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Same-sex couples can adopt children conceived through sperm donation, court rules

By Admin on 29th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Court of Cassation, France's highest court of civil and criminal law, has ruled that same-sex couples can jointly adopt the biological children of one of the partners, even when they are conceived abroad through sperm donation. The court held that both partners should have joint parental rights to a child conceived through IVF "since the legal requirements for adoption are met and it is in the interest of the child."

Plan to restrict Spain’s abortion law scrapped by Prime Minister

By Admin on 26th September 2014. ~ Categories: Other

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, has scrapped a planned move to tighten Spain's abortion laws, abandoning a much-repeated campaign promise. Spain's Minister for Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, the proposal’s main proponent, resigned from politics after hearing about Mr Rajoy's reversal. “I believe it is my duty to resign with humility, recognising that I have not been able to turn the reversal law into law,” Gallardon said, according to InfoCatolica.

Law criminalising incest between adults should be repealed says German ethics committee

By Admin on 25th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A state-funded ethics committee which advises the German government on social policy has recommended that laws criminalising incest be scrapped, the Telegraph reports. “Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo,” the German Ethics Council said in a statement. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.”

Education Minister wants to amend ethos rule for primary schools

By Admin on 25th September 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice

The Minister for Education, Jan O'Sullivan is seeking to amend Rule 68, the regulation which allows primary schools to have their religious ethos integrated with the teaching of the other subjects. The Department of Education said that Minister O'Sullivan believes “the language and tone of Rule 68 is archaic and doesn't reflect the reality of today's primary educations sector.” However, she stopped short of calling for the deletion of the article, as called for by the Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO) and an advisory group to the 2012 Forum on Patronage and Pluralism.

Growing number of Americans want Churches to express views on social and political issues

By Admin on 24th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

A growing share of the American public (49 percent) believe churches and other religious groups should “express their views on day-to-day social and political issues”. This is up from a low of 40% in 2012. The poll from Pew Research also shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing influence in American life. Seventy-two percent said that they believed this to be so, up 5 percentage points from 2010 and 20 points from the first poll conducted in 2002.

University study body bans pro-life group from ‘fresher’s fair’

By Admin on 23rd September 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion,Other

A decision by Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) to ban the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) from setting up a pro-life stand at their fresher's fair has been attacked by a leading barrister specialising in religious freedom. A “fresher’s fair” is where various student bodies invite first year students to join their societies. According to the Catholic Herald, Neil Addison, National Director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said: “I hope SPUC sue DUSA and certainly if any student union in England or Wales attempts to copy DUSA, the Thomas More Legal Centre will not hesitate to take legal action against them.”

Huge pro-life demonstration takes place in Madrid

By Admin on September 23rd 2014. ~ Categories:

Tens of thousands of pro-life demonstration took place in Madrid at the weekend calling on the Spanish government to keep its pledge to pass more restrictive abortion laws, after rumours emerged that the conservative People's Party (PP) was planning to shelve its abortion bill. Last week, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was considering backing away from plans to tighten Spain's abortion laws in the aftermath of poor results for the PP in the European elections.

Convicted murderer to be euthanised in Belgium at own request

By Admin on 17 Sep 14. ~ Categories: Other

A convicted murderer and rapist is to be euthanised in Belgium at his own request, in the country's latest controversy related to assisted dying. The Irish Independent reports that Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has spent the last 30 years in prison for repeated convictions, has requested for three years that the state help him end his life due to what his lawyer called “unbearable psychic suffering”.

Differences between men and women a key part of marriage says Pope

By Admin on 17th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

Pope Francis told the 20 couples that he married last week in St Peter's Basilica that “the reciprocity of difference” between men and women was an essential part of marriage. Marriage, he said, is about “man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. “Here we see the reciprocity of differences,” he said.

Christian organisation banned from universities for wanting its leaders to be Christian

By Admin on 16th September 2014. ~ Categories:

One of America's largest Christian student organisations has been banned from operating as a recognised student body in California State Universities because it wants its leaders to be Christian. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship has chapters in over 600 American universities, but were “derecognised” by the California State University system (CSU) after a new anti-discrimination policy required that organisations allow people of all faiths and none to stand for leadership positions. Intervarsity said that while anyone was welcome anyone to participate in their activities, including nonbelievers, seekers and adherents of other faiths, the status of their organisation as a Christian ministry required their leaders to profess the Christian faith.

