Update on the latest religion news

RIGHT TO DIE-CALIFORNIA

California lawmakers advance right-to-die legislation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have advanced a right-to-die bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives under a doctor’s care.

The state Senate passed the measure 23 to 14, sending it to the Assembly, but opposition has been fierce.

Critics, including the Catholic Church, have called the practice “assisted suicide” and say it goes against the will of God. Others have said they worry that terminally ill patients would feel pressured to end their lives to avoid burdening their families.

But Democratic state Sen. Holly Mitchell supported the bill, saying it “will not force me, if it is not my religious, cultural, ethical belief to do this. It gives me the right, and gives me access to make a personal choice.”

The bill faces several legislative hurdles before it could become law, and Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, doesn’t comment on pending legislation.

Sound:

288-a-15-(State Senator Mike Morrell (mohr-REHL’), R-23rd District, in floor debate)-“score one basket”-California State Senator Mike Morrell, who objects to the End of Life Option Act, says people should remember how inspirational 19-year-old Lauren Hill, of Mount St. Joseph University was, before dying of brain cancer. (4 Jun 2015)

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289-a-12-(Dan Diaz, husband of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who moved to Oregon to end her life last November, with reporters at state capitol)-“fewer people suffering”-Dan Diaz, whose 29-year-old wife Brittany Maynard ended her life last year in Oregon, says the legislation offers a humane option to those who are terminally-ill. (4 Jun 2015)

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292-a-14-(Deborah Ziegler, mother of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who moved to Oregon to end her life last November, with reporters at state capitol)-“nowhere to go”-Deborah Ziegler, whose terminally-ill daughter 29-year-old Brittany Maynard ended her life last year, says she hopes that others won’t have to move out-of-state to be able to end their lives, like her daughter did. (4 Jun 2015)

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291-a-11-(Deborah Ziegler, mother of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who moved to Oregon to end her life last November, with reporters at state capitol)-“the last minute”-Deborah Ziegler, whose terminally-ill daughter 29-year-old Brittany Maynard ended her life last year, says the right to decide when to die was the kindest thing that could have happened for her daughter, who had to move to Oregon for that right. (4 Jun 2015)

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290-a-18-(Dan Diaz, husband of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who moved to Oregon to end her life last November, with reporters at state capitol)-“own dying process”-Dan Diaz, whose 29-year-old wife Brittany Maynard ended her life last year in Oregon, says no one with a painful terminal illness should have to suffer. ((note length of cut)) (4 Jun 2015)

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287-a-14-(State Senator Mike Morrell (mohr-REHL’), R-23rd District, in flood debate)-“for eternal hope”-California State Senator Mike Morrell, who objects to the End of Life Option Act, says many philosophers and authors have shown the value of human suffering. (4 Jun 2015)

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285-a-11-(State Senator Lois Welk, D-3rd Senate District, co-sponsor of the End of Life Option Act, in floor debate)-“lives in peace”-California State Senator Lois Welk, who co-sponsored the End of Life Option Act, asks fellow lawmakers to support the legislation that allows a terminally-ill patient to take life-ending drugs. (4 Jun 2015)

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286-a-06-(State Senator Lois Welk, D-3rd Senate District, co-sponsor of the End of Life Option Act, in floor debate)-“the humane option”-California State Senator Lois Welk, who co-sponsored the End of Life Option Act, says only those with no chance of treatment or cure would be given a prescription to help them hasten their death. Updated: 06/04/2015-08:31:49 PM ET (4 Jun 2015)

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315-a-09-(State Senator Jeff Stone, R-28th District, in floor remarks)-“on this planet”-California State Senator Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, says there are religious grounds for not supporting assisted suicide. (4 Jun 2015)

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316-a-10-(State Senator Jeff Stone, R-28th District, in floor remarks)-“is a sin”-California State Senator Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, says assisted suicide violates the faiths of many Californians. (4 Jun 2015)

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318-a-08-(State Senator Jeff Stone, R-28th District, in floor remarks)-“is worth living”-California State Senator Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, says Muslims oppose assisted suicide. (4 Jun 2015)

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314-a-09-(California State Senator Jeff Stone, R- 28th District, in floor debate)-“your no vote”-California State Senator Jeff Stone says legislators aren’t qualified to determine if someone should live or die. ((longer version of cut used in wrap)) (4 Jun 2015)

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313-w-27-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with state Senator Jeff Stone, R-California)–The California Senate has passed and sent the state Assembly a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives under a doctor’s care. But AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman says opposition has been fierce. (4 Jun 2015)

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317-a-16-(State Senator Jeff Stone, R-28th District, in floor remarks)-“aiding in dying”-California State Senator Jeff Stone, a pharmacist, says Catholics are only one religion that condemns assisted suicide. (4 Jun 2015)

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312-w-36-(Ross Simpson, AP correspondent, with state senator Lois Welk, D-3rd District and Dan Diaz, husband of Brittany Maynard)–The California senate has passed and sent to the Assembly a bill to allow terminally-ill patients in the nation’s most populous state to end their lives under a doctor’s care. AP correspondent Ross Simpson reports. (4 Jun 2015)

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BICYCLIST KILLED-BISHOP

Ex-bishop’s drunken-driving trial postponed until September

BALTIMORE (AP) — A trial has been postponed for a former Episcopal bishop charged in the drunken-driving death of a bicyclist in Maryland.

Heather Cook’s trial was scheduled to start Thursday in Baltimore, but a judge granted her attorney’s request for a postponement after Cook waived her right to a speedy trial. Her trial is now set for Sept. 9.

