23 October 2020, The Tablet

News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

The failure to award a peerage to the former Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has been widely criticised.

The Government has been strongly criticised for its delay over awarding the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu a life peerage. Dr Sentamu retired in June after 15 years in post. On Twitter the Shadow Justice Minister, David Lammy, called the delay “blatant institutional prejudice”. On Monday a Whitehall source told the Press Association that the delay was due to a procedural hold-up and that an announcement was imminent.

Cafod has urged campaigners to put pressure on G20 governments to compel private creditors to cancel debts that developing countries owe them. Almost half of the foreign debt of low and lower-middle income countries is owed to private creditors, which include corporations like HSBC and Goldman Sachs. Dario Kenner, Cafod’s Sustainable Economic Development analyst, said: “Private creditors are profiteering off the backs of the world’s poorest people. Any debt relief that developing countries might receive from donor governments is only snatched away again by private creditors who continue to demand repayments.”

The Archdiocese of Birmingham has ordained two new auxiliary bishops. Archbishop Bernard Longley was the principal consecrator at the Mass, which saw Bishops David Evans and Stephen Wright become the first bishops to be ordained together at St Chad’s Cathedral. The service took place on the Feast of St John Henry Newman and was live streamed.

The Welsh government risks losing the trust of the Catholic community over proposed changes to RE, the Catholic Education Service said this week. The proposed Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill “penalises Catholic schools” by imposing unreasonable requirements on them, the CES said, including forcing them to teach an additional (secular) RE curriculum.

New rules for 200 multi-denominational state secondary schools run by the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) in Ireland will require them to end practices such as displaying Catholic symbols, holding graduation Masses and permitting visits from diocesan inspectors. According to The Irish Times, an unpublished document on the core values of these schools, formerly known as vocational schools, has raised concerns over a number of Catholic practices in many state schools. The rules will also prevent schools run by the ETB from offering religious instruction or faith formation for a particular religion during the school day. Instead they will offer the state curriculum on religious education in which students learn about a range of different religions and beliefs.

More than 300 people gathered outside a former military barracks housing asylum seekers near Folkestone last Saturday to counter rising hostility against migrants. The event was organised by several local groups led by the Kent Refugee Action Network. Phil Kerton (pictured) of Seeking Sanctuary told The Tablet of “a mood of celebration and solidarity” with “heart-warming posters on display, and many chants and cheers welcoming the new neighbours”. Inside the barracks, a group of men waved back at the crowd, clapped and shouted: “Thank you.”

The Church in Scotland has admitted it was to blame for the death of a 94-year-old man with dementia, who fell from the window of a diocese-run care home in Dundee. The home had not modified its windows to prevent them from being fully opened. The Diocese of Dunkeld Trust admitted criminal responsibility for Peter Connor’s death.

Concerns have been raised over proposed new legislation currently being debated in the Dáil that could block access to records relating to Ireland’s mother and baby homes for 30 years. The bill, introduced by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, includes arrangements for the transfer and management of the The Mother and Baby Homes Commission’s investigation records before its report is published at the end of the month.

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