Students urge protests must remain peaceful

Approximately 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters stood in London this past Wednesday in protest of rising university tuition fees.  The U.K. government plans to eliminate the current tuition cap (currently at 3,920 pounds or approximately $6,300) and raise fees up to three times the amount.

However, this would also require universities to give greater assistance to poorer students, pulling funds from the increased income. Additionally, the Student Loans Company, a UK public sector organization, currently does not require loan repayment until the individual earns a certain salary amount (15,000 pounds or approximately $24,200).  In comparison, colleges in the United States can cost $50,000+ a year, and loan repayments usually start six months after one drops below full-time status (either from graduation, dropping classes, leaving school, etc).

Regardless of where one stands on the tuition increase though, the protest clearly demonstrated the situation’s importance on a domestic level.   And unfortunately, such rampant emotions led to violence during the protest: vandalism, fires, assault on police, and even objects hurled into the crowd from those standing on rooftops.

Among the 50,000 at the protest was the Student Christian Movement, who (as reported) felt a protest was necessary as tuition fees are an “issue of justice.”  Still, they also urge the importance of expressing one’s anger in a “peaceful and constructive way.” They insist, “The handful of violent demonstrators should not distract us from the real issue, which is that access to higher education would become unfair under the proposed system.”

Archbishop of Canterbury heads to Vatican

There are big things happening in the Church of England.  We found this article on

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide, will visit the Vatican on November 17 in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

The visit follows the announcement earlier this week from five Church of England bishops of their decision to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The bishops issued a statement explaining their reasons for leaving the Church of England: “[P]articularly we have been distressed by developments in Faith and Order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly two thousand years.”

They said they would resign from their pastoral responsibilities on December 31 and join an ordinariate once one is created by the Roman Catholic Church.

Last year, the Vatican made a historic decision to create an apostolic constitution that would provide Vatican guidelines on integrating disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI made the provision in response to the numerous requests he received from Anglicans unhappy with the ordination of women and noncelibate gay bishops.

The structure would allow converts to enter into full communion with Rome but still retain certain Anglican rituals and traditions. For example, married clerics would be able to become Catholic priests but not Catholic bishops.

One of the breakaway bishops, John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, predicts that an exodus of “thousands” of lay Anglicans will occur once the ordinariate is formed.

The entire article can be found here.