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In today's Catholic Daily Roundup, top stories include the California's agreement to overhaul its use of solitary confinement in its prisons, Pope Francis' announcement to allow Roman Catholic Priests to absolve women who have had abortions, and the Pontiff's virtual audience with Americans earlier today.

"There are things you do because they feel right and they make no sense and they make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other (and to eat each other's cooking) and to say it was good!" (Sister Dorothy Stang)

Today's Gospel: "He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority" (Luke 4:31-32)

In the News:

  • Despite a Supreme Court ruling that compelled a Rowan County clerk in Kentucky to give out marriage licenses to gay couples, Kim Davis refused to comply once again on Tuesday morning by denying marriage licenses to everyone. Ryland Barton, a reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, reports that Davis said she made the decision "under God's authority."
  • California has agreed to an overhaul of its use of solitary confinement in its prisons,including strict limits on the prolonged isolation of inmates, as part of a legal settlement filed in federal court on Tuesday. The settlement is expected to sharply reduce the number of inmates held in isolation in the state, after several years in which tens of thousands of prisoners took part in hunger strikes to protest the use of solitary confinement, lawyers for the inmates say.
  • President Barack Obama challenged fellow world leaders in unusually blunt language Monday to act boldly on climate change or "condemn our children to a world they will no longer have the capacity to repair." In a forceful address, Obama opened the "GLACIER" conference in Anchorage, Alaska, by declaring: "We are not moving fast enough."

Pope Francis and church news:

  • The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will allow Roman Catholic Priests to absolve women who have had abortions if they seek forgiveness during the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy. The Argentinian Pontiff said he will allow priests "discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it." He continued, "I am well aware of the pressure that has led [women] to this decision, I know that this is an existential and moral ordeal."
  • Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience with Americans from around the country earlier today. The Pontiff engaged via satellite with individuals from three different groups: students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city, congregants from a McAllen, Texas, church located near the U.S.-Mexico border and homeless men, and women and those working with the homeless in Los Angeles.
  • Ira Helfand, co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, hopes Pope Francis will call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons when he addresses Congress in September. Helfand has reason for cautious optimism. In June, Helfand sat down with Cardinal Sean O'Malley who said he would pass the information on to Francis whom he was to meet in Rome three days later.

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