Religious news June 24, 2022

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UK aid agencies unite to appeal for Afghanistan earthquake victims

The Disaster Emergency Committee says it is deeply concerned about the earthquake that struck Paktika province in Afghanistan, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring at least 1,500 others. Funds from the existing appeal for Afghanistan will be used for this latest tragedy. Islamic Relief, one of 15 charity members of the DEC, says it has sent an emergency response team to the province, to provide food aid and cash so people can buy supplies and shelter. emergency for people who have lost their homes. It says the worst affected areas are remote rural communities, many of which are hard to reach.

Bishop says diplomacy and easing sanctions could be the best route to securing Ukrainian territory

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, said the overriding aim of the war in Ukraine must be to end it as soon as possible under terms that reflect Ukraine’s independent sovereign status. In a document to be presented to the General Synod, the Church of England parliament, in July, he said the long-term goal should be for Ukraine to control all of its territory, “but it doesn’t does not necessarily follow that military force should be used to liberate Crimea or even the entire eastern region of Donbass. Some of these goals could be better served through diplomacy and the selective easing of sanctions. He also said the longer-term goal was to “negotiate with Russia a more ambitious security treaty and a framework for Europe more broadly” and he warned against negotiating a peace that sows the seeds of future conflict. Prior to his ordination, the bishop worked for four years as a Russian linguist in GCHQ. The Telegraphthe report is here

Russian Orthodox Church criticizes UK sanctions against Patriarch Kirill

Jonathan Luxmoore, writing in Church hours, reports that the Russian Orthodox Church has criticized the UK’s imposition of sanctions on Patriarch Cyril. His press officer reportedly said attempts to intimidate the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, or force him to renounce his views, are unnecessary and futile. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced last week that a travel ban and asset freeze was being imposed on several “enablers and perpetrators” of the war, including Kirill, named for his “support and endorsement of Putin’s war.

Minister of Faith Visits Pope to Promote International Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Faith Minister Kemi Badenoch wrote a signed article published in the Jewish Chronicle during her visit to the Vatican in late May, when she met Pope Francis to promote the international ministerial conference on freedom of religion or belief. In an Instagram post, she said, “It was the honor of my life.” She also wrote that she had met the Chief Rabbi of Rome and said, “It is well known that religion connects cultures and communities. Yet it is only by visiting these places that one truly understands what this actually means. She pledged to build a lasting Holocaust memorial in the UK, including education on anti-Semitism in the national curriculum, and said she looked forward to the UK chairing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2024. She expressed hope that the upcoming Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference in London on July 5-6, would unite world leaders in a common mission to end the injustice of people of faith who are the target of terror and hatred.

Pope apologizes for abusing West Yorkshire college survivors

Pope Francis met a group of men who were sexually abused at St Peter Claver College in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, in the 1960s and 1970s, and asked for forgiveness. The meeting took place in the Vatican this week and The tablet reports that the pope was visibly shaken and upset as he listened to their testimony. The college was a training school for priests run by the Verona Fathers, an Italian religious order known as the Comboni Missionaries, who refused to acknowledge abuses took place or meet with survivors. A police investigation revealed that two suspects had died and the third was in a psychiatric hospital in Italy, unable to answer questions. The tablet Christopher Lamb’s story is here

Itinerary published for the Pope’s visit to Canada in July

The Associated Press reports that the Vatican has released the itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada July 24-30. He must apologize to Indigenous peoples for the horrific abuses in Catholic residential schools, where children were forcibly taken from their parents to be assimilated into Canadian society. Hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered on the sites of former schools. Earlier this month mobility issues forced the pope to cancel a six-day visit to Africa.

Vatican publishes documents online about Jewish pleas for help against Nazis

The Vatican publishes online a collection of documents from Jews asking for help from Pope Pius XII against the Nazis. There are 170 volumes, or almost 40,000 files, and 70% will be online in the first wave. The material has been available since March 2020, for reading in the Vatican Historical Archives.

TV drama “fear of taking risks” about Muslim stories

A comment in The Guardian argues that people from ethnic minorities and Muslim backgrounds face a difficult, painful, and often futile experience in the creative industries. Scott Trust Fellowship recipient Sammy Gecsoyler reports that comedy has seen groundbreaking shows featuring Muslim stories and talent, but in acting there is still a long way to go. He says too often dramas opt to portray Muslims with an air of criminality, cites examples of screenwriters saying they have to get rid of a character’s “Muslimness”, reports fears that stories about Muslims are “massacres” and cites a view that commissioners are afraid to take risks on stories of Muslims they don’t recognize. His article is here.

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