Religion news 3 August 2022

Image credit: Lambeth Conference

Welby neuters rancorous conference debate over sexuality

The anger and bitterness of the debate on same-sex marriage at the Lambeth Conference has been pierced by an address from the Archbishop of Canterbury which delivered a dose of reality. Justin Welby told the gathering of worldwide Anglican bishops meeting in Canterbury, that the Anglican Communion was deeply divided. But for those who held to traditional teaching and those who had a different view of sexuality, a change to their position was unthinkable and would make them a victim of derision, contempt and attack, challenging their very existence. His intervention was met with a standing ovation that united the conference. He affirmed that the 1998 conference Resolution I:10, which rejects homosexuality as incompatible with scripture, had not been rescinded, but he would not seek the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. The conference “call” stating the reality of division and committing to continued listening despite deep disagreement, was accepted without a vote. The Church Times reported that the fiery argument at the conference appeared to have run its course.

Another legal challenge over Archie Battersbee, 12

Legal challenges are continuing in the case of Archie Battersbee, 12, who has been in a coma since April when an online dare went tragically wrong. His parents have been supported by the Christian Legal Centre in several court challenges to prevent the withdrawal of his life support. The Guardian quotes his mother, Hollie Dance, saying the support will be withdrawn today (Wednesday) at 11am unless the family has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am.

Hopes raised for meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill

A visit by Pope Francis to the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan, raises the possibility that he will meet Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Catholic Herald explains that the two were due to meet in Jerusalem this summer but this was cancelled on the advice of diplomats. The Pope has repeatedly spoken out against the war in Ukraine and said Kirill “cannot become Putin’s altar boy”. The Vatican has continued to engage in diplomatic contacts with Russia and Pope Francis has spoken of his desire to visit Moscow and Ukraine.

Barriers removed for pilgrims visiting the Kaaba

Barriers surrounding the Kaaba, the shrine near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca, are to be removed two years after being installed during the pandemic. The barriers were designed to ensure social distancing between visitors as they walk around the Kaaba seven times during their pilgrimage. Arab News reports the decision had been taken as the number of visitors increases with the start of the Umrah season of pilgrimage to Mecca.

Conservative moral campaign categorised as a church

The Religion News Service reports that Democrats are seeking a review of the tax-exempt status of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group that has recently been classified as a church. Led by an ordained evangelical minister, Tony Perkins, who was part of “Pro-Life Voices for Trump”, the council campaigns on moral issues from a “biblical worldview”. Their challengers say it is a political advocacy organisation and calling it a church strains credulity.

Hobnobs — they’re kosher

The United Synagogue’s kashrut division, which certifies kosher food, has approved a range of McVitie’s biscuits, including milk and dark chocolate Hobnobs. The Jewish Chronicle reports that original, lights and milk and dark chocolate digestives are also approved, although plain Hobnobs are not. This applies to products originating from a factory which is kosher certified.


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