St John's Seminary, near Guildford, has come to the end of an era. The 130-year-old institution has only five trainee priests and no new enrolments. The five students will continue their studies at the only other two remaining seminaries in England. In 2019 there were just 29 trainee Catholic priests in the whole country. 100 years ago there were enough seminarians to fill the steps of the grand Victorian building of St John’s. Its rector said, 'It's a very sad moment, but to carry on was not viable. When I trained here in 1973 I was one of 90. I never thought I'd be back overseeing its closure.' The loss of the seminary comes against a backdrop of an increasingly secular world and the fallout from countless sex abuse scandals in the church. The seminaries are swimming against the tide in an increasingly secular and materialistic society.
The G7 leaders will meet in Cornwall from 11 to 13 June. Tearfund has said that since 2020 G7 has spent more on fossil fuels than on clean energy. As UK government funding kick-starts economies, there are unique opportunities to invest in decarbonising global energy systems and accelerating transition from fossil fuels. Although the UK announced green policies of petrol-car phase-out and ending overseas fossil fuels support, only 4% had ‘green strings’ attached. Tearfund feels that this reveals tensions between Government green ambitions and Treasury spending. Every day Tearfund witnesses worsening consequences of the climate crisis in communities around the world. Choices made now by G7 countries will either accelerate the transition towards a climate-safe future for all or jeopardise efforts to tackle the climate crisis. G7 nations represent only a tenth of world population but almost a quarter of CO² emissions. Their actions set the scene for success or failure of the Glasgow climate talks in November. Join with the World Prayer Centre in covering the G7 in prayer between 11th & 13th June - HERE.
Dr Dermot Kearney, who is a highly skilled doctor and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, has been blocked from providing an abortion reversal treatment while an investigation takes place. Dr Kearney provided emergency abortion rescue service to women who later regretted taking the first of two abortion pills (Mifepristone) and wanted to try to save their babies. He prescribed the natural hormone progesterone which inhibits Mifepristone effects. Abortion reversal is about 68% successful if treatment starts within 72 hours. The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Dr Kearney. He is still practising in his NHS hospital but not offering the abortion reversal service. There will be a final disciplinary hearing at which all options will be open about his continuing to practise and his future. He offered the service because the Catholic Medical Association was getting many queries from women, asking for help.
Scientist and government advisor Prof Ravi Gupta sees signs of early stages of a third wave. Although new cases are ‘relatively low’, the Indian variant spreads faster than the winter variant. All waves start with low numbers grumbling in the background before infections explode. New infections with the Indian variant are rising daily in both the north and south of England. Very few hospital patients have had two jabs. See Also an evolved version of the Indian strain, 'Nepal' Covid, has so far been found in twenty Britons. It is closely related to the Indian variant, but has new mutations. The Nepal variant has also spread to several European countries. Its detection in Portugal could put their green-list status at risk. SAGE experts warn that the UK cannot panic every time it spots a new strain. The Government is waiting for more data before making a final decision on whether restrictions will be lifted in England on 21 June. That decision will be announced on 14 June.
Six people, including a 13- and a 14-year-old, were arrested for stabbing to death a 14-year-old boy in Birmingham. The victim was chased towards the nearby McDonald's by youths who fled from the scene after he collapsed. In London’s Hyde Park a 17 year old was chased by a group of males armed with large knives. He fell and was kicked and stabbed; one onlooker screamed ‘He bored him’ (street slang for stabbing. In South London a 23-year-old man is fighting for his life after being stabbed in the face. In north London a flowerstall man in his 50s was stabbed to death in a brutal daylight attack. Pray for more resources to be provided for teachers, social workers, and youth workers to help children and youths explore themes around knife crime and educate them to make better choices.
The man charged with overseeing plans to help children catch up on missed education in England has resigned just four months into the job. Sir Kevan Collins stepped down over the government’s pledge to spend just under one-and-a-half billion pounds on its recovery plan, calling it a ‘half-hearted approach which didn’t come close to meeting the scale of the challenge’. Boris Johnson said more resources will be ‘coming through’ to support children when catch-up plans were labelled a ‘damp squib’. Head teachers were "hugely disappointed" by a £1.4bn Covid recovery package, which breaks down to £50 extra per pupil per year. A report says £13.5bn is needed for pupils to catch up. Most of the funding will be for tutoring to make up for lost learning.
The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will meet imminently to restart the EU-brokered dialogue that would normalise relations and put both nations on a path to European Union membership. The date for a meeting will be announced shortly by the EU's foreign policy chief. The dialogue is the only path to membership of the European Union for both nations. Talks began a decade ago but have stalled in recent years. A change of government and a new prime minister with a strong political mandate in Pristina has increased the chances of successful talks between the two neighbours. In February Albin Kurti was elected in a landslide victory and has repeatedly said he wanted a full apology from Serbia for its actions during the 1998-99 conflict, which led to the displacement of a million Kosovars and at least 20,000 deaths. The politicians may make many public statements, but what really matters is what is said in discussions.
The Cologne police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates. Fraudsters are communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult, and the police are still trying to determine the scale of the problem nationally. Some people are duped into paying about £86 then get nothing. Covid ‘passports’ to ease travel are being rolled out now across the EU. 44% of Germans have had at least one jab and over 18% of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid. The fraud takes place on the Telegram messenger service and involves both real traffic in fake certificates and fake offers which lure people into paying but provide nothing. Often cryptocurrency is used, like in the online black markets in drugs and weapons. Telegram has become a hub for anti-vaxxers, suspicious of vaccines and denying official data about the pandemic. Proving that you are Covid-free allows access to restaurants, leisure facilities, foreign travel, and more.