Edwin Poots resigns as leader of Northern Ireland's government

The leader of the senior party in Northern Ireland’s government, Edwin Poots, resigned on June 17 after colleagues revolted over a deal to ap­point new leaders to the Protestant-Catholic power-sharing administration.

Poots’s resignation came hours after he nominated Democratic Unionist Party legislator Paul Givan to be Northern Ireland’s new first minister. Michelle O’Neill of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin was reappointed deputy first minister.

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Robert Schuman, former French statesman, one step closer to sainthood

Robert Schuman, a French statesman who paved the way for the bloc that eventually evolved into the European Union, has moved ahead on the Catholic Church’s path toward possible sainthood.

On June 19, Pope Francis approved a decree declaring the “heroic virtues” of Schuman, a former prime minister, finance minister, and foreign minister for France after World War II. In 1950, as foreign minister, he developed a plan to promote European economic unity in hopes of furthering peace.

E. Anne Henning Byfield begins tenure as head of AME church

Elizabeth Anne Henning Byfield began her tenure as president of the African Methodist Episcopal Council of Bishops on June 15. In this position, Byfield serves as the titular head of the denomination. She is the third woman in the denomination’s 200-year history to hold the role.

Byfield was elected a bishop in 2016 and has presided over districts in Indiana and Illinois. As a bishop, Byfield established a vocational school in Haiti, re-established the AME Church in Cuba, and was instrumental in planting ten churches.

Mennonites launch new peace center in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Peace Center in Brooklyn, New York, officially opened on June 19 with hot dogs and Icees at a stoop-side cookout.

Housed in the former location of First Mennonite Church in Brooklyn, which disbanded in 2019, the space will continue to have a strong Mennonite presence. Jason and Vonetta Storbakken—both members of Mennonite Church USA—will lead the peace center, and office space will be provided to Mennonite ministries like the New York Mennonite Immigration Program and Believers Mennonite Garifuna Ministries.

US Catholic bishops OK steps toward possible rebuke of Biden

The US Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a “teaching document” that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, for receiving communion despite their support for abortion rights.

The decision, vehemently opposed by a minority of bishops, came despite appeals from the Vatican for a more cautious and collegial approach to the divisive issue. And it raises questions of how closely the bishops will be able to cooperate with the Biden administration on issues such as immigration and racial injustice.

Court sides with Catholic foster care agency

In another victory for religious groups at the Supreme Court, on June 17 the justices unanimously sided with a Catholic foster care agency that says its religious views prevent it from working with same-sex couples. The court said the City of Philadelphia wrongly limited its relationship with the group as a result of the agency’s policy.