Fake papal blessings seized by Italian police
FORGED papal benedictions worth £51,000 have been seized by Italian police investigating counterfeit goods sold to tourists in Rome. Pilgrims coming to the Vatican for the Holy Year, which began last week, are being targeted by criminals selling fake versions on parchment of benedictions from Pope Francis. Officers discovered a shop inside the Vatican which had printed 3500 counterfeits. The benedictions used to be painted and written by hand but, since January, have been made electronically.
Australian diocese landed with huge debt in court ruling
THE diocese of Bathurst in the Anglican Church of Australia is liable for a £19-million debt to the Commonwealth Bank, the New South Wales Supreme Court has ruled. The money was loaned to a development fund controlled by the diocese, which used it to start two schools, but later defaulted. The diocese said that it was not responsible for paying back the loan, but has now lost its case in court. Parishes have previously been told that they may have to double their annual payments to the diocese to cover the debt repayments (News, 26 September 2014).
Canadian pastor jailed for life by North Korean court
HYEON SOO LIM, a South Korean-born Canadian pastor, has been sentenced to life in prison with hard labour for “crimes against the state” in North Korea. Mr Lim is the leader of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto and was arrested in February, after arriving in North Korea on a humanitarian trip to visit a nursing home, an orphanage, and other projects supported by his Church. State media broadcast Mr Lim reading from a script and confessing to crimes of, among others, “insulting the dignity of the Republic”.