Pope admitted to hospital for abdominal surgery
POPE FRANCIS was admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, on Wednesday afternoon, where he underwent abdominal surgery, Vatican News reports. His surgeon, Dr Sergio Alfieri, reported on Thursday that he was making a good recovery. “The Holy Father is well, he is awake, alert, and has already joked with me!” A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Thursday said that the papal audiences would be temporarily suspended “as a precautionary measure” while the Pope recovers. Earlier this week, the press office said that the surgery became necessary owing to “an incisional laparocele (hernia) that is causing recurrent, painful and worsening sub-occlusive syndromes”.
Prayers in Rome after Indian rail disaster
THE Pope has expressed his condolence with the families of the 275 people who died after the train crash in the state of Odisha, eastern India, on Sunday, said to be the worst in India this century. Also, 1200 people were injured, when a passenger train was directed on to a secondary track, collided head on with a stationary freight train, and hit a second passenger train coming in the opposite direction. During the Sunday Angelus in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said: “May our heavenly Father receive the souls of the deceased into his Kingdom.” Reports suggest that the cause may have related to a faulty rail switch. An investigation continues.
Welby and WCC concerned about Jerusalem protest
THE Archbishop of Canterbury and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have expressed concern about a violent protest by right-wing Jewish activists against an Evangelical Christian event in Jerusalem on 28 May. The protesters are reported to have chanted insults, spat on participants, and smashed windows at the Davidson Center, where the event was taking place, near the Western Wall. Archbishop Welby said on Twitter last week that he reiterated his commitment “to guard[ing] the status quo of Jerusalem as a city precious to Jews, Christians, and Muslims”; and that the freedom of religion was “foundational” to the Israeli constitution. The WCC’s general secretary, the Revd Dr Jerry Pillay, said that “violations to the status quo” between the faiths in Jerusalem “bring division, hardship, and violence”.
New co-chair for Anglican-Oriental Orthodox body
THE Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, has been appointed to co-chair of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC). He succeeds the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron. The Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London is the Oriental Orthodox co-chair. Dr Jackson said: “The Dialogue is something of which I have been privileged to be part since 2002. Throughout that period, we have addressed a wide range of issues of importance to the various traditions involved in the Dialogue. . . The movements of people worldwide have brought us all closer together both personally and theologically.”