Religion news 26 July 2022

Image credit: Vatican media live

Pope Francis begs forgiveness for abuse at Catholic residential schools in Canada

Pope Francis has apologised to indigenous survivors of child abuse committed at residential schools run by the Catholic church in Canada over a period of 100 years until the 1990s. A total of 150,000 children were forcibly removed from their homes to be assimilated into Canadian society, but they were cruelly abused and worse. In recent years, hundreds of unmarked graves have been found on former school sites. On day one of a five-day visit to Canada, he addressed First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in Maskwacis, Alberta, saying he humbly begged forgiveness for the evil committed against indigenous peoples, and asked for forgiveness for the ways in which many members of the church co-operated. He also called for a serious investigation into the schools and more help to survivors and descendants.

Lambeth Conference call on same-sex marriage to be revised

A controversial call to the Lambeth conference, seeking reaffirmation of a ban on same-sex marriage, is to be revised after a furious row. The “call”, or motion, asked the bishops attending the conference to reaffirm the notorious “Resolution I:10” from 1998, saying the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions cannot be advised and that it was the mind of the communion to uphold faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union. The wording ignited global anger, with bishops taking to Twitter to vent their shock. It led the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to call a meeting with the group charged with drawing up the call and last night a statement from Lambeth Palace said “the drafting group for the call on human dignity will be making some revisions to the call which will be republished. The statement also said that bishops would now be allowed to vote against any motions, having previously been prevented from doing so. Bishops from the Episcopalian Church of the USA (Ecusa) which allows same-sex marriage, are meeting in Canterbury tomorrow (Wednesday) to discern their collective response.

Deliberate subversion at Lambeth conference?

The episode has led to intense questioning of what went wrong. The conference was meant to be a time for reconciliation and looking out to world issues, not internal disputes again. Bishop Kevin Robertson, from Toronto, said on Facebook that he was on the sub-group responsible for producing the call on human dignity and it had never even discussed Resolution I:10. The wording did not represent anything the group had produced. The sub-group’s other members included Anglican Communion Office representatives and bishops from Nairobi and southeast Asia. Church Times contacted all members and concluded that not all appeared to have been present at all meetings. The debacle has given rise to suggestions that the process was deliberately subverted. The Bishop of Rhode Island, Nicholas Knisely, said a fellow bishop pointed out that the fact that the call statements were produced quietly, without broad consultation, and announced at the last minute, wasn’t an accident and didn’t happen without planning. Bishops start arriving for the conference in Canterbury today, for two days of private retreat before business begins.

Christian Legal Centre says Archie’s parents have been forced into legal fight

The parents of Archie Battersbee, 12, have lost their latest appeal against a decision to allow his life-support treatment to end. He was found unconscious at home on 7 April after, it is believed, an online game went wrong. His parents have been represented by the Christian Legal Centre as they challenged the hospital’s assertion that Archie was brain dead and it was in his best interests to end life support. They lost in the High Court in May, won in June and lost again yesterday. There is a 48-hour delay while his parents decide whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said Archie’s parents had been forced into a relentless legal fight because they wanted their critically ill son to have more time and to be given every chance of recovery.

Westminster Holocaust memorial plans to be pursued in the Commons

The two Conservative leadership candidates have been urged to back plans for legislation to allow the Westminster Holocaust memorial and learning centre project to go ahead. The design and location at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, has provoked opposition. Consent to the plans was rejected by the High Court in April and last week the Court of Appeal decided that an appeal would not be heard. One of the scheme’s backers, Robert Jenrick MP, called for a “simple three-clause bill” to be brought, but he has been told it will only happen if the two leadership candidates give their approval. Jewish News story here

Tiny rural Orthodox church in Cornwall runs services in seven languages

The priest in charge of a tiny Orthodox church in a former Methodist chapel in Cornwall is offering to help Ukrainian refugees. Father Nikitas Lantsbery, 83, said they would share the Orthodox pattern of liturgy and a Ukrainian translator would help. A report by Lee Trewhela on Cornwall Live explains that the tiny chapel on a country lane in Ponsanooth, serves a wide variety of people already, in many languages including English. The creed and Lord’s Prayer are frequently translated for visitors and migrant workers, into Romanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek and Russian. The church began in 1996 and its plain Methodist interior now houses Byzantine icons.


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