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World news in brief

17 February 2023


Cardinal criticised for organising circus trip

A POLISH Cardinal who, on behalf of Pope Francis, treated 200 people in Rome to a trip to the circus is facing a backlash from animal-rights groups because the performance featured trained elephants, Crux Now reports. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski extended the invitation to inmates, homeless persons, refugees, and families from Ukraine, the Congo, and South Sudan, accompanied by volunteers. “Making participation in this show possible is a way to give a few hours of serenity to those who face a hard life, and who need help to find hope,” Cardinal Krajewski had said. During the circus, he took part in a demonstration during which an elephant stepped over him. The president of the International Organization for the Protection of Animals, Massimo Comparotto, said: “The pontiff often has expressed the importance of a greater respect for nature. . . This choice seems contradictory to his so-called ‘ecological magisterium’. . . They’re animals forced into a life that’s against nature.”


Day of prayer held for MAF pilot’s safe release

STAFF of the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) undertook 24 hours of prayer and fasting on Wednesday for the safe release of the pilot Ryan Koher, a United States citizen who, it reports, has been wrongfully detained in Mozambique since 4 November (News, 9 December 2022). Mr Koher, who is 31, is a pilot for Ambassador Aviation Ltd (AAL), which is a partner of MAF in Mozambique. He was detained before piloting a charter flight to deliver supplies for various orphanages near Montepuez, in the north of the country. A request for bail was denied by a Mozambican judge on 9 February. Mr Koher’s wife, Annabelle, who released a video in preparation for the day of prayer, said: “Please pray for Ryan’s release and that we would be reunited again soon.”


Ethiopia restricts social media amid unrest

THE Ethiopian government has banned rallies and restricted access to social-media platforms in the country in response to weeks of unrest, division, and violence in some regions, which had been sparked by a rift within Ethiopia’s Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Last month, three bishops from the Church formed their own patriarchate, which they named “Oromia and Nations and Nationalities Synod”, saying that they needed to exercise their faith in local languages. The synod has been denounced as “illegal” by the Orthodox Church. At least 30 people had been killed in protests since 4 February, the Church said. It also accused the Ethiopian government of “meddling” in the Church’s internal affairs. On Wednesday, it was reported that the Church had struck a deal with the breakaway bishops, in the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to reinstate them, and to allocate funding and resources to churches across Oromia.



Anglican religious take stand against logging

THE Society of Saint Francis (SSF) and the Community of the Sisters of the Church (CSC) have announced a series of mission projects to strengthen the awareness and resilience of communities, in a stand against what they describe as “rampant industrial logging” in the Solomon Islands. The Communities, working off a series of focus-group discussions in six villages across Guadalcanal Island, intend to raise the issue with the United Nations. They said this week: “Without exception, the communities, who traditionally rely on the forest and sea and their resources, reported severe disruptions caused by logging: streams have been polluted or blocked, deforestation is causing a rise in temperatures which in turn affects agriculture, the barges used to collect logs have damaged coral reefs and fishing grounds, and invasive species are threatening their crops.”


US parents want their children to believe as they do

MORE than one third of parents in the United States agree that it is “extremely or very important” to them that their children have similar religious beliefs to their own when they become adults, new research from the Pew Research Center suggests. White Evangelical Protestant parents were twice as likely to say this than parents overall (70 per cent v. 35 per cent). More than half (53 per cent) of Black Protestant parents also expressed this view. This view was less common among Roman Catholic parents (35 per cent) and white non-Evangelical Protestant parents (29 per cent). Just eight per cent of religiously unaffiliated parents — those who described their religious views as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” — said the same.

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