Vatican makes progress on pushing drug availability for kids with HIV

By Paul Jeffrey
Catholic News Service

AMSTERDAM (CNS) -- An initiative to identify and properly treat children living with HIV has gained new momentum as international organizations and pharmaceutical companies respond to a Vatican push to look past profit to doing the right thing.

Few children in the developed world get infected with HIV anymore, so there's little market for drug makers to earn a return on their investment. Children do get infected in poor countries, however, but there's little profit to be made selling them drugs.

Enter Pope Francis.

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Update: Pope revises catechism to say death penalty is 'inadmissible'

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Building on the development of Catholic Church teaching against capital punishment, Pope Francis has ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assert "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" and to commit the church to working toward its abolition worldwide.

The catechism's paragraph on capital punishment, 2267, already had been updated by St. John Paul II in 1997 to strengthen its skepticism about the need to use the death penalty in the modern world and, particularly, to affirm the importance of protecting all human life.

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DiNardo: Church must address its leaders' 'moral failures of judgment'

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick "will rightly face" a Vatican canonical process regarding sexual abuse allegations against him, but the U.S. Catholic Church must take steps to respond to church leaders' "moral failures of judgment," said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The accusations against Archbishop McCarrick, a former cardinal and retired archbishop of Washington, "reveal a grievous moral failure within the church," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

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Archbishop Coakley letter to the faithful

In response to recent allegations regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Coakley issued a letter to the Catholic faithful, clergy and religious men and women, expressing his concern about the lack of reporting and action in the alleged incidents, and issuing a call for U.S. bishops to re-examine the standards and procedures for reporting abuse.

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Immaculate Conception celebrates final Mass, honors Fr. Pupius

By Debi Wagner
The Sooner Catholic

July 1 marked the end of an era for one Oklahoma City parish as the final Mass was celebrated at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Father George Pupius, pastor of Immaculate Conception, recently retired due to ill health, and with changing populations and surrounding industrialization, the parish was closed. Archbishop Coakley was the principal celebrant at the final Mass. He was joined by Father William Novak, Father Gerard MacAulay, Father Don Wolf and Deacon James Keene.

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Beloved priest nurse to retire

By Steve Gust
The Sooner Catholic

Mary Diane Steltenkamp, an extraordinary friend and caregiver to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, is celebrating her friendships and successes as she prepares for retirement this month.

“I am grateful for the care, expertise and sacrifice of Mary Diane in her service to the archdiocese as our Priest Nurse,” Archbishop Coakley said. “Mary Diane loves priests. She brought comfort and laughter to many of our priests, helping them to navigate important health decisions and even to prepare for the end of their earthly life. She will be missed.”

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Church groups race to help families

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – In public and behind the scenes of a court order that immigrant families separated by the U.S. government be reunited by the end of July 26, the Catholic Church, from its leadership to its charitable and advocacy organizations, worked around the clock to speed up the effort.

Catholic humanitarian organizations rushed to collect material help, bishops loudly denounced the separation policy, and groups such as Catholic Extension established a fund to shelter, feed and defend some of the separated immigrant families.

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Enrichment programs strengthen, encourage joyful marriages

By Eliana Tedrow
The Sooner Catholic

Five years ago, Pope Francis looked over the sea of volunteers at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro and gave advice to married couples:

“Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. ... They say that it is not worth making a lifelong commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘forever,’ because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love.” 

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Abbey, monks honor St. Kateri feast day

The Benedictine monks of Saint Gregory’s Abbey hosted their annual Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Pilgrimage Day on July 14, her feast day.

Saint Kateri, who died in 1680, is the first American Indian recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Also known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Pope Benedict XVI canonized her on Oct. 12, 2012.

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Assumption celebrates annual vacation Bible school

By Jolene Schonchin
The Sooner Catholic

This year’s theme of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s annual vacation Bible school was “Shipwrecked.” The summer program held June 25-29 in Duncan featured images of the ocean and underwater, which transformed the church’s auditorium into a colorful aquatic world for the youth who attended.

With 67 students enrolled, they averaged around 50 students per day, according to Maria Martinez, Assumption’s religious education director. Each evening began around 5 p.m. with a warm meal for the students.

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