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World news in brief

14 October 2022


Pope marks 60th anniversary of Vatican II

POPE FRANCIS has described “progressivism” and “traditionalism” in the Church as “forms of Pelagian selfishness that puts our own tastes and plans above the love of God”, Vatican News reports. The Pope was preaching a homily during a mass to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Instead, he said, “let us rediscover the Council in order to restore primacy to God, to what is essential: to a Church madly in love with its Lord and with all the men and women whom He loves.” He concluded with a prayer that God might “free us from the presumption of self-sufficiency and from the spirit of worldly criticism . . . to lead us forth from the shadows of self-absorption . . . [and] save us from the forms of polarisation that are the devil’s handiwork”.


Funerals held for Creeslough dead

THE people of Creeslough, Co. Donegal, are “living through a nightmare of shock and horror”, the RC Bishop of Raphoe, the Rt Revd Alan McGuckian, said in a homily on Sunday. Ten residents died in last Friday’s petrol-station explosion in the village. “There is something deeply shocking and upsetting about what life can throw up. We ask: why did it have to happen to this person or that person? Why did they have to be there at that awful moment?” Bishop McGuckian said. “It is fundamentally a terrible realisation that we are not masters of our own destiny; we are very fragile and vulnerable,” he said, but “at this moment, when life can seem to be ‘random’ and unreliable and threatening, we are invited to trust in the presence of Jesus coming towards us.” The blast destroyed a petrol station and a shop, and damaged surrounding buildings in the village, which is in the north-west of the Republic of Ireland. Funerals for two of the victims, Jessica Galgher and Martin McGill, were held on Tuesday. The Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, was expected to attend a further two funeral masses in Creeslough, on Wednesday.


Sorrow after pre-school massacre in Thailand

THE RC Bishop of Nakhon Ratchasima, in Thailand, the Rt Revd Joseph Chusak Sirisut, has expressed sorrow at the massacre of 36 people, including 22 children, at a nursery in the town of Uthai, Sawan, on Thursday of last week. A former police officer opened fire as children were sleeping, most of whom were then stabbed to death. The 34-year-old attacker, Panya Khamrab, who had been dismissed from the force last year for methamphetamine possession, had appeared in court earlier on Thursday on a drugs charge. He later shot his wife and child, before turning the gun on himself. “We feel sorry for this tragic incident, especially with small children who have no chance to defend themselves, and no way to fight,” the Bishop said.


Texan parish hosts High Holy Days services

ST MATTHEW’s, an Episcopal church in Austin, Texas, hosted High Holy Days services for the Congregation Beth Israel last month, because the synagogue was damaged in an arson attack a year ago and repair work continues, ENS reports. An 18-year-old Texas State Guard member who set fire to the building is facing federal arson and hate-crime charges. Congregation Beth Israel had previously used another church, but that church did not share its values of LGBTQ+ inclusivity; and St Matthew’s was following the scripture passage inscribed on the building: “A house of prayer for all people,” , the Rector, the Revd Katie Wright, said.


Episcopal Church welcomes marijuana pardon

THE pardon issued by the White House for all previous federal offences of simple possession of marijuana has been welcomed by the Episcopal Church in the United States. The pardons are expected to affect about 6500 individuals. “We also welcome the request for state governors to take similar actions, as the majority of the prison population is housed at the state level,” a church statement said. In 1973, the General Convention recommended treating possession or personal use of marijuana as a misdemeanour offence. “Since that time, we have continued to advocate for an end to mass incarceration, an end to racial disparities in sentencing, and alternatives to incarceration for those struggling with addiction or mental illness.”


St Philip’s, Uvalde, to open grief counselling centre

THE Episcopal church in Uvalde, Texas, the town where 19 children and two adults died in a shooting at Robb Elementary School, on 24 May, is offering part of its property to become a grief counselling centre for children, ENS reports. A building on the campus of St Philip’s Episcopal Church and School will become a permanent branch of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, a charity that has been working from a room in the church temporarily since the shooting.


AlamyAlamyStage left: Dame Angela Lansbury died at home in Los Angeles on Tuesday, five days before her 97th birthday. Dame Angela, who was born in London, but emigrated to the United States at the start of the Blitz, moved quickly to Hollywood, becoming a prolific actress in film and television roles, besides sustaining a successful stage career. A granddaughter of George Lansbury, Dame Angela was raised in the Church of England, and more recently attended St David’s Anglican Church, North Hollywood. She occasionally made appearances at fund-raising events at other churches in the US. In 2014, she was appointed DBE for services to acting and for philanthropy

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