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World news in brief

24 March 2017


“Never let anyone know what you are thinking”: as a man serves espresso next to posters from Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, at a bar in Corleone, Sicily, in 2006

“Never let anyone know what you are thinking”: as a man serves espresso next to posters from Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, at a bar in Corleon...

Mafia ‘godfathers’ banned as godfathers

THE Archbishop of Monreale, near Palermo, in Sicily, the Most Revd Michele Pennisi, has banned convicted mafia members’ acting as godparents at baptisms in the archdiocese, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Saturday. “The mafia has always taken the term ‘godfather’ from the Church to give its bosses an air of religious respectability, whereas in fact the two worlds are completely incompatible,” he said. The rule would not apply to the repentant. “If one of them admits to having done wrong, asks to be pardoned for the bad they have done, in that case we can discuss a path of conversion.” Archbishop Pennisi criticised a priest last month for allowing the son of Toto Riina, a notorious mobster in Sicily, to be a godparent.


Konunga ordered to compensate Central African Province

THE Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has upheld a High Court order that the excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, pay more than £340,000, plus interest and fees, to the Church of the Province of Central Africa, in compensation for shares sold after he led the diocese into a schism (News, 18 October 2007), the Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald reported last week. Kunonga was evicted from diocesan offices in 2012 (News, 30 November 2012).


Vatican audience seen as progress after Rwandan genocide

POPE FRANCIS has asked for “God’s forgiveness” for Roman Catholics, including priests and religious, who “succumbed to hatred and violence” during the Rwandan genocide, the Vatican reported in a statement released after a private papal audience for the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, on Monday. “[Pope Francis] expressed his solidarity with the victims and with those who continue to suffer the consequences of those tragic events,” the Vatican said. The meeting followed a request from Rwanda for an apology for church complicity in both the massacre itself and in enabling guilty clerics to escape justice. A Rwandan government minister reportedly described the meeting as a “positive step forward”.


Primate rebukes apologist for Indian Residential Schools

THE Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, has reprimanded a Canadian Senator, Lynn Beyak, after she criticised the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for letting “negativity” about the Indian Residential Schools system overshadow its teachers’ “good deeds”. The schools, of which 35 were run by the Church, had a long history of abuse. “Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of residential school were ‘good’,” said his open letter, which was also signed by the National Indigenous Bishop, the Rt Revd Mark MacDonald, and the Church’s General Secretary, the Ven. Michael Thompson. “But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were ‘bad’ — very bad in fact. . . the overall view is grim. It is shadowed and dark; it is sad and shameful.”


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