Cook pleaded not guilty in April and is free on $2.5 million bail. She resigned from her post with the Episcopal Church, and church officials revoked her clergy credentials.

Cook faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and distracted driving stemming from a Dec. 27 crash. Prosecutors say Cook was drunk and texting when she fatally struck 41-year-old Tom Palermo on his bicycle.

Cook had been the second-highest ranking bishop leader in Maryland.

MCCRORY-VETOES

Gay marriage override vote in NC House pushed back again

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House has adjourned for the weekend without formally deciding whether to cancel Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of legislation allowing some government officials to avoid performing gay marriages based on their religious beliefs.

The vetoed bill was listed on the House agenda Thursday but not acted upon for a second consecutive day.

House Rules Chairman David Lewis says a vote hasn’t occurred because a few members were absent this week. Lewis also acknowledged that some fellow Republicans are on the fence about an override. The North Carlina Senate voted earlier in the week to override McCrory’s May 28 veto.

McCrory told reporters Thursday that he believes there’s arm-twisting going on in the House and a vote should be performed within a reasonable period.

Lewis says the bill will remain on the daily agenda until there’s a vote or Speaker Tim Moore decides there won’t be one, allowing the veto to remain in place.

VATICAN-ENCYCLICAL

Pope’s eagerly awaited environment encyclical due June 18

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis’ much-anticipated encyclical on the environment will be published June 18.

The Vatican has been preparing for the release of the papal document with conferences, speeches and book launches.

Francis has said global warming is “mostly” man-made and that humanity has a moral duty to stop it.

Environmentalists are eager for the pope to lend his moral authority to the issue ahead of U.N. climate talks this year in Paris, but climate change skeptics have voiced alarm at the pope getting involved.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a Catholic, said this week that he wishes the pope would “leave science to the scientists.”

Sound:

239-v-33-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)–The Vatican says Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment will be published June 18. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (4 Jun 2015)

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BOSNIA-POPE’S VISIT

Pope hopes to bridge religious divide in war-scarred Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Pope Francis will visit religiously-mixed Bosnia on Saturday.

For centuries, Sarajevo was known as “Europe’s Jerusalem,” where Christianity, Islam and Judaism lived in harmony. But in the 1990s, the city became synonymous with religious enmity, as Christian Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Bosniaks plunged into a calamitous cycle of warfare.

The majority-Muslim city is gearing up to give the pontiff an ecstatic embrace. Already Francis teacups are being sold on souvenir stands next to the statue of St. John Paul II on the main square. Muslim carpenters have crafted a wooden throne for the pope to sit on and Catholic craftsmen have built an altar for the Mass he will perform.

In Srebrenica (sreh-breh-NEET’-sah), the scene of Europe’s worst carnage since World War II, a mixed choir of Muslim and Christian Orthodox children is practicing a song of love they will sing to the pope.

VATICAN-RUSSIA

Russia’s Putin to visit Pope Francis June 10 at the Vatican

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Pope Francis on June 10 at the Vatican.

Putin last called on Francis on Nov. 25, 2013.

Putin is also expected to visit Russia’s pavilion at the Expo world’s fair in Milan, where June 10 has been slated as Russia’s national day.

After nearly a half-century of hostility between the Vatican and the Kremlin during the Cold War, a major breakthrough came just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 when the Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, met the Polish-born pontiff, John Paul II.

After a 2009 visit by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia and the Holy See upgraded their diplomatic relations to full-fledged ties, with ambassadors.

SANTA FE ARCHBISHOP

New Santa Fe archbishop installed in new era for archdiocese

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe Archdiocese has a new leader.

Archbishop John Wester was installed Thursday at a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, replacing retiring Archbishop Michael Sheehan.

Wester takes over a region that includes around 300,000 parishioners and has a rich history that began more than four centuries ago with the arrival of Spanish colonists. But he also inherits an archdiocese that is still facing lawsuits related to decades-old allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests.

The 64-year-old Wester says he wants to focus on poverty and immigration.

Guests at the instillation included two cardinals, numerous bishops and a representative of Pope Francis.

Wester, who was bishop in Salt Lake City, was appointed in April.

AUSTRALIA-CHURCH ABUSE PROBE

Vatican’s No. 3 fights allegations in Australian abuse probe

SYDNEY (AP) — Cardinal George Pell has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in his native Australia, and now that he is the Vatican’s third-most-powerful official, the scrutiny is more intense than ever.

Pell, whom Pope Francis placed in charge of the Vatican’s finances last year, is accused of creating a victims’ compensation program mainly to protect the church’s assets and of using aggressive tactics to discourage victims’ lawsuits, all while he was a bishop in Australia.

Pell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and defended his record. But the investigation by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is raising eyebrows in the Vatican, where the pope promised to hold bishops accountable for failing to protect children and care for victims.

The Vatican’s position was further complicated this week when Peter Saunders, a member of Pope Francis’ sexual abuse advisory commission, spoke out against Pell.

NETHERLANDS-WILDERS-MUSLIMS

Muslims: Wilders’ plan to broadcast cartoons is provocation

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Muslims in the Netherlands are calling Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders’ plan to broadcast cartoons of their Prophet Muhammad on national television a provocation.

But there was no sign of unrest Thursday, the day after Wilders announced his plan, and it appears that followers of Islam in the Netherlands may be growing accustomed to his fierce criticism of their faith.

Lawyer Ejder Koese, who once represented a Muslim organization that tried unsuccessfully to have a short film made by Wilders banned, says the lack of public anger comes because Muslims in the Netherlands “are no longer easy to offend.”

Wilders’ past criticism of Islam has sparked outrage in the Muslim world and death threats that have led to him living under round-the-clock protection.