Pope: mass grave at RC school must be investigated
THE “shocking” discovery of a mass grave of hundreds of children at the site of a former Roman Catholic residential school in Canada should be investigated by the religious and political authorities, who should “commit themselves humbly to a path of reconciliation and healing”, Pope Francis has said. The remains of 215 children, some as young as three, were discovered this month on the site of Kamloops Indian residential school for indigenous children (News, 4 June). The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said this week: “We expect the Church to step up and take responsibility for its role in this.” The Anglican Primate of Canada, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls, said that the discovery had unleashed “heart-wrenching and profound grief” within the community.
Bishop disappointed at fall of Trump lawsuit
THE Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd Mariann Budde, has expressed her “deep disappointment” at the decision by the United States Justice Department to drop lawsuits against Donald Trump over the forcible removal of protesters from outside St John’s Episcopal Church, opposite the White House, in 2020, to make way for the Mr Trump’s photoshoot with the Bible (News, 5 June 2020). Using teargas and physical force, police had cleared protesters minutes before. Last Friday, the Justice Department argued that the former President and his officials were immune from lawsuits over law-enforcement actions intended to protect him.
US theological college offers reparations over slavery
THE Virginia Theological Seminary in the United States has begun paying reparation to the nearest living descendants of people who once laboured on its campus as slaves or as poorly paid workers, The Times reports. The seminary’s President and Dean the Revd Ian Markham, has apologised for its history. “All the buildings were built by enslaved persons; all the faculty brought in held enslaved persons.” News of the annual payments, worth about £2000, comes as the seminary prepares to mark its 200th anniversary in 2023.
German Franciscan fined for housing Nigerian refugees
A SISTER from the Franciscan convent at Oberzell, in southern Germany, Juliana Seelmann, has been found guilty this week of aiding the unauthorised residence in Germany of two Nigerian women, it has been reported. The women were reportedly attempting to escape forced prostitution in Italy, to which they had first fled. After officials attempted to send them back to Italy, they claimed “church asylum” in Germany — temporary admission of refugees by a parish to avert deportation. Churches prevented 498 deportations in the first quarter of 2018, but, in 2019, authorities rejected almost all church asylum cases, resulting in several faith leaders’ being prosecuted by German law, including Sister Juliana, who was fined several hundred euros.
ALAMYSoaked: a member of the New Zealand Defence Force looks down from an aircraft at floodwaters in Ashburton, New Zealand, last week. The Archdeacon of Mid-Canterbury, the Ven. Joan Clark, reports that, while church buildings in the district are undamaged, farming parishioners face the cost of damage to farm infrastructure and winter baleage