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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, despite her position in support of abortion rights. Pelosi attended the morning Mass on Wednesday marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two people who witnessed the moment said she received Communion along with the rest of the congregants. Pelosi also met with Pope Francis before Mass and received his blessing, according to one of the people. Pelosi’s home archbishop has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.

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Two of Congress’ staunchest conservatives repelled more centrist challengers to lock up Republican nominations on Tuesday. That happened even as the party’s voters chose to turn out a six-term incumbent in Mississippi. Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller, who called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life” during a weekend rally with former President Donald Trump — her spokesperson said she misspoke — defeated fellow GOP incumbent Rodney Davis. Another Trump ally, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of Congress’ most polarizing members, easily beat back a challenge from a more mainstream Republican. Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, a six-term incumbent, lost to Sheriff Mike Ezell.

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The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans, looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them. That's according to law enforcement officials and others familiar with the inquiry who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.  More than a dozen alleged abuse victims have so far been interviewed as part of the probe that comes as the Archdiocese of New Orleans reels from a bankruptcy brought on by a flood of sex abuse lawsuits and allegations church leaders turned a blind eye to generations of predator priests.

AP
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The thousands of killings under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs have left families in agony and a savage side to his legacy. Duterte ends his turbulent six-year presidency Thursday after building a reputation for expletives-laced outbursts and a disdain for human rights and the West. He's seen as “a human rights calamity” not only for the deaths in his drug crackdown, but also for his brazen attacks on critical media, the Catholic church and his political opponents. He's still an endearing, popular character to many Filipinos, however, and state-run TV has been highlighting infrastructure and poverty-alleviating projects of his administration. But in the homes of those lost in the drug war, an air of indignation and mourning permeates.

The Supreme Court says that a high school football coach who knelt and prayed on the field after games is protected by the Constitution. It's a decision that opponents say will open the door to “much more coercive prayer” in public schools. The court ruled 6-3 for the coach with the court’s conservative justices in the majority and its liberals in dissent. The justices in the majority emphasized that the coach’s prayer happened after the game was over. The liberal justices in the minority said there was evidence that the coach’s prayer at the 50-yard-line had a coercive effect and it let him incorporate his “personal religious beliefs into a school event.”

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Hundreds of so-called crisis pregnancy centers are located across every state in the U.S. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that states can make abortion illegal, experts say these centers are likely to redouble their efforts to persuade women not to end their pregnancies. The logistics work in their favor, since many women won’t have the legal option of abortion without leaving their state. Some 2,500 pregnancy centers are located across the country, while there are fewer than 800 abortion clinics. Often religiously affiliated, the anti-abortion centers are not licensed medical facilities and do not provide medical services such as pre- or post-natal care or other health care for uninsured women.

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Seven states are set to host primary elections Tuesday as the nation comes to terms with last week’s stunning Supreme Court ruling eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. The slate of nominating contests could offer the first clues as to whether the political landscape has shifted. Abortion is a particularly relevant issue in Colorado, where GOP voters are deciding whether to nominate a rare pro-choice Republican in the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate contest. The primaries will also offer new insight about the state of the Republican Party. The central issue in virtually every GOP contest remains fealty to former President Donald Trump and his baseless conspiracy theories.

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Praise and lament for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend. Clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context -- and competing messages -- about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans in the wake of the seismic Dobbs v. Jackson decision. In Pittsburgh on Sunday, one Catholic priest called Friday “a day of great joy” because of the ruling, although a few people left during his homily. A minister in New York City mourned the decision, saying, “We are reeling.”

AP
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In Lebanon, a debate over civil marriages is mired in religious and political entanglements. The controversy has flared up anew after a few recently elected lawmakers raised their hands in approval when asked on television whether they would vote for “optional” civil marriage. That infuriated those insisting marriages here must remain under religious authorities’ purview. Many civil marriage proponents argue that the battle over how to say “I do” is part of a larger fight about increasing civil and personal rights, eroding the religious power within the country’s sectarian system and, ultimately, chipping away at the sectarian divides ingrained in politics and beyond. Opponents decry civil marriage as an affront to faith.

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A day after the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling overturning Roe v. Wade ended the constitutional right to abortion, emotional protests and prayer vigils are turning to resolve as several states enact bans and both supporters and foes of abortion rights map out their next moves. A Texas group that helps women pay for abortions has halted its efforts while evaluating its legal risk under a ban it says will disproportionately hurt poor and minority women. Mississippi’s only abortion clinic is continuing to see patients while awaiting a 10-day notice that will trigger a ban. Some elected officials are vowing to protect women’s access to abortion, while opponents of the procedure say their fight is far from over.