Religion news 26 May 2022

Image credit: © Historic England/CAU

Archbishop of Canterbury says standards in public life need to be rediscovered

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said society needs to rediscover standards in public life, following the publication of Sue Gray’s report into parties held at Number Ten during lockdowns. In a twitter thread, he said: “Sue Gray’s report shows that culture, behaviour and standards in public life really matter. We need to be able to trust our national institutions, particularly in times of great trouble. Jesus commands us to serve the most vulnerable and those in need. To help achieve this we must recover the principles of mutual flourishing and the common good in the way we are governed. Standards in public life are the glue that holds us together – we need to rediscover them and abide by them”.

Calls from Scotland for a windfall tax to help the poorest in society

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has called for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help tackle the “crisis of fuel poverty”. At its conference in Edinburgh, representatives voted for a motion urging the UK Government to take immediate action to help the poorest in society who have been hit hardest by soaring energy bills. The Rev Mike Goss, a minister from Angus, said a settlement was a priority for people who will be “choosing to heat or eat”. There is speculation that the government is preparing to announce measures to ease the rising cost of living burden as soon as today.  

Catholic leaders speak out against America’s gun laws following tragedy in Texas

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, has appealed for urgent action against America’s gun laws, following the killing of 19 children and two adults in a school in Texas. In a statement, he said: “The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai. The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too and our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.” He said America was “awash in guns” with more firearms than people. The Pope said he was heartbroken at the news and was praying for those who died and their families: “It is time to say ‘enough’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms”.

Pope sends greeting to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow

The Associated Press reports that the Pope has sent a greeting on the feast day of St Cyril, to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, assuring him of prayers. The moderate tone is said to be evidence of the Vatican’s attempt to maintain relations with Kirill, despite intense criticism from around the world, for his failure to condemn the war in Ukraine.

Retired vicar released from prison after climate protest

The Rev Bill White, 67, a retired Anglican vicar, has spent a week in prison on remand, after taking part in a climate change protest outside the Kingsbury Oil Depot.  Christian Climate Action reports that he was jailed after being charged with contempt of court for breaking an injunction against protests on the site, but he was released a week later.  His protest was intended to persuade the government to stop new licenses for gas and oil exploration.

Ancient neolithic ritual site discovered in Cornwall

An ancient stone circle which may been used for gatherings and ritual activities, has been unearthed inside Castilly Henge, near Bodmin in Cornwall. Historic England and the Cornwall Archaeology Unit found the site buried in vegetation, by using ground-penetrating radar and electric currents. It is 68m x 62m shaped like an amphitheatre, a circle with seven points, and is believed to be from the late Neolithic period around 3,000BC.

Highlights of the Religion Media Festival “Exploring Belief” in our latest podcast

The latest Religion Media Centre podcast is a cut down version of our festival “Exploring Belief”, held at the JW3 centre in north London on 16 May. It features an interview with Cardinal Vincent Nichols who distanced himself from the Vatican’s refusal to criticise the head of the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The BBC’s new Religion Editor Aleem Maqbool speaks of his ambition to tell stories about people, which inform the audience about what’s going on in the world, and says faith is an area he is passionate about. Also included are discussions on artificial intelligence and women in leadership and a challenge to faith groups and journalists in towns and cities across the country, to create connections and tell the stories. The podcast is available on all platforms and at this link on our website.


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