American Redemptorist to oversee religious orders 2 August 2010
Pope Benedict XVI has named an American archbishop, Joseph William Tobin, to oversee Catholic religious orders around the world, the Vatican said today. As head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Tobin, 58, will oversee the more than 300 Catholic orders around the world. Tobin, from Detroit, headed the 5,300-strong Redemptorist order based in Rome from 1991 to 2009.
Half of Niger population in need of food aid2 August 2010
Charities are scaling up their response to the drought-stricken country of Niger, where the UN says about 7.5 million people – half of the population – lack sufficient food. Christian Aid and Cafod have launched appeals so that they can expand their emergency food distributions and cash-for-work projects for subsistence farmers whose crops have failed or whose livestock have died. Many livestock farmers have had to sell their remaining animals at knock-down prices to be able to buy a few days’ meals.
Sagrada Família to be named basilica 2 August 2010
Pope Benedict XVI is to consecrate Antoni Gaudí’s iconic unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church in Barcelona, during his November visit to Spain, and proclaim it a basilica, the Vatican has announced. But the news comes as the team completing construction on the 128-year-old church, led by chief architect Jordi Bonet, have appealed to Spain’s High Court against plans to build a tunnel for a high speed railway line less than two metres from the church walls. The Government says all proper precautions have been taken.
Anglican sham weddings ‘an isolated case’2 August 2010
A Church of England priest convicted of presiding over hundreds of sham weddings was an isolated case, according to a senior Church of England cleric. Alex Brown, vicar of St Peter and St Paul church in St Leonards, East Sussex, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court on 29 July of assisting illegal immigration after conducting more than 380 marriages. However the Archdeacon of Hastings and Lewes, the Venerable Philip Jones, told the BBC: “This sort of thing has not happened before to my knowledge and certainly not on this scale.”
Mass arrest of Christian converts in Iran2 August 2010
Fifteen new Christian converts from Islam were rounded up and arrested by Iranian government security forces on 18 July, the Farsi Christian News Network has said. While 13 were conditionally freed after a week having signed promissory notes, two men who refused – Stephen Reza, 48, and Ehsan Behrooz, 23, remain in detention and their whereabouts are unknown. The group was arrested in the Iranian city of Masshad, a centre of Islamic pilgrimage, as they travelled together to the town of Bojnoord to meet local Christians there.
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