Pope Francis announces 17 new cardinals
POPE FRANCIS has announced the creation of 17 cardinals, 13 of whom will be able to vote in a conclave to elect the next Pope. A consistory (a meeting of the Sacred College of Cardinals) will be held at the close of the Jubilee of Mercy, next month. One of the first to be announced on Sunday was the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, Archbishop Mario Zenari, who is to remain in his current post. He told Vatican Radio this week that his cardinal’s purple “is for Syria, for the victims of Syria, for all those who suffer because of this terrible war”. Fr Ernest Troshani Simoni, aged 88, who suffered under the Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who banned religion in Albania in 1967, was also made a cardinal.
Iranians appeal against communion sentence
THREE Iranian Christians who converted from Islam are to appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes each for taking communion wine. Release International and Christian Solidarity Worldwide are calling for the Iranian authorities to permit its citizens to choose their own faith and to acquit the Christians, who were sentenced by a court in Rasht. It is not illegal for Christians to drink alcohol in Iran, but it is forbidden for Muslims. “These men have chosen to call themselves Christians. The state should respect that,” the chief executive of Release, Paul Robinson, said.
Turkish men sentenced to life for murder of Christians
FIVE Turkish men have been sentenced to life imprisonment by the criminal court in Malatya, a town in east Turkey, for the premeditated torture and murder of three Christian missionaries at a Bible-publishing house in the city almost ten years ago (News, 27 April 2007). The chairman of the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey, the Revd Ihsan Ozbek, said that the verdict “would bring some peace of mind [for] the relatives and friends of the martyrs”. But the Broadcasting Manager of SAT-7 TÜRK, Gökhan Talas, who, together with his wife, Ozge, narrowly escaped the attack, having left the office to get food, said: “The murderers are in jail, but the people behind this are still free. We feel the big picture is being hidden from us.”
The Archbishop of Perth steps down
THE Archbishop of Perth, the Most Revd Roger Herft, has stood down with immediate effect while the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse continues its inquiries into his former diocese of Newcastle (News, 30 September), writes Muriel Porter. The Rt Revd Kate Wilmot, a regional bishop in Perth, has been appointed Administrator.