Religion news 30 June 2022

Image credit: Cancer Research

Archbishop praises grace, honesty and generosity of Dame Deborah James

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has joined the chorus of tributes to Dame Deborah James, who died aged 40 of bowel cancer. She became a household name after presenting the BBC podcast “You, Me and the Big C” , and then going on to raise £7 million for for research into medicine for cancer patients.  The Archbishop said: “Deborah James’ grace, honesty and generosity in the face of illness was inspiring. Her commitment to raising funds and awareness of bowel cancer will save countless lives and be her lasting legacy. Our prayers are with her family and loved ones”.

Pope calls for dialogue to end war in Ukraine after “barbaric attacks”

Pope Francis has appealed for dialogue and an end to the war in Ukraine, saying it is “scourged by barbaric attacks” such as the one at Kremenchuk shopping centre, which killed at least 18 people. He called for nations to come to the assistance of the Ukrainian people, “who are suffering so much.” The G7 called the strike a Russian war crime.

Christian Legal Centre behind court wrangle over 12 year old on life support

The Christian Legal Centre has been supporting the family of Archie Battersbee, a 12 year old boy on life support following a tragic accident, who is the subject of a disputed legal case as to whether the machine should be switched off.  Earlier this week the High Court determined  he was dead and support could be switched off. But lawyers took the case to the Court of Appeal which overturned that decision and said the matter should now be heard again. Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which has been providing support to the family, told Premier Christian News that the latest judgment upholds life and will protect many more people from a slippery slope in which the legal definition of death is expanded.

Analysis of differing American religious views on abortion

Religion Unplugged analyses differing views on abortion from six religious traditions – Buddhism, Orthodox Judaism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islam and The Satanic Temple. Opinions vary on when life begins – at conception, at 120 days when the soul enters, or when it is born; the value of the life of the mother and the legitimate reasons for abortion; and the circumstances for abortion on demand, such as first trimester abortions should be legally available to all. Article here

Speaker Pelosi “takes communion at the Vatican”

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi received a blessing from the Pope and took communion during a mass at the Vatican. The Religion News Service says she is banned from receiving communion in her home diocese of San Francisco and four other dioceses. She has clashed with US bishops on abortion rights – she says the decision to overturn Roe v Wade was outrageous; the bishops lauded the change.

Attempts to stop the traditional Latin mass thwarted in San Francisco

The Associated Press reports that the Pope is urging Catholics to stop exploiting the old Latin Mass for ideological reasons and to start discovering the beauty of the new liturgy that grew from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. In a letter, he said  polemics over liturgy risked the very communion and unity of the Catholic Church .  Meanwhile in San Francisco, a liturgical conference, “Sacra Liturgia”, focussing on traditionalist practices is taking place this week. Christopher Lamb reports in The Tablet that the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, is hosting the conference and will celebrate a traditional Latin mass at the end. He reports that among the speakers at the conference are Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Holy See’s former liturgy prefect, and Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former treasurer. 

Church of England asked to back memorial to slaves in Hyde Park

The chair of the Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission, Lord Paul Boateng, has told the Times of a campaign to put up a 14-foot bronze memorial to slaves, within a garden of remembrance near the Queen Mother’s Gates in Hyde Park. He said the Church Commissioners were looking into funding it and it would be fitting for the church to contribute. Planning permission has already been granted, but expired before funds became available, so the process has to start again.

Sikh lawyer in Canada says swearing oath to the Queen violates his faith

In Canada, a prospective lawyer in Edmonton is suing the provincial government and Law Society of Alberta for requiring him to swear an oath to the Queen to practise law, arguing that the rule violates his religious freedoms as a Sikh. The Globe and Mail reports that this would compromise his faith as he has already made an oath to Akal Purakh, the divine being in Sikh tradition. The law Society said  it does not have the authority to change the legislation governing the oath requirement

Dominic Grieve to lead Christ Church Oxford review

Dominic Grieve QC, former Conservative MP and Remainer rebel, has been appointed to lead the Christ Church Oxford review after  the Martyn Percy row. He will look at the governance of the foundation “to ensure that Christ Church’s statutes, by-laws and governance arrangements meet the needs of this unique institution in the 21st century”.  There is a separate Church of England Independent Safeguarding Board review.

Second bishop from New Zealand joins the CofE

Dr Eleanor Sanderson, the assistant bishop of Wellington, New Zealand, is moving back to England to become the next Bishop of Hull. She was born in north Yorkshire and moved to New Zealand for academic studies before being ordained. Her neighbouring bishop, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley the Bishop of Ripon, also moved to Yorkshire from New Zealand. Church Times story here

Compulsory office morning prayer meetings in USA subject of court case

Two employees have filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina-based Aurora Pro Services, a residential services company, after they claim they were fired for refusing to participate in the firm’s Christian prayer meetings. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the company unlawfully required employees to participate in religious prayer sessions as a condition of employment. Prayer meetings sometimes lasted 45 minutes and prayers were said for ‘for poor-performing employees who were identified by name’. LadBible story here


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