Religion news 2 August 2022

Image credit: Lambeth conference

Same-sex marriage and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops

The Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops will discuss today their deeply held disagreement over same-sex marriage and relationships. They are simply being asked to confirm they are divided. But the Global South Fellowship Association, representing conservative bishops in the southern hemisphere, has announced that it will publish its own “call” to reaffirm the infamous Resolution l.10, banning same-sex marriage, which was passed in 1998. They will issue the call and ask for a vote through a privately distributed email and printed sheets to all those bishops who may want to support it. Representatives met the Archbishop of Canterbury at the weekend to discuss their concerns, and there were reports that he promised to issue a clarification of the Anglican’s guidance. But yesterday he issued a statement saying the reports “should not be seen as reliable accounts of a conversation between primates conducted in the spirit of prayerful dialogue”. Read our timeline of Lambeth and the same-sex story here

Anglican congress idea explored

The conference decided to explore the possibility of holding an Anglican Congress in the southern hemisphere, which would attract thousands of Anglicans, lay and ordained. Similar congresses have been held twice before in 1908 and 1963, attracting about 16,000 people each time.

End of life-support closure for 12-year old-Archie Battersbee

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the withdrawal of life support for Archie Battersbee, 12, should not be postponed beyond Tuesday. The case has been before numerous courts since Archie was found unconscious in April, after a reported online stunt went tragically wrong. In the latest and final hearing, the Court of Appeal refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond noon today (Tuesday). The legal challenges have been supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Pope to visit world congress of religious leaders

Pope Francis will visit Kazakhstan from 13-15 September, for the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The congress will consider the role of religion and faith leaders after the Covid pandemic. It was initiated in 2003 by the president of Kazakhstan, a country with borders between Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. It says that over 20 years, Kazakhstan has created its own social model of interethnic and interreligious harmony.

Patriarch Kirill barred from entering Lithuania

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, a vocal supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been barred from entry to Lithuania. The Ministry of the Interior included his name on a list of “persona non grata”. The Orthodox Times reports that the Orthodox Church of Lithuania has filed a request to be granted autonomy from Moscow

Baha’is arrested in Iran on spying charges

The Associated Press reports that Iran’s intelligence ministry says it has arrested Baha’is for spying and of working illegally to spread their religion. It says the announcement was made on state television, which linked the arrests to the Baha’i headquarters and spiritual home in Haifa, Israel.  The Bahai International Community told France 24 that allegations of spying for Israel have been used as a pretext for persecution for decades and have never been substantiated. Its statement is here.

Religion ‘a way of hope not a set of beliefs

Philip Goff, associate professor in philosophy at Durham University, suggests that religion is not an abstract intellectual pursuit that requires a set of beliefs, but a matter of commitment and engagement. In an article for Psyche, he explains that “there is more to a religion than a cold set of doctrines”. He says that spiritual practices, traditions that bind a community together and rituals marking signposts of life may not assume a set of beliefs but indicate a way of living in hope that there is a deeper purpose to existence.

Roman sanctuary remains discovered in the Netherlands

A Roman temple complex to a plural female divinity, the Junones, has been discovered in the Netherlands. The Junones merge the Roman goddess Juno with the Celtic-Germanic goddesses Matres and Matronae, an adaptation in an area of different groups and cultures. Archaeologists have found several temples, votive altars to other different Roman gods and sacrificial fire pits. It is said to be the best -reserved Roman sanctuary in the Netherlands.


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