By a 216-214 vote, the House of Representatives has passed a controversial budget-cutting bill opposed vigorously as “immoral” by mainline and ecumenical church leaders late in 2005. The bill, which President Bush said he would sign, trims federal budget programs by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The February 1 vote by the House included no Democrats in favor.
Pope Benedict XVI has issued the first encyclical of his papacy, dedicating Roman Catholicism’s highest form of writing to a reflection on love and charity that calls for a “purification” of erotic love between men and women.
Faced with howls of protest, Mayor Ray Nagin apologized January 17 for claiming that a vengeful God smote New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of heavenly disapproval of America’s involvement in Iraq and of rampant violence within urban black communities.