AN ENGIISH MARIST Brother may have been the latest victim claimed by the continuing blood-shed in Rwanda, according to reports issued this week. Marist Vicar General Sean Sammon said this week that the Order had received a report stating that 43-year-old Br Chris Mannion, reported missing last month, was killed by troops of the Patriotic Front on 1 July along with Br Joseph Rushigajiki, a Hutu and Rwandan national. The report also states that, in an attempt to cover up the slayings, the car in which the two were travelling was set afire with Rushiajiki's body in it; Mannion's body was buried near the site of the killings.
IN THE FACE OF possible crackdowns by the Chinese government, the underground Catholic Church ordained 71 priests in three Chinese provinces within the first seven months of this year, it was revealed this week. The new priests in Fujian, Hebei and Heilongjiang provinces have studied clandestinely for seven to nine years, under very strict supervision. Without authorisation to run formation courses publicly, underground seminaries, regarded as illegal by Chinese authorities, face the threat of crackdown by local authorities.
Murder inquiry Murder inquiry
A COMMISSION OF inquiry in Sierra Leone into the murder of an Irish priest and a family of Dutch missionaries ended at the weekend after hearing claims that the killers were government soldiers, not rebels. The Commission was set up in response to calls from the Church and Western embassies for a full inquiry into the March massacre in which 80 Sierra Leoneans were put to death. Foreign interest, however, centred on the death of Fr Faelim MacAllister and the family of Dr Eelco ICrijn.
A WARSAW COURT this week acquitted two former Communist generals of masterminding the death of a popular solidarity priest ten years ago. The court said it was impossible to determine the guilt of Gens Wladyslaw Ciaston and Zenon Platek, who headed secret security forces when Fr Jerzy Popieluszko was killed by their subordinates. "Instigation to kill the priest is probable, but the court in such cases must always apply the rule of presumed innocence," said Judge Jaroslaw Garel. Outside the court, protesters shouted "Disgrace!" when the verdict was announced.
HIS HOLINESS VASKEN the First, Catholicos of All Armenians, died last week at the age of 85. He was Supreme Patriarch of one of the oldest Churches in Christendom. His achievement was to have achieved greater freedom for the Church during the years of Soviet rule in Armenia than was allowed in any other republic in the former USSR. He developed ecumenical understanding with leaders of other denominations and gained worldwide respect.
A LEADING JEWISH religious scholar, philosopher and political philosopher has died in
Jerusalem. Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a committed Zionist, has died in his sleep at the age of 90. Despite being a devout Jewish believer, Leibowitz spoke out frequently against the religious establishment and felt strongly that religion should be separated from the state.
THE HEAD MONKS Of Sri Lanka's most prominent Buddhist orders launched a petition this week appealing to the government to restore the privileged place the country's constitution grants to Buddhism. The petition calls on the government to foster Buddhism, giving it prominence rather than treating it as one of several equal religions on the island.