Religion news 5 October

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Pope seeks new political and economic world order addressing poverty and unemployment

Pope Francis has appealed for a new world order after the coronavirus pandemic, one that promotes dialogue and rejects war, alongside a new political and economic system. In his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” (Brothers All), he said the pandemic had shown a human family falling apart. It had revealed an inability to work together and the fragility of world systems which had led to poverty and mass job losses: “not everything can be resolved by market freedom”. He denounced populist politics that sought to demonize and isolate and called for a “culture of encounter” to work for the common good, sharing the earth’s resources. He said the church’s doctrine justifying war as a means of legitimate defence was no longer viable and he rejected the nuclear arms race and the death penalty.

British churches appeal for Jubilee Fund to help six million people in debt due to Covid19

Five churches and several faith-based charities have launched “Re-set the debt”, a campaign to tackle the disaster of millions of people falling into debt because of Covid19.  Their report says low income households are the worst affected, with Citizens Advice estimating six million people have fallen behind on rent, council tax and other household bills because of Covid-19. The campaign is proposing that the Chancellor creates a Jubilee Fund, providing grants to pay off and cancel unavoidable debts. Churches involved are: the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Free Churches Group.

Liberal Judaism Conference to allow mixed marriages

Britain’s Liberal Jewish leaders have agreed to allow mixed marriages between Jews and non Jews under a chuppah (canopy), so long as the couple intend to make a Jewish home. The ruling, from the British Liberal Judaism Conference of Rabbis and Cantors, was made to respond to a diverse community. Rabbi Danny Rich said: “Since the chuppah is now more often than not perceived as a symbol of a Jewish home, the change appears logical and decent, and, most importantly, as a sign of welcome to a couple in such a situation.”

The Umrah pilgrimage re-starts in Mecca

The Umrah, a smaller pilgrimage than the Hajj in the city of Mecca, has been allowed to restart after months of lockdown. The Associated Press reports that around 50 people were allowed to circle the Kaaba on Sunday, after first registering for a place and then agreeing to strict social distancing and hygiene rules.  The Umrah can be taken at any time of the year and draws millions from across the world. A further relaxation around numbers is expected on 18 October.

Southwark Cathedral’s cat “Doorkins Magnificat” honoured in death

 A thanksgiving service will be held at Southwark Cathedral for Doorkins Magnificat, the resident cat, who has died after 12 eventful years in the community. She came as a stray in 2008 and led a full life – a regular attendee at services, photographed by tourists, the subject of a book, her face on an array of cards, a social media hit with 5,000 followers – but her high point was meeting the Queen. The Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn, says Doorkins Magnificat was a blessing and the service will give thanks for the pleasure and affection she showed to so many.


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