Pro-life maternal healthcare clinic to open in Belfast

By Admin on 15th September 2014. ~ Categories: Other

A pro-life healthcare provider is planning to open a centre in Belfast, in close proximity to the Marie Stopes abortion clinic, the BBC reports. Stanton Healthcare, which describes itself as "a revolutionary organisation that seeks to replace abortion businesses around the world" aims to open a clinic in Belfast's Victoria Street by 2015.

Disciplining of Galway hospital staff “shows Savita case was never about abortion”

By Admin on 12th September 2014. ~ Categories: Other

The fact that nine staff members who treated Savita Halappanavar before her death at Galway University Hospital have been disciplined shows that the case “was misused, massively and continuously, by major players in politics and media who were more concerned with getting abortion legislation over the line than accurate reporting”, the Pro-Life Campaign has said. Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign said the news “confirms that this tragic case was never about the non-availability of abortion in Ireland at the time but the mismanagement surrounding Savita’s care.” The Health Service Executive confirmed today that nine members of staff had been disciplined because of failures in their treatment of Mrs Halappanavar.

Secularism is becoming a State-enforced religion says Archbishop of Chicago

By Admin on 11th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The United States is increasingly enforcing a “state religion” based on socially liberal values, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, said this week. He added that Catholics would end up “limiting (their) access to positions of prestige and power in society” if they held to their values. Writing in his regular column, Cardinal George wrote that American Catholics now faced a “crisis of belief” between loyalty to their country on the one hand and their faith on the other.

Scottish scheme to appoint a ‘State guardian’ to every child attacked

By Admin on 11th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Plans by the Scottish government to assign a state guardian to every child in the country have been criticised by a number of prominent figures, including sociologists, Members of the Scottish Parliament and charities. An editorial in the Scottish Daily Express said that the plans constitute a “gross interference” in family life. Scotland's SNP government is attempting to introduce what it calls the “Named Person initiative” which will see a state guardian assigned to every child between birth and 18-years-old. They will be able to share information with a wide range of public authorities and in some cases may intervene without parental consent.

Children with married parents fare best says new study

By Admin on 10th September 2010. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A new study from the UK's Department for Education shows that growing up with married parents tends to make children more confident, kind and responsible while showing lower levels of anti-social attitudes and hyperactivity. The analysis of 3,000 children from the early years to the age of 16, found a “small but significant tendency” towards poorer behaviour management among children from single-parent families and those brought up by unmarried mothers and fathers.

Catholic schools very welcoming of Muslims say leading Muslim organisations

By Admin on 9th September 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice

Ireland's two biggest organisations representing Muslims have said that that they “see no need for neither an ‘Upheaval’ nor a ‘Revolution’ in the Irish education system”, and that Catholic schools were “very accommodating” to Muslim students, the Irish Times reports. In a statement, the Islamic Foundation of Ireland (IFI) and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI) singled out Catholic schools for praise, saying that “Catholic school managements have made wonderful efforts to make their schools as inclusive as possible without losing their own ethos.”

Man charged with abusing twins obtained via a surrogate mother

By Admin on 5th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

An Australian man who fathered twin girls with a Thai surrogate mother has been charged with sexually abusing the children. The Irish Independent reports that the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was charged in an Australian court last year with indecent dealings of a sexual nature with the children. The case puts further pressure on Thailand's surrogacy regime, which the government is currently in the process of drastically tightening.

Muslim leader says more must be done to accommodate Muslims in our schools

By Admin on 5th September 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Other

A prominent spokesperson for the Muslim community in Ireland has called for radical changes to be made to the education system. The Irish Times reports that Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre (affliated with the Clonskeagh Mosque) has called in a new book for reform of school admissions policies, as well as latitude for Muslim values to be reflected in the teaching of PE, relationship and sexuality education, and music classes.

Christian marriage registrar reinstated after being sacked over same-sex marriage

By Admin on 4th September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A marriage registrar in the UK who was sacked for refusing to conduct same-sex weddings has been reinstated after a successful appeal. Margaret Jones, 54, who had been dismissed for “bringing the council into disrepute”, was offered her job back after an appeal hearing ruled that her employer had failed to take a “balanced view” of her religious beliefs.

