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World news in brief

14 July 2017


Resistance: the Revd Elaine Thomas, As­­sociate Rector of St Paul’s Mem­orial Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, leads a march from the First United Methodist Church to an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally, last Saturday

Resistance: the Revd Elaine Thomas, As­­sociate Rector of St Paul’s Mem­orial Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, leads a march from the First ...


Pope declares new grounds for beatification

POPE FRANCIS has created a new category for beatification, distinct from martyrdom, for Christians who lay down their lives to save others, in an Apostolic Letter, issued on Tuesday. Beatification, the first step towards canonisation, has been previously reserved for martyrs; those who have lived a life of heroic values; and for those of a saintly reputation. The new category, oblatio vitae, or “the free offering (‘oblation’) of a life” is inspired by “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15.13). The Pope writes: “It is certain that the heroic offering of life, suggested and supported by charity, expresses a true, full and exemplary imitation of Christ, and therefore deserves the admiration.”


Iranians jailed for a decade on security charges

FOUR Christians in Iran have each been sentenced to ten years in prison for “acting against national security” after a raid of Christian homes in Rasht, earlier this year, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported this week. They are Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, and Saheb Fadaie. They were arrested on 13 May, and accused by the 26th Chamber of the Revolutionary Tribunal of receiving £500,000 per year from the British government through their church, in June. The chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “We are deeply disappointed by these excessive sentences, which are based on spurious charges and are clearly part of an intensified campaign of judicial harassment aimed at intimidating members of minority faiths.”


UN agencies on building trust with child refugees

THE United Nations agencies UNHCR, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have listed recommendations for improving the situation of unaccompanied refugees and migrants arriving in Europe. Children must be identified and registered through “child-friendly” procedures, and helped to build trusting relationships, their report, The Way Forward, says. “Many of these children have experienced terrible violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, and emotional and psychological pressure, not only during their journey but in Europe itself,” Diane Goodman, the deputy director of UNHCR’s Europe Bureau, said. “They deserve better protection and care from Europe.” www.un.org


Rector’s dying dog in ‘pilgrimage of relationship’

Episcopal News Service“God’s best work”: Nawiliwili Nelson, or ‘Wili’, who is dying of cancerTHE Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Covington, in Louisiana, the Revd Bill Miller, is taking his dying dog, Wili, on a six-state pilgrimage around the United States, the Episcopal News Service reported last week. He is hoping to remind people of the spiritual importance of close relationships,
as well as spend time with his 12-year-old part-Terrier, Nawiliwili Nelson, who was diagnosed with cancer last November. Fr Miller, who has written two books (The Gospel According to Sam [his former dog] and The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God), has lined up fund-raising events and visits to churches, breweries, and bookstores, to promote and raise money for animal-welfare organisations, as part of his road trip from Louisiana to Nevada, through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. “Wili has not lost any enthusiasm for life and his love for people,” he said. “Dogs teach us to be God’s best work because they exhibit unconditional love and affirmation.”

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