World news in brief

Written by corres2

Persevere with marriage, Pope urges faithful

POPE FRANCIS has acknowledged the toll that the pandemic has taken on marriages and families. In a letter to married couples, published on Boxing Day, he writes: “For some couples, the enforced living conditions during the quarantine were particularly difficult. Pre-existing problems were aggravated, creating conflicts that in some cases became almost unbearable.” He urges married couples not to divorce, however, because this causes “immense suffering” for both the couple and their children. “The Lord Jesus, in his infinite mercy, will inspire you to carry on amid your many difficulties and sorrows. Keep praying for his help, and seek in him a refuge and a light for the journey.”

Legal recognition of C of E approved in Italy

THE Church of England has gained legal status and recognition in Italy, after a treaty signed between the Associazione Chiesa d’Inghilterra (ACDI) and the Italian government, in 2019 (News, 12 April 2019) was approved by the lower house of the Italian Parliament, on 15 December, having been approved by the Italian Senate last January. A statement from the diocese in Europe says that the treaty “enables our chaplaincy churches and congregations to integrate more fully into the Italian legal, social, and fiscal system”. Among other benefits, it is expected to enable C of E clergy in Italy to obtain visas more easily; allow them to work under specific clergy contracts and to participate in the Italian clergy pension schemes; and make it “easier for clergy and chaplaincies to offer ministry in hospitals, prisons, and schools”, the diocese says.

Charity concerned for welfare of five Nigerian orphans

THE charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has expressed concern about the welfare of five children removed by police from orphanages in the Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna in December 2019. The orphanages are run by the Christian organisation Du Merci Orphanage. The children, aged between four and eight, have been held in an orphanage in Gaya since last January, CSW says. It has “received credible information indicating that the five children appear thin, dirty, and unkempt, and are withdrawn and fearful. They have all been given Muslim names, and can no longer remember their original ones.” Earlier this year, the co-founder of Du Merci, Professor Richard Solomon Musa Tarfa, was acquitted of abducting 19 children from their legal guardians and confining them in an unregistered orphanage (News, 2 July).

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