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World news in brief

21 April 2023


Olympic rings seen in the “Fête des Bouviers” Shepherd’s festival in Loriol sur Drome, France, last month

Olympic rings seen in the “Fête des Bouviers” Shepherd’s festival in Loriol sur Drome, France, last month

Olympics an opportunity for French Catholics, says Pope

NEXT year’s Olympic Games in France will be an opportunity for Roman Catholics to open their hearts and homes with “gratuitousness and generosity”, Pope Francis has said. In a message released on Tuesday, the Pope expressed his hope that the Olympics — in Paris and 16 other French cities, 26 July to 11 August 2024 — would be “an occasion for profound and fruitful encounter between people from all walks of life, belonging to different peoples, cultures, and religions”. It was both a “responsibility” and a “joy to welcome the whole world” to France. He urged French Catholics “to open your churches, schools, and homes. . . Above all, open your hearts.”


Vatican ruling requested on Ribes stained glass

POPE FRANCIS has been asked by the Mayor of Givors, Mohamed Boudjellaba, to rule on whether stained-glass windows by Louis Ribes, a priest found to have raped and abused dozens of children, must be removed from the deconsecrated Saint-Martin de Cornas chapel there, French media report. Dozens of artworks by Ribes, who died in 1994 without facing trial, have already been removed in the Lyon area. Mr Boudjellaba has argued that “we should separate the art from the artist.” The diocese of Lyon was one of three that, in a joint statement in January 2022, said that they had received many credible accusations against Ribes. In 2021, an independent inquiry concluded that 216,000 people in France had been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests and religious over the past 70 years (News, 8 October 2021).


Our hearts breaking, say Tennessee bishops after shooting

AFTER a mass shooting at the Covenant School, Nashville, Tennessee, last month, in which six people were killed, the three Episcopalian bishops in the state issued a statement on Tuesday. “The epidemic of gun violence across our land has made none of the streets of our state safe, either for the old to sit or the young to play,” it said. “We . . . pray that our state legislators will act now to find and walk a path together, enacting legislation which embraces common sense gun regulations. . . Along with God’s, our hearts are breaking, too.”


Concern over offences eliminated in Colombian Bill

RELIGIOUS leaders and human-rights defenders in Colombia have expressed concern about an article of a proposed Bill which would remove punishments for several crimes relating to violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. On 12 April, the Colombian Minister of Justice, Néstor Ozuna, accepted a Senate committee proposal to remove language that addresses crimes against religious sentiment and respect for the dead from legislation that is designed to make the criminal system more humane and streamlined, striking out various offences to reduce prison overcrowding. The Bill will now be put to debate in the Colombian Senate.

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