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World news in brief

25 October 2019


The Vitruvian Man arrives in Paris

A FAMOUS drawing, The Vitruvian Man (c.1490), by Leonardo Da Vinci is on loan to the Louvre in Paris after a last-minute court appeal to prevent its transportation was lost. An Italian court granted permission last week for it to leave its climate-controlled vault in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, for an exhibition that opened in the Musée du Louvre yesterday, to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. An Italian heritage group, Italia Nostra, had argued that sending the sketch to Paris would violate a law that prohibits the loan of works susceptible to harm. The ruling refers to the “exceptional global importance” of the exhibition and cites other fragile works in the Accademia’s collection that had been permitted to go abroad in “extraordinary” circumstances.


German churches move against anti-Semistism

THE federation of Protestant Churches in Germany, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), has appointed a Commissioner for Combating anti-Semitism, writes Anli Serfontein. The decision was taken at an EKD council meeting in Hanover last Friday. Dr Christian Staffa, a theologian and author of several works on anti-Semitism, has been appointed with immediate effect. Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who chairs the EKD Council, said: “Anti-Semitism contradicts everything Christianity stands for.” Dr Staffa told the weekly Berlin Jewish newspaper the Jüdische Allgemeine that he would support closer connections between the Christian and Jewish traditions. He said that, throughout history, Churches had wrongly positioned themselves as anti-Jewish. Instead of fighting Jewish hatred, they had, in the past, “often enough strengthened that to the point of murder”. The Central Research and Information Point for Anti-Semitism in Berlin reports that, in the capital alone, an average of two anti-Semitic incidents are recorded each day.


Canadian retired bishop runs for Greens

A RETIRED Bishop of Quebec in Canada, the Rt Revd Dennis Drainville, has run for the country’s Green Party in the autumn federal election. Bishop Drainville, who ran for the area of Gaspésie — Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, received 1130 votes. The Liberal candidate, Diane Lebouthillier, won by 16,296 votes to the Conservatives’ candidate’s 15,659. Bishop Drainville previously served in Bob Rae’s NDP government in Ontario from 1990 to 1993. He told the Anglican Journal that under successive governments there had been a concentration of power anda commensurate erosion, if you will, of the work of Parliament. . . Having been elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, I naturally — being a bit of an idealist —believed that we would in fact govern differently. We didn’t.”


Kenyan priest found in shallow grave

A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest, the Revd Michael Maingi Kyengo, has been found dead in a shallow grave in south-east Kenya, one week after he was reported missing from his family home, it has been reported. Police said that the man had been strangled; and that his body, found in a sack, had been disfigured. A 25-year-old man who led police to the grave has been arrested. The justice and peace coordinator in the diocese of Garissa, Fr Nicholas Mutua, told the Catholic Herald: “Many bishops and priests have been targeted for exposing evil practices. They are being killed for standing for the truth.” Some have been targeted because they might be carrying substantial church funds. In December, Fr John Njoroge, a parish priest in Kiambu, ten miles north of Nairobi, was shot dead when he was robbed of the church ‘s collection.


Former dean sentenced to eight years

A FORMER Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, in New South Wales, Graeme Lawrence, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy in the deanery in 1991 (News, 9 August). He was unfrocked in 2012, after the diocese of Newcastle’s professional standards board had found him guilty of sexual misconduct in the 1980s, and was convicted in a judge-alone trial in the district court, in August. He must serve a minimum term of four-and-a-half years. The judge, Tim Gartelmann, said: “The victim and his mother must have trusted him because he was the Dean. This significantly aggravates the offences.”


Church of Norway’s next Presiding Bishop nominated

THE next Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway is to be Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the current Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, pending approval of his nomination at the next meeting of the National Church Council in Trondheim, in January. Dr Tveit has served in his current post since 2010 and is due to stand down at the end of March 2020. A Church of Norway statement said: “Olav Fykse Tveit has gained great confidence and made significant contributions to the Church’s unity and interaction across continents and faiths. The Bishops’ Conference is convinced that Olav Fykse Tveit will become a very good leader in the college of bishops and the Church of Norway in a new era.”


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