Earlier this week the British Parliament housed a restrained, sometimes mawkish and at times moving debate on gay marriage – and the bill passed the House of Commons, 400 to 175. The story was not that it passed, which had been expected. Instead, it was the split in the major governing party, the Conservatives, more of whose 303 MPs voted against the bill than for it. (Conservatives voted 136 in favor of the bill, with 127 voting no, five abstentions and 35 not registering a vote.) Prime Minister David Cameron, still intent on ensuring that his party is liberal as well as conservative, was emollient and understanding of those against the measure but presented his support in the context of a “strong belief in marriage. … It’s about equality but also about making our society stronger.”
A printing error helped a 12th century English village church realise it owned a rare 400-year-old King James Bible, the book that changed the world. The edition that had been sitting on a ledge in the pretty Anglican church in Wiltshire, central England for the past 150 years, barely touched and much less read, is one of only a handful that still exists.
(Photo: Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, (C REAR) follows former Anglican bishops (L-R) John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton after their ordination as Roman Catholic priests at Westminster Cathedral in central London, January 15, 2011/Andrew Winning)
The new Roman Catholic Church body set up to house disaffected Anglicans would not become a ghetto within the Church, the priest appointed to lead the group said on Monday. The ordinariate, a special subdivision in the Church created by the Vatican to allow the converts to retain some of their Anglican customs, would also seek to evangelise while maintaining good relations with Anglicans, the former Church of England bishop Keith Newton told reporters.
A man linked to two bomb blasts in Stockholm at the weekend had stormed out of a mosque in England several years ago and never returned after its leader challenged him over his radical ideas. Taymour Abdulwahab, a Swedish national of Middle Eastern origin who died in one of the blasts he is believed to have triggered, attended an Islamic Center in the town of Luton, southern England, and also studied at the local university.
(Photo: Pope Benedict and Prime Minister David Cameron before the pope’s departure, 19 Sept 2010/ Eddie Keogh)
Following are excerpts from comments by Prime Minister David Cameron and Pope Benedictbefore the pontiff left for Rome on Sunday after four days in Scotland and England.
(Photo: Pope Benedict surrounded by bishops in Birmingham, September 19, 2010/Simon Dawson)
Pope Benedict urged the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland on Sunday to confront the assumptions of modern culture, help the poor, protect children and work together with Anglicans.
(Photo: Pope Benedict at a beatification Mass for Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham, September 19, 2010/Darren Staples)
Pope Benedict declared the 19th century English Cardinal John Henry Newman blessed — the first step on the road to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church — at a ceremony in Birmingham on Sunday.
(Photo: Workmen prepare altar for pope in Glasgow, September 14, 2010/David Moir)
Thousands of seats have yet to be filled for Pope Benedict’s public masses in England and Scotland this week, a far cry from the warm welcome his predecessor received nearly 30 years ago.
Pope Benedict will make his first visit to Britain as head of the Roman Catholic Church on September 16-19. This will also be the first official papal visit to the country. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, talks with Reuters about the trip in the context of the Church’s child-abuse scandal, tensions with the Anglican Church and planned protests.
Fallout from the Catholic child sex abuse scandal spread across Europe on Thursday as the Vatican retired an Irish bishop, a German offered to step down and prelates in England and Wales apologised for the “terrible crimes” of priests.