Weekly roundup: SCOTUS, Batman, and Nelson Mandela

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Have you recovered from your tryptophan-induced hibernation? In case it took you a little longer than expected, here is your weekly roundup.

In Washington, D.C., four activists from the “Fast for Families” campaign have broken their fast and passed on the mantle to, among others, Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Jim Wallis.

In Supreme Court news, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the SCOTUS agreed to hear two cases that are challenges to the HHS contraception mandate, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods v. Sebelius. This puts the question before the court as to whether corporate persons can have experience religious conscience.

Meanwhile, The University of Notre Dame has filed another lawsuit opposing the contraception mandate.

This week, the SCOTUS also dismissed a case without comment that challenged the Affordable Care Act Employer mandate, the provision of the ACA that requires employers to provide health insurance to their employees.

In Mexico, a drug cartel has threatened a Catholic seminary. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico City said, “Because they wanted us to pay. Because if not, they would kill one of us. They wanted to extort 60,000 pesos ($4,600).” Yikes!

After some criticism for perceived silence around the issue, the Vatican has announced a new papal advisory commission on sex abuse.

The ACLU is suing the USCCB, charging that the bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services require hospitals to deliver what amounts to substandard medical care.

Twelve nuns have been abducted in Damascus by Syrian opposition fighters.

It is the week after Thanksgiving, so huge Christmas trees are going up in cities everywhere. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin continues to insist that there is a war on Christmas. My exhortation? Don’t forget about Advent.

Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, passed away this past Thursday. As the world grieves the loss of such an iconic and awe-inspiring leader, we remember him for his contribution to make this world a better place.

And now for the Papal Rapid Fire Roundup:

He sneaks out at night to feed the poor. (As Batman?)

Maybe.

He met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Obama quoted him.

He was a night-club bouncer.

He doesn’t like trickle-down capitalism.

He is in some ways indistinguishable from New York mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio.

He’s not just for Catholics anymore.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to spend a little time this weekend, take our reader survey about your music preferences and check out All Saints Catholic Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is featured this month in “Better know a parish.”

Also, remember that it’s Advent, so check out our Advent Special Section here.

That's all, folks! Enjoy the weekend!

Image: Illustration by Angela Cox