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News in brief

03 May 2012



Hands-on: Pope Benedict XVI and Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Ordinariate, in Rome, in February. The Pope has donated $250,000 to the Personal Ordinariate, it was announced this week. The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini, was instrumental in securing the Holy Father’s assistance. On the announcement of the gift the Archbishop said: “The Holy Father’s gift of $250,000 is a clear sign of his personal commitment to the work of Christian Unity and the special place the Ordinariate holds in his heart. I pray for the continuing success and development of the Ordinariate.”

Lords reform: a work of ‘intellectual incoherence’

THE Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, has told the House of Lords that the draft Bill on Lords Reform is a work of “intellectual incoher­ence”, which risks setting the two Houses of Parliament against each other. A member of the Joint Committee on the Bill — draft legislation that pro­poses a wholly or largely elected Second Chamber — he cited an “over­whelm­ing mass of evidence” that the primacy of the Commons would be undermined by such reform. He welcomed the Committee’s commitment to a place for bishops in the House of Lords and the presence of leaders from other faiths. Comment

York and Newcastle finish Covenant voting

THE last diocesan votes on the Anglican Covenant were taken at the weekend by the synods of York and Newcastle. The Covenant was accepted in York, where all bishops voted in favour, as did a very large majority of clergy and laity. But it was rejected in Newcastle, by just one vote in the House of Laity and ten votes in the House of Clergy. This brings to 26 the number of dio­cesan synods that have voted against the Cov­enant. A total of 18 approved it, which means that it cannot now be re­turned to be consid­ered by the General Synod before 2015.

Building Bridges discusses death and destiny

THE Archbishop of Canterbury chaired the 11th Building Bridges Seminar, which works to foster Christian-Muslim relations, at King’s College, London, last week. The theme of the meeting was “Death, Resurrection and Human Destiny”. The speakers at the public lectures included the former Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, and the Bishop in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell.

Former canon charged with indecency

A FORMER canon of Carlisle Cathedral has been charged with child-sex offences dating back more than 20 years. The Revd Ronald Johns is charged with 15 offences on four boys, including gross indecency and indecent assault, allegedly carried out in Cumbria between 1979 and 1991. He has been bailed to appear in court on 10 May.

Correction: bilingual but not bilocated

We reported in last week’s issue that Canon Jonathan Williams addressed the Governing Body of the Church of Wales on the provision of bilingual min­istry during its meeting. The speaker was in fact Nigel Williams, a lay member from Monmouth. Canon Williams, who was in Canada at the time, writes: “I hope I have gained many skills in 25 years of or­dained ministry, but I know that bilocation is not one of them.” Never­theless; “I am pleased to report that I agree with everything I allegedly said.”

Poll: Christians prepared to pay to block porn

Christians would be happy to pay more to their internet service provider (ISP) in order to fund a scheme in which users have to “opt in” to access online pornographic content, a poll commissioned by Premier Christian Media Trust suggests. More than half (57 per cent) of the 519 Christians surveyed by ComRes in March sup­ported the proposal. A petition call­ing on the Government to legislate to ensure that ISPs filter pornography at source has attracted more than 75,000 signatures.

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