Religion news 11 November

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Image credit: Michal parzuchowski

Three Popes failed to curb Theodore McCarrick despite sex abuse allegations

A Vatican report into how the former Cardinal of Washington Theodore McCarrick was promoted despite rumours of sexual misconduct has placed most responsibility on Pope John Paul II, who made him a cardinal in 2001. The report said the Pope had been warned of anonymous allegations by seminarians, that they had been invited to sleep in the same bed. But a series of mistakes by three Popes who “looked the other way” and kept promoting him despite allegations, was outlined. The report said “credible evidence” that McCarrick had abused minors when he was a priest in the 1970s did not surface until 2017. McCarrick, now aged 90 and living in isolation, says he has no recollection of child abuse and he has not commented on allegations of misconduct with adults.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols put church before victims of sexual abuse

A damning report from the UK Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said vulnerable victims of child sexual abuse were repeatedly failed by Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales, who put the reputation of their church first. Allegations were ignored and perpetrators protected. The report outlined “appalling abuse” and said the church’s moral purpose was betrayed. It was particularly damning in its criticism of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who had offered his resignation on reaching the age of 75, but this was not accepted by the Pope.

Church should harness volunteer networks to transform lives

The Church of England should capitalise on the deep well of volunteers willing to become active in local projects, according to a report from Theos and the Church Urban Fund. It suggests a national Church of England volunteering service should be established to connect people of goodwill to local projects. Parish churches could be an excellent vehicle, it says, to engage people of all faiths and none in looking to the needs of their neighbours. The report also suggests that church growth should not be measured by attendance at Sunday services alone, but should measure attendance, engagement or encounter with a church. In a foreword, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell says: “ action creates meaningful relationships spanning divisions of race, faith, social class, and political ideology. Participation .. has the potential to genuinely transform both individuals and communities”

The impact of Covid-19 on Muslim communities and lessons learned

The Muslim Council of Britain has produced a major report on the impact and disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on Muslims in Britain. It suggests there is a need for collective leadership and strong coordination between different Muslim communities. It has identified a need to strengthen the burial sector, through investing in cold storage or external spaces and establishing a centralised system in which the deaths of every Muslim in Britain can be recorded. There should be an acknowledgement that not everyone is online, so public service messages need to be communicated to all, including providing information in different languages. Individuals and organisations need to be reminded to continue to contribute financially.

Pioneer in Islamic study and interfaith relations, honoured in his passing

The Islamic Foundation has announced the death of Ataullah Siddiqui, Professor of Christian-Muslim Relations and Inter-Faith Understanding at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, set up in 2000 to offer higher education qualifications in Islamic studies. Professor Siddiqui was the Director of the Institute from 2001 to 2008, the founder President and Vice Chair of the ‘Christian Muslim Forum’ in England, and a founder member of the Leicester Council of Faiths. His work pioneered programmes in chaplaincy, leadership, the study of Islam and interfaith relations. His passing has led to an outpouring of tributes and sadness.


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