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World news in brief

15 October 2021


Pope John Paul I, in 1978

Pope John Paul I, in 1978

Pope John Paul I miracle recognised by successor

THE possible canonisation of Pope John Paul I has been brought nearer by the promulgation of a decree advancing his cause and recognising a miracle attributed to his intercession. Also included, for recognised miracles or “heroic virtue”, are the causes of the 17th-century Argentinians Fr Pietro Ortiz de Zàrate and Fr Giovanni Antonio Solinas; the Colombian Maria Berenice Duque Hencker, founder of the Congregation of Little Sisters of the Annunciation (d.1993); the Spanish Fr Hernandez Gonzalez (d.1976); Maddalena di Gesù, founder of the Order of the Little Sisters of Jesus (d. 1989); and Elisabetta Martinez, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of St Mary of Leuca, (d. 1991).


Ghanaian bishops back anti-LGBTQ Bill

THE House of Bishops of the Ghanaian province of the Church of the Province of West Africa has backed draft legislation that seeks to prohibit “LGBTQ+ and related activities” as being incompatible “with the sociocultural values of any ethnic group in Ghana”. The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 imposes a maximum of five years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ, and it makes advocating LGBTQ rights a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison. News Ghana reported on Saturday that a statement signed by the internal province’s Archbishop, Dr Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, said: “We see LGBTQI+ as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the Bill comes into fruition.” It said that the Church “does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities they perform”. It appealed to the public not to embark on any form of harassment of LGBTQ individuals or associated groups “but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ”. Homosexual acts have been illegal in the country since the British colonial era. Letter


Kenyan Churches: Don’t invite politicians to the pulpit

THE Kenyan National Council of Churches, in preparation for next year’s elections there, has asked church leaders to “avoid anointing or commissioning any individuals to be aspirants or to declare any to be the God-ordained candidate”, and not to allow any political leader or aspirant to speak to the congregation from the pulpit. In its guidelines for those ministering to political leaders and those seeking office, it expresses concern that politicians are “consistently passing messages of hate, division and discord from the pulpit and in churches”, and it encourages churches to “endeavour to minister to aspirants from the different political persuasions, and to pray for each when they attend the service”. Congregations should develop manifestos setting out what they expect from potential leaders. The leak of the Pandora Papers last week revealed that the family of the current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, owned a network of offshore companies for decades.


Roman Catholic synod seeks to engage every parish

A TWO-YEAR synodical process is aimed at involving every parish in the Roman Catholic Church. Launching it last weekend, Pope Francis expressed the desire for “an open square where all can feel at home and participate”. The theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”, and the initial, diocesan, phase will run until next April. This will be followed by a continental phase and will culminate in a gathering of the Synod of the Bishops in the Vatican in October 2023. The Pope said on Saturday: “The Synod is an Ecclesial moment, and the protagonist is the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, there will not be a Synod.” He warned that priests could become “elitists” and “the patrons of the barracks”. 

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