In today's Catholic Daily Roundup, top stories include what congress is squeezing into its upcoming 12 day legislative session, the 1.3% pay raise federal employees will soon gain, and Pope Francis' most recent radical move to revise the process by which Catholics may annul their marriages.

"World belongs to humanity, not this leader, that leader, or that king or prince or religious leader. World belongs to humanity." (Dalai Lama)

Today's Gospel: "She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

In the News:

  • When Congress returns for business on Tuesday, lawmakers have scheduled a mere 12 legislative days to find a bipartisan compromise to keep the government open, vote on one of the most contentious foreign policy matters in a generation, reconcile the future of funding for Planned Parenthood, and to greet Pope Francis.
  • Federal employees are on track for a 1.3 % pay raise in January, following a decision by President Obama to set that figure by default if Congress continues to follow its strategy of action by inaction on the raise. A letter sent to Congress Friday stating that intent is a routine step that is required when Congress has not set a raise for the upcoming year by the end of August.

Pope Francis and church news:

  • Pope Francis on Tuesday radically revised the process by which Catholics may annul their marriages, streamlining steps that many in the church considered too cumbersome and costly. The move is the latest in a series of reforms by Francis as he seeks to make the church more responsive to the real needs of lay Catholics, especially those who have long felt marginalized by the hierarchy.
  • In light of the massive refugee crisis in Europe, Pope Francis announced Sunday that he will give temporary housing in the Vatican to at least two refugee families and asked that every European parish, monastery, and shrine do the same. The pontiff said, “Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war, death, and hunger, who are on their way toward life’s hope, the Gospel calls us to be near to the smallest and abandoned.”
  • When Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States this month he will face a national Catholic Church whose finances are staggering under a shrinking membership and huge payouts to sex-abuse victims, threatening to undermine its social influence. With the Church still absorbing the roughly $3 billion cost of a clergy sex abuse scandal, another financial crisis is looming -- a potentially crippling shortfall in funding the pensions of its aging priests.

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