Canadian diocese launches Covid appeal
THE Anglican diocese of Moosonee, in Canada, has launched an urgent appeal for funds to support communities in Kashechewan First Nation, northern Ontario, who are experiencing a “deepening state of emergency” as a result of surging Covid-19 cases, primarily among children. More than 200 cases have been reported in the community of 1800 people. www.canadahelps.org
Prison chaplains’ visits threatened by radio plan
THE decision by the National Penitentiary Department (NPD) in Brazil to replace in-person chaplain visits to prisoners with ecumenical closed-circuit radio stations has been condemned by the Roman Catholic Prison Pastoral Commission in the country, the news website Crux reports. The NPD said that the plan, announced in April, would “greatly multiply the number of people assisted by their religious institutions, in comparison to the limited quantity of people that attend the in-person visit of a religious leader, usually in the [prison] yards”. In May, however, the Commission wrote to the NPD’s policy director, rejecting the idea as a direct attack on its work. A theological adviser to the Commission, Fr Gianfranco Graziola, told Crux this week: “Prisoners have a right to religious assistance, and religious assistance is not only preaching. Catholics need to receive the sacraments, and that’s impossible via audio system.”
Faith leaders call for action on Uighur genocide
A GROUP of religious leaders, including the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, have written to the G7 leaders who met in Cornwall at the weekend to raise the issue of suspected genocide and crimes against humanity committed against the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China. “Despite the ever-growing evidence of the atrocities, the response from the international community continues to be inadequate,” they write. “Only a few States have condemned the atrocities. Even fewer States imposed sanctions against those most responsible.” The letter, signed by 49 people, including a representative of the Dalai Lama, urges the G7 to “condemn the atrocities and work towards comprehensive responses, including investigating and prosecuting the crimes, assisting the survivors and protecting them from future atrocities”. Some of the signatories had also signed another letter urging the G7 leaders to ensure a more equitable rollout of Covid-19 vaccines (News, 11 June).
Priests ‘abducted and tortured’ in Cameroon
ROMAN CATHOLIC priests in Cameroon are being attacked, abducted, tortured, and killed, owing to the conflict between the Anglophone separatists and the Francophone government, Voice of America reports. The director of communications at the RC National Episcopal Conference in Cameroon, Fr Humphrey Tatah Mbui, said in a press release seen by the publication that at least six priests had been tortured by the military or rebels in the past two weeks. He said: “The Church must keep on insisting on that justice and truth in and out of season. And when the Church will speak the truth, often it does not sit well with one or the other side. Many parishes have been closed, or they are not operating as they should.”