Hundreds of people attended an event highlighting the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The conference, on 22 September in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, was held to support the work of the charity Friends of the Holy Land (FHL), which helps provide Christians with housing and employment.
Sami El-Yousef, chief executive of Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarchate, said that Christians living in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan faced pressure and discrimination living “under occupation” and “as refugees”.
Separately the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, hosted a fundraising lunch for the FHL on 29 September at the nunciature in Wimbledon.
Bishop takes stand on marriage
The Bishop of Northampton has said the government’s announcement that heterosexual couples will be able to enter into civil partnerships “leaves out” God who “calls” a man and a woman into marriage.
“For me, a civil partnership leaves out the One who calls a man and woman into a loving, creative and stable relationship for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do they part,” said Bishop Peter Doyle.
The charity Christian Action Research Education was concerned that the move would further reduce England and Wales’ “historically low marriage rate”. ”
Bishop John Sherrington used a Mass for Catholic lawyers to condemn the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK and the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
In a homily for the annual Red Mass for legal professionals at Westminster Cathedral, Bishop Sherrington, an auxiliary in Westminster, said that crimes against human rights are linked to a throwaway culture that fails to promote human dignity.
Recalling news footage of Rohingya refugees in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Bishop Sherrington said: “People focus on numbers, but behind each number, there is a person, a family, and human suffering which cries out to heaven.” He went on to describe the treatment of asylum seekers in Britain, using a quote by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, as “a shame on our country”.
One of Ireland’s foremost church musicians has bowed out as titular organist at Dublin’s Pro Cathedral after almost 43 years. Professor Gerard Gillen was honoured on Sunday at a special Mass attended by President Michael D. Higgins and celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who described the 76-year-old retired professor of music at Maynooth as a “maestro”. He said the internationally acclaimed organist had given “a life’s dedication of service to the Church and to the beauty and dignity of music in the liturgy”. Professor Gillen told The Tablet that he will continue giving organ recitals. He expressed regret over the Irish bishops’ decision to withdraw their financial support for the schola cantorum in St Finian’s College in Mullingar. Professor Gillen had helped to start the venture in 1970, which he said had produced a number of very fine musicians.
New Anglican province in Chile
An Anglican diocese in Chile is to become the 40th province of the Anglican Communion following a sustained period of growth of the Anglican Church in the country. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will travel to Santiago in early November to formally inaugurate the new province. Bishop Héctor Zavala Muñoz, more commonly known as Bishop Tito, will become Primate of the new Province of “Iglesia Anglicana de Chile”.
A Labour MSP has asked the Scottish justice secretary to explain a Police Scotland document which suggests that display of the Vatican flag could be considered “provocative”. The restricted document does not suggest that display of the flag constitutes an offence in itself, but that in certain circumstances it might breach the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2000 or the Terrorism Act 2000. Also named on the Police Scotland list are the Irish tricolour and the Catalan flag.