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World news in brief

by
22 September 2023

Alamy

President and Pope: the former President of the United States Bill Clinton speaks to the Pope by video call, on Monday, during an event in New York City organised by the Clinton Global Initiative. The two-day event was attended by politicians, business leaders, and philanthropists, and focused on matters such as climate change, gender-based violence, and the war in Ukraine

President and Pope: the former President of the United States Bill Clinton speaks to the Pope by video call, on Monday, during an event in New York City organised by the Clinton Global Initiative. The two-day event was attended by politicians, business leaders, and philanthropists, and focused on matters such as climate change, gender-based violence, and the war in Ukraine

 

Christian Aid launches Libyan appeal

AN EMERGENCY appeal to help people affected by the devastating floods in Libya was launched by Christian Aid last Friday (News, 15 September). Libyan Red Crescent says that more than 11,000 people are reported dead in the city of Derna, and a further 10,100 people are missing. Christian Aid is working with Dan Church Aid, a charity that has been present in the country since 2011 and is providing medical support for rescue teams, blankets and hygiene items, and helping to establish shelters. It is also buying rescue equipment: teams have reported shortages of torches, helmets, ropes and pulley systems, and tools for removing debris. christianaid.org.uk

 

Swiss RC abuse identified is ‘tip of the iceberg’

ALMOST 1000 cases of sexual abuse have been perpetrated in the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland since 1950, an official inquiry commissioned by the Swiss Conference of Bishops has concluded. Many cases involved children. Researchers from the University of Zurich, who published their findings on Tuesday of last week, warned that the cases identified “amount to only the tip of the iceberg”. They found that many cases were “concealed, covered up or downplayed”, Associated Press reported. “Church officials routinely transferred accused and convicted clerics, sometimes even abroad, in an effort to avoid secular criminal prosecution and secure reassignment for clerics,” they wrote. “In doing so, the interests of the Catholic Church and its leaders were placed before the well-being and protection of parishioners.”

 

Pope approves permanent diaconate for Philippines

THE Vatican has approved a request from bishops in the Philippines to allow them to ordain qualified men, including married men, as permanent deacons, to address the “widening priest-Catholic ratio”, the Union of Catholic Asian News reported on Thursday of last week. Pope Francis granted the request of the country’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference to establish a permanent diaconate within the local Church, according to a Vatican letter that praised the move as a “noble initiative” that will “bear much fruit for many years to come”. The country has one RC priest for every 9500 RC laity, on average — compared with an average ratio around the world of one for every 3373.

 

WCC broadcasts ecumenical prayer for Holy Land

GLOBAL ecumenical prayer for peace in the Holy Land, including worship songs and prayers in multiple languages, was broadcast online by the World Council of Churches on Monday, to commemorate the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (16-23 September). A welcome was given by the WCC’s general secretary, the Revd Professor Jerry Pillay, who spoke of the 75th anniversary of the “Nakba”. “The Palestinian people have experienced generations of displacement and suffering, with many unable to return to their ancestral lands,” he said. “Their plight echoes the words of Jesus when he said, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has not place to lay his head.” The passage was later read in Arabic by a Lutheran pastor, the Revd Ashraf Tannous, before a reflection by Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem and All Palestine. www.youtube.com/@worldcouncilofchurches

 

CAFOD condemns Russian attack that destroyed aid

A RUSSIAN attack on Lviv on Monday night led to a massive warehouse fire and the destruction of more than 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid, CAFOD reported on Tuesday. Its Ukraine programme manager, Josie O’Reilly, said that the charity “strongly” condemned the air strike, which had led to the loss of food packages, water, hygiene kits, clothes, and other vital humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouse by a local church partner in Lviv, Caritas-SPES Ukraine. “We stand in solidarity with humanitarian workers under attack. Aid should never be a target.”

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