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World news in brief

by
16 June 2023

Alamy

The State funeral for Silvio Berlusconi in Milan on Wednesday

The State funeral for Silvio Berlusconi in Milan on Wednesday

Pope condoles with Silvio Berlusconi’s family

POPE FRANCIS has offered his condolences to the family of the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who died on Tuesday, aged 86. Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon, waded through sex scandals and corruption cases to become the longest-serving prime minister in post-war Italy, leading four governments between 1994 and 2011 (though not consecutively). A telegram sent to Mr Berlusconi’s daughter by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis, states that the Pope “wishes to extend his closeness to you and your family, assuring you of his heartfelt participation in the mourning for the loss of a protagonist of Italian political life, who held public responsibilities with energetic temperament”.

 

Vatican hands fines environmentalist glue protesters

VATICAN judges have found two environmental activists guilty of vandalism for gluing themselves to a famous statue, dated to the first century BC, in the Vatican Museums. Guido Viero, 61, and Ester Goffi, 26, glued themselves to the statue, Laocoön and His Sons, last summer. They were sentenced on Monday to nine months in prison, suspended for five years, and ordered to pay a €1500 fine. A third activist, Laura Zorzini, who filmed the protest on her phone, was ordered to pay a €120 fine. The Vatican City only has three prison cells, and it rarely imposes prison sentences.

 

Greek priest suspended in girl-servers row

AN ORTHODOX priest at St Nikolaos Ragavas, in Plaka, Athens, Fr Alexandros Karyotoglou, has been “verbally” suspended from ministry after including two girls as altar servers, pending a decision by the Holy Synod, local media report. The move reportedly angered hardliners. No official reason was given for the suspension, but the row began after a picture of the two girls, dressed as servers and carrying candles, was posted on Twitter after the Sunday service.

 

Bishop Curry halts visits while under treatment

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, continues to be monitored after his recent hospitalisation (News, 2 June), and will not undertake any in-person events for the remainder of the month, a statement from his office of public affairs said late last week. The hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, “detected internal bleeding and a new instance of heart arrhythmia”. The Bishop was “receiving thorough testing and monitoring to understand the relationship between his medication for atrial fibrillation and the episode of internal bleeding”, the statement said. “The necessary process of diagnostic appointments, treatment, and follow-up will take some weeks.”

 

LA Episcopal church leases worship space to ACNA

AN EPISCOPAL church in Los Angeles is leasing its worship space to a congregation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a “middle way” after decades of separation, ENS reports. All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Highland Park, has voted to welcome the Church of the Resurrection to share its worship space. This was agreed by the leadership groups of both congregations, and endorsed by the Episcopalian Bishop of LA, the Rt Revd John Harvey Taylor, and the diocesan Standing Committee. “At a House of Bishops’ meeting last year, Bishop Curry asked us all to keep in mind that, in his words, the ‘ACNA of 20 years ago is not necessarily the ACNA of today’,” Bishop Taylor said. “He just wanted us to go into any conversations we had with ACNA with hearts of reconciliation. That’s just what our colleagues and I did, working with our siblings at [the Church of the Resurrection].” The Rector of the latter, the Revd Teesha Hadra, praised the “relational welcome” that the congregation had received.

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