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World news in brief

21 December 2017


Topping birthday: Pope Francis and children from the Vatican paediatric clinic blow out candles on an extra-long pizza made for the Pope's 81st birthday, at the Vatican, on Sunday

Topping birthday: Pope Francis and children from the Vatican paediatric clinic blow out candles on an extra-long pizza made for the Pope's 81st birthd...

Primary relics must not be sold, says Vatican

THE sale of primary relics — such as hair, bone, and other body parts — of saints and of those whose causes are being advanced is “absolutely prohibited”, new instructions from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints emphasises. The instructions, issued on Saturday, also prohibit the use of primary relics in “profane” or unauthorised locations. The rules have been revised partly in the light of disputes between church officials and families. They now state that, where applicable, consent must be obtained from heirs before taking relics from the remains of candidates for beatification or canonisation.


Religous leaders of Iraq discuss reconstruction

MORE than 40 religious leaders, including Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis, were gathered together in Beirut last week by the World Council of Churches to consider “opportunities and challenges related to cohesion, and highlight the role of religious leaders in restoring inclusive multi-religious and multi-cultural communities” in Iraq. Education, religion, the constitution, and transitional justice were raised. The Sunni head of the Iraqi Scholars Association, Dr Khaled al Mulla, said: “Some of the violent acts that we have witnessed in our country have their roots in religion and religious texts. We have to accept this fact first and then affirm our role as religious leaders in finding remedies to it.” These would include “promoting positive readings of our religious texts” and “imposing moderate religious discourse in our sermons”. The General Secetary of the Council of Christian Church Leaders in Iraq, Archbishop Avak Assadourian, called for further work. “We all know what the ailment is, but nobody has come up with a remedy for those ailments,” he said. The meeting was a “beautiful example” of religious dialogue, the Shia Sheikh Dr Yousif Al-Nasery said.


Set your standards high, Archbishop tells ANC

THE newly elected leaders of the South African ruling party, the ANC, have received a qualified welcome from the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba. On Monday, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has spoken out against corruption, was elected to succeed President Jacob Zuma, whom Dr Makgoba has strongly criticised. “I look forward to critical engagement with the new leaders of the ANC,” Dr Makgoba said this week. “The country is looking to them to work for the common good, to promote equality of opportunity, and to uphold the highest ethical standards.”

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