Scattering of ashes forbidden, Vatican declares
THE ashes of the cremated should not be scattered or kept at home, but stored in a “sacred place” , a new instruction from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states. The document reiterates that the Church recommends that the deceased be buried, but that there are no doctrinal objections to cremation. Ashes should be stored in a cemetery, church, or other “sacred place”, to ensure that the deceased is not forgotten or shown a lack of respect, and to prevent “unfitting or superstitious practices”. Scattering is forbidden to avoid “every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism”.
New Zealand Dean wins appeal against dismissal
THE Dean of St John’s Naiapu Cathedral, Napier, in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Very Revd Michael Godfrey, has won his appeal against dismissal for extramarital affairs that took place 25 years ago. The Bishop of Waiapu, the Rt Revd Andrew Hedge, argued that Dean Godfrey had not disclosed the affairs to the Church. Dean Godfrey said that he had had the affairs during a ten-day period in 1991, and that they had been disclosed to his bishop at the time. This week, the Church’s appeal tribunal found his dismissal unjustified.
Campaign builds against anti-Semitic sculpture in Wittenberg
CAMPAIGNS are under way to remove an anti-Semitic sculpture from the church where Martin Luther preached, in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The Judensau has been on the façade of the Stadkirche since 1305 and was mentioned by Luther in his book Vom Schem Hamphoras. Among those campaigning for its removal is Sister Joela Krüger, of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, a Lutheran group. A petition started by Dr Richard Harvey, a Jewish theologian, has been signed by more than 5000. Dr Harvey argues that a plaque put up in 1988, which refers to the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, is “insufficient”.
Détente between China and the Vatican expected
REPRESENTATIVES from the Vatican and China are expected to meet before the end of the month in Rome, to finalise an agreement on the ordination of bishops on the mainland, Reuters reported this week. Church sources told the agency that China was preparing to permit the ordination of at least two new bishops before the end of the year, with the blessing of the Vatican, which would also recognise at least four Chinese bishops appointed by Beijing without papal consent. The Chinese government has opposed for more than 60 years Vatican control over the ordination of bishops, which has threatened a schism between the underground Catholic community and the state-backed Catholic Patriotic Association. Thirty of the more than 100 dioceses on the mainland are currently vacant.