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Overseas news in brief

20 October 2010

Archbishop concerned for Zimbabwean asylum-seekers

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has raised questions over the safety of returning asylum-seekers from the UK to Zimbabwe after a visit to the Refugee Council in London earlier this month. Dr Williams said that refugees could be sent back to Zimbabwe, a country that the Government “regards as being safe”, but “may not be”. “If we look at situations like the one in Zimbabwe, I think there’s a real question over whether people can be sent back safely to these countries.”

First woman priest in Quincy

THE diocese of Quincy in the Episcopal Church in the United States has its first woman priest in its 133-year history. The Revd Margaret Lee was ordained priest at St Paul’s Cathedral, Peoria, earlier this month. She had served for 14 years as a deacon in the Quad Cities, and currently serves the congregation at All Saints’, Moline.

Bishop speaks out about Fonseka

THE Bishop of Colombo, the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, has expressed his “disapproval and disappointment” at the imprisonment of General Sarath Fonseka, the opposition candidate in the Sri Lankan Presidential election earlier this year. General Fonseka was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to three years in prison, but Bishop de Chickera said that the General “had been denied the opportunity of a fair trial”, and that this was part of “a growing culture of arbitrary rewards and punishments” in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government was “fast losing credibility as the authority chosen by the people to safeguard the rights of its citizens”.

Montreal initiative on oversight

THE Bishop of Montreal, the Rt Revd Barry Clarke, told his annual diocesan synod last Friday that he plans to talk to his diocesan council in January about introducing “shared episcopal ministry” into the Montreal diocese, allowing parishes to have oversight from another bishop. Shared episcopal ministry was proposed in the 2004 Windsor report.

Mega-church files for bankruptcy

CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL, a mega-church in Orange County, California, has filed for bankruptcy protection after being sued by some of its creditors, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday. The church’s Senior Pastor, Sheila Schuller Coleman, said: “Our ministry will continue as usual.”

EC to probe Vatican tax breaks

THE European Commission is to investigate whether tax exemptions on properties in Italy owned by the Roman Catholic Church break European law. The Church was exempted from paying the tax, known as ICI, in 2005.

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