World News in Brief

Turkish coup investigators to look at ‘Vatican link’

Members of the Turkish Commission of Inquiry into the failed July 15 coup attempt have stated their intention to include alleged links between the man accused of instigating the uprising and the Vatican in their investigations.

Turkish media have reported comments by commission vice president Selcuk Ozdag and Aykut Erdogdu, deputy of the Republican People’s Party, who are apparently seeking to uncover a sinister meaning in the 1998 meeting between exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen and Pope John Paul II.

“Before leaving Turkey,” Ozdag has been quoted as stating, “Fethullah Gulen met the Pope in the Vatican. Who put them in touch? One should ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican.”

At least one media outlet in Turkey has previously suggested that Gulen, now resident in the United States, is the secret cardinal, created ‘in pectore’ by Pope John Paul II in 2003, and never named.


Jerusalem Patriarchate condemns cemetery desecration

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has condemned the desecration of a Christian cemetery in Galilee. 

In a statement issued following the discovery of obscene graffiti in Arabic scrawled over a number of graves and memorial plaques at the graveyard in Kfar Yassif, the Patriarchate said it “in communion with all the Churches of the Holy Land, strongly condemns this act of vandalism and expressly asks the police to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice as soon as possible.

“The Patriarchate shares the sadness of the families of the deceased of Kfar Yassif and wishes to express to them their closeness and solidarity.”


Canadian teacher sacked for stating opposition to abortion

A teacher at a school in Canada has been sacked after a student took offence at his stated opposition to abortion. During a class on law and ethics at the unnamed school in British Columbia, the teacher illustrated a point by stating that “I find abortion to be wrong, but the law is often different from our personal opinions”. 

A female student subsequently took a complaint to school heads, demanding an apology for the offence she felt at the comment. When the apology was not forthcoming when the teacher was confronted in a corridor, he was required to attend a meeting with senior colleagues who said an apology would be necessary for him to keep his job. At a meeting with students, the teacher subsequently offered the apology both for his comment and for offending a good student he respected. The student then complained that this was too personal and the teacher was sacked. According to reports, the school is known as “progressive” on LGBT issues and affords students the right to be ‘triggered’ by issues they find offensive and to walk out of class should this happen.


Myanmar church bombed

A Catholic church in Shan state, Myanmar, has been bombed amid a fresh outbreak of fighting between government forces and four ethnic groups, known collectively as the Northern Alliance.

The St Francis Xavier church in Mongkoe was hit during air strikes on December 3. No injuries were caused in the bombing as the Catholic congregation of Mongkoe had already fled with the parish priest to neighbouring China.

Reacting to news of the bombing, Bishop Philip Lasap Za Hawng of Lashio Diocese, northern Shan State, called for all sides to engage immediately in peace talks.