope, many people have been labeling his actions as “liberal.” Charles C. Camosy, an assistant professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University, blames our society for creating labels. People either fall into one group or the other—conservative vs. liberal, pro-life vs. pro-choice. He warns against this in religious contexts because labeling pushes one group to the sidelines and makes them “the others”. Camosy says Pope Francis is neither “liberal” nor “conservative.” He is a Catholic.

The Florida Catholic Conference of Bishops is stepping in to stop the October 1 execution of a man accused of the murder of two women. “Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a human dignity that is inherent in all persons,” said the statement from Florida bishops. “This dignity, instilled by our Creator, is neither earned nor can it be forfeited.” Prayer services and vigils are scheduled for that date to pray that Gov. Rick Scott realizes the sanctity of all human life.

Everyone loves a good story about a radical nun or priest who protests against a group or organization doing something against church teaching. Sister Teresa Forcades from the Spanish left, however, is getting mixed reviews. The BBC reported on the sister’s love of religion and her political involvement, praising her as a “star” and a “unique political figure.” The Catholic Church, on the other hand, does not approve of some of her views, including her opinion that an individual has a right to control their own body, even a woman’s right to decide over abortion. Sister Forcades’ ten-point manifesto on how to change the Spanish government can be seen here.

With Americans currently debating the initiation of Obamacare, many on both sides of the political spectrum are getting heated by the topic. Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas voiced his opinion and called for a filibuster last Tuesday. Speaking on behalf of millions of Texans and Americans opposed to the new health care law, Cruz hopes “to play some very small role in providing the voice.” Individuals from both parties want a decision to be made before the potential government shut down on October 1.

Rooftop gardens and farms are sprouting up everywhere as they gain popularity. Cities like Chicago and New York are boasting about the number of green rooftops they’ve converted into places where plants and vegetables can grow. Rooftop farming offers many benefits—architectural, ecological, educational, and environmental. NPR’s program The Salt asks why more places aren’t doing it and discusses the challenges and benefits of rooftop farms.

Before you go, here's some good news from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) this week. New numbers have found that Catholics are still less likely to get divorced compared to other religious affiliates or those who are not religiously affiliated. But, CARA warns, the statistics are much more complicated than that. Check out this article to read more about their findings.

That's all we have for today, folks. What happened in your area this week?


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