US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Weekly Roundup: Church arson, a new vaccine law, and Katy Perry vs. nuns

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Happy Friday! As always, your weekly roundup:

Fires at several predominantly black churches in Southern states over the past two weeks—at least three of them attributed to arson—raise concerns about potential fallout from the recent South Carolina church shooting.

The governor of California signed a law barring religious or personal exemptions for vaccination, which means kids in school will no longer be able to skip the shots normally required to attend.

The Supreme Court upheld the use of a controversial drug in lethal injection executions Monday, as two dissenting justices said for the first time that they think it’s “highly likely” that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional.

The schedule for Pope Francis' visit to the United States was released this week. It includes a stop at a school in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a correctional facility in Philadelphia.

Episcopalians voted Wednesday to allow religious weddings for gay couples, but not every priest will necessarily officiate at a same-sex wedding.

The United Nations on Wednesday declared its highest-level humanitarian emergency in conflict-torn Yemen, where over 80 percent of the population needs assistance. U.N. officials have said the Middle East's most impoverished country is a step away from famine.

The Vatican added Canadian activist Naomi Klein to its ecological team Wednesday, hosting the self-described secular Jewish feminist at a climate conference. Klein admitted to surprise at being invited to speak at the Vatican, saying it illustrates a “growing understanding” about environmental concerns.

The world’s Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli thinktank said in its annual report.

Lawyers for a Christian ministry building a Noah’s ark theme park said Wednesday that Kentucky officials violated First Amendment religious protections when they denied the project a tax incentive worth millions.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez is sparring with elderly Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over the pending sale of the nuns' former convent to international superstar singer Katy Perry.

And now for the papal rapid fire roundup

This week, Pope Francis:

Friday, July 3, 2015