Weekly roundup: ENDA, election day, and Pope Francis' "first encyclical"

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It's been another busy week in the news, but in case you missed some of it, this is your weekly roundup!

In Washington it's been a good news/bad news kind of week. 

Good news: The Employment Nondiscrimination Act finally got passed in the Senate, after gaining support from 64 senators, more than breaking through the 60-vote barrier required to defeat the Republican filibuster.

Bad news: The bill now moves to the House, where Speaker John Boehner has made it clear that he will not allow it to come up for a vote. Also to be filed under bad news: Three bishops released a letter to the U.S. Senators opposing the bill.

Good news: The roll-out of the Affordable Care Act has continued, and seems to be improving.

Bad news: It's still not going as smoothly as most would like it to.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, the State Senate and House both passed legislation making the state the 15th to legalize same-sex marriage. One lawmaker directly cited Pope Francis' now-famous quotation: "Who am I to judge?" Not everyone was happy about the decision, however. Cardinal George told the Sun-Times, "It’s no enormous surprise. There was a lot of effort placed into passage of this legislation. I think it’s bad legislation, but we’ve lived with bad laws before. It’ll make some people happy … but it will also, I think, change the nature of our society over a period of time."

Tuesday of this week was election day, and there were a few change-ups that happened. The town of SeaTac, Washington raised its minimum wage to $15/hour, while the state voted down a measure that would require labels for genetically modified foods. See Elizabeth Lefebvre's election day comments here. 

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week about prayer in public meetings, and just how religious those prayers ought to be.

The USCCB is slated to meet next week in Baltimore. At this point, their agenda consists of a statement on pornography and electing a new president. See Scott Alessi's commentary for who might be up for the job. And our friends over at the National Catholic Reporter have some advice for the bishops for some preparatory reading.

November is Black Catholic History Month. Check out resources, both from U.S. Catholic and other sources around the web here.

An Italian Cardinal believes in the importance of environmentally conscious actions. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples said, ''Those who pollute are not in the grace of God and can not take communion."

The USCCB may not like ENDA, but they are upping the pressure on lawmakers to pass immigration reform.

Pope Francis made the news (and the internet rounds) yet again this week in an act of compassion and mercy toward a man whose skin was covered with tumors. The photo of the pontiff's compassion has gone viral and once again upped the #popecrush to 11. In fact, the Catholic Herald called the photo the pope's first "real encyclical."

Well, that's all for now, folks. May you have a beautiful and compassion-filled weekend.