Cardinal George on the HHS mandate

ROME — Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, currently in Rome for a series of meetings with Vatican officials, spoke yesterday with CNS about the church’s ongoing dispute with the Obama administration over the HHS contraception mandate.

The immediate past president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had some insightful observations about what is at stake, and how the dispute could play out in the courts and the political arena.

New England Catholics: ‘Exercise prudence’ going to Mass

The Boston Archdiocese issued a statement Feb. 8 — long before snowflakes in the predicted blizzard started falling — urging Catholics to “exercise prudence” in attending Sunday Mass this weekend.

Boston pedestrian in snow Feb. 8 (CNS photo by Reuters)

Boston pedestrian in snow Feb. 8 (CNS photo by Reuters)

The statement advised Catholics to heed the travel advisories of their cities and towns and to stay off the roads during the peak hours of the storm and plow operation.

It noted that the bulk of the storm would take place Feb. 8-9 and that by Feb. 10 the roads might be clear.

In the event that roads are not clear, it stressed: “The faithful are reminded that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation,” according to canon law.

The Diocese of Providence, R.I., issued a similar statement telling Catholics they should “carefully heed the safety directives of state and local officials.”

It likewise urged Catholics to “use prudence and extreme caution,” stressing that in conditions which are “extremely difficult or dangerous,” Catholics are “dispensed from the normal obligation.”

The blizzard, dubbed Winter Storm Nemo, was expected to dump heavy snow and bring hurricane-force winds to parts of the Northeast starting the afternoon of Feb. 8 and continuing through the next day.