Special Reports

50th Anniversary of Vatican II

The first major document of Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium

On Dec. 4, 1963, Pope Paul VI promulgated The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium). Liturgy had been the first topic debated and Sacrosanctum Concilium became the first document ratified by the Second Vatican Council.

Poverty in America

In September 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report, “Income, Poverty and Health Coverage in the United States 2011.” To say the figures were troubling is an understatement. In 2011, the report indicated that a staggering 46.2 million people (15 percent of the U.S. population) lived in poverty (and every indication is that these numbers have continued to grow). The percentages were even higher for the following groups: children (21.9 percent), African Americans (27.6 percent), Hispanics (25.3 percent), the disabled (28.8 percent) and women (16.3 percent).

War in Syria

On March 15, 2011, the so-called Arab Spring arrived in the Middle Eastern nation of Syria taking the form of demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. The growth of the demonstrations soon provoked Assad, whose family has been in power since 1971, into deploying the army against the uprising. The resulting civil war soon grew to its current state which finds approximately nine separate factions all pitted against the government.

U.S. bishop's statement on Supreme Court decisions on marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The statement follows:

Pope's Resignation

At 8 p.m. (Rome time) on February 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI’s reign as Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church came to an end. He had bid farewell to a large crowd gathered at the Vatican City a few hours earlier to travel to Castel Gandolfo, where he will live for about two months before moving to a monastery inside the Vatican City. Greeted by several hundred more of the faithful upon his arrival, the Pope offered his final apostolic blessing and departed the Castel Gandolfo balcony saying, “Thank you and good night. Thanks to all of you.”

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