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World news in brief

18 August 2023


The Revd Charlie Holt preaches at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday

The Revd Charlie Holt preaches at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday

Holt takes up parish post in Jacksonville

THE Revd Charlie Holt took up post as Rector of St Mark’s Episcopal Church, in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday, the church has announced. He preached at all three services that day. Last month, his consecration to be the next Bishop of Florida was blocked, against the wishes of the diocese’s electors, by other dioceses in the Episcopal Church of the United States (News, 28 July). The refusal of a majority other dioceses to give their consent in this instance marked what appeared to be the final twist in the long-running saga to ap­­point Fr Holt as bishop. He previously served as associate rector of teaching and formation at St John the Divine, in Houston, Texas, and was given a staff position at the diocese of Florida while the process was under way.


Pakistan drops Minorities Bill

THE Pakistan Senate has scrapped the National Commission for Minorities Bill 2023 after the draft Bill, which had been passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan, was criticised for violating the UN Paris Principles. The Principles outline how national institutions should promote and protect human rights, including the protection and promotion of rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.


Kenya on ‘precipice’ say church leaders

KENYANS must exercise restraint and unite to pull the nation from the “precipice”, the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims have said. Their joint statement last Friday praises the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio La Umoja coalitions for agreeing to “sit down and talk” to fix the socio-political and economic crises in the country. “Kenyans have in the last few days heaved a sigh of relief as the bipartisan talks got underway. The absence of toxic political bickering has accorded citizens a chance to reflect on their lives and resume livelihood activities.” It concludes “by reminding all Kenyans that we are in a delicate situation that requires careful consideration of the action of each of us. Let us exercise restraint in every situation, so that we redeem our nation from the precipice.”


Pope: World Day of Peace to focus on AI

THE next theme of the World Day of Peace (1 January) is to be “Artificial Intelligence and Peace”, the Vatican has announced. A Communiqué of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development says that Pope Francis has called for an “open dialogue on the meaning of these new technologies, endowed with disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects”. There was a “need to be vigilant” to avoid the prevalence of “violence and discrimination . . . at the expense of the most fragile and excluded”, it says. There was an “urgent need to orient the concept and use of artificial intelligence in a responsible way”, and “ethical reflection” was needed on the place of AI in education and law.

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