Published April 1, 2001

Violence forces changeGeneva

(ENI) – Middle East violence has pushed a major international church meeting, planned for June, out of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The Lutheran World Federation decided to move its meeting to Geneva, citing the ?present uncertain situation? after months of violence in the region The decision was made after consultations with Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (ELCJ), the meeting?s host.

With only a few months before the meeting, Geneva is the most practical alternative site, according to the LWF, which is based at the Ecumenical Centre there.

However, some members of the LWF council said they still wanted to show their solidarity with people in the region by holding the meeting in Jerusalem.

The council said it will consider holding its 2002 meeting in Bethlehem. The LWF has 131 member churches in 72 countries, representing over 60.2 million of the nearly 64 million Lutherans worldwide.

Indulgence debate


(ENI)?The Vatican has consulted with two mainstream Protestant organizations to better understand their opposition to the practice of granting indulgencess

Indulgences are not normally a dominant practice in the day-to-day life of most Roman Catholics. The Vatican?s publication in 1998 of a document on how the faithful could obtain plenary indulgences in the Catholic Church?s jubilee year in 2000 stirred long-standing differences about the practice.

According to Roman Catholic teaching, the souls of those who have died in a state of grace undergo purification in purgatory before being admitted to heaven.Plenary indulgences can cancel this period in purgatory. Catholics can obtain an indulgence – either for themselves, or for another soul already in purgatory, by following certain rituals or acts of self-denial.

Carey apologizes


The Archbishop of Canterbury apologized for mistakes made by England in Africa toward the end of a two-week visit to Nigeria.

In an unscheduled speech, Archbishop George Carey told tribal leaders in the state of Ogun that missionaries had “not always been completely fair to their African hosts and converts” in the past.

He described some of the behaviour of missionaries as inhumane. “We the English have made many mistakes in the past about Africa: there is no doubt about that. We owe you an apology,” he said.

During his visit to Nigeria, which has 15 million Anglicans, Archbishop Carey expressed his opposition to Islamic punishments such as floggings and amputations. Twelve northern states in Nigeria have introduced Sharia, the Islamic form of punishment against perceived criminal acts.

The Church of England Newspaper and Church Times

Communion dispute


(ENI)-Archbishop Desmond Connell, Ireland’s second most senior Roman Catholic leader, has complained that the Anglican Church of Ireland is not respecting the faith and obligation of Roman Catholics because it allows them to receive communion in Anglican services.

In an interview before going to Rome to be made a cardinal, Archbishop Connell, who is archbishop of Dublin, said that Catholic communion with the Church of Ireland and other Protestants is incomplete because Catholics do not have the same faith about the Eucharist.

His Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Walton Empey of Dublin, expressed sadness that the joyful occasion of Archbishop Connell’s elevation to the College of Cardinals was marred by acrimony.

“At times like this, I feel that Jesus is weeping and the devil is doing a dance,” he said.

Valerie Jones, spokeswoman for Archbishop Empey, said the Church of Ireland has about 75,000 members.


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