Rotherham abuse scandal prompts investigation into ‘institutionalised political correctness’

By Admin on 3rd September 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Other

Theresa May, the UK's Home Secretary, has said the government will begin an investigation into “institutionalised political correctness” after the Rotherham child abuse scandal. The Daily Telegraph reports that Mrs May was responding to the publication of a report last week by Prof. Alexis Jay which found that more than 1,400 children in the northern English town were abused across a period of 16 years by gangs of predominantly Pakistani men.

Woman killed in euthanasia case 'because she didn’t want to be in nursing home'

By Admin on 2nd September 2014. ~ Categories:

A Dutch euthanasia clinic is being investigated for ending a woman's life because she did not want to live in a nursing home, with the euthanasia monitoring committee saying that the clinic did not observe the formal guidelines. Prosecutors in the Netherlands are currently deciding whether to proceed with a case against the Levenseindekliniek (End of Life Clinic). There have as yet been no prosecutions for violating the guidelines on euthanasia since it was legalised in 2002.

Amnesty report lays bare atrocities committed by Islamic State

By Admin on 2nd September 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Ultra-militants from the group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) have launched “a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” in Northern Iraq, according to a new report from Amnesty International. The report, collating evidence gathered over the last few months as IS expanded its influence in the region, says that the militants have been carrying out war crimes including mass killings and abductions against religious minorities including Christians and Yezidis.

British surrogate mother raising disabled child after commissioning parents rejected her

By Admin on 28th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Other

A British surrogate mother of twins is raising one of them after the comissioning mother rejected her for being disabled. The mother, also British, took the healthy boy but refused to accept his twin sister because of her severe muscular condition Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy, the Sun reported. The surrogate mother, referred to as “Jenny” alleges that the comissioning mother referred to the baby as a “dribbling cabbage.”

BAI right to criticise Mooney Show says journalism lecturer

By Admin on 27th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A senior academic and member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has criticised a National Union of Journalists statement on balance in coverage of current affairs. Colum Kenny, Professor of Communications at DCU, said that the NUJ's criticism of the BAI over their decision to uphold a complaint over an unbalanced discussion of same-sex marriage on RTE Radio 1's 'Mooney' show was “misleading.” “The union went wild on Mooney” he said.

Sex Education for Children from Age 7, say Liberal Democrats

By Admin on 27th August 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

All UK schools should give children sex education lessons from the age of seven, the Liberal Democrats have said. David Laws, an MP for the junior coalition party and Minister of State for schools, said that both primary and secondary schools should be required to provide sex and relationship education.

Displaced Christians, other minorities continue to suffer in Iraq

By Admin on 26th August 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Christians and other religious minorities continue to suffer in Northern Iraq, as the United Nations reports that over 1.2 million people have become internally displaced since the start of 2014, many of them by Islamic State (IS) militants. All non-Sunnis within IS's sphere of influence have faced persecution, with Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims often being offered a choice between conversion, exile and death.

Pro-life vigils to be held this weekend

By Admin on 22nd August 2014. ~ Categories: Other

Pro-life groups are holding events this weekend in support of the mother and child at the centre of the latest abortion controversy, and in protest at the government's abortion legislation. The Pro Life Campaign has organised a vigil to take place outside Dáil Éireann this evening, Friday 22nd August from 7.30 – 8.15pm, while Youth Defence will hold a rally tomorrow (Saturday) at 4pm meeting at the Spire on O’Connell Street, Dublin.

Five hundred sperm donors have fathered over 6,000 children in the UK

By Admin on 22nd August 2014. ~ Categories:

Five hundred sperm donors in the UK have been confirmed to have fathered over 6,200 children between them – an average of 12.4 children per man. Fifteen of these men are now the fathers to 20 or more children each. The Daily Telegraph reports that records released by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which cover donor insemination figures from clinics across Britain, have identified the “top 500” donors.

Richard Dawkins says it is ‘immoral’ to carry a Down’s Syndrome child to term

By Admin on 21st August 2014. ~ Categories: Other

World famous atheist Richard Dawkins has said on Twitter that it would be “immoral” for a woman to carry a child with Down’s Syndrome to term, and advised a friend wondering what she would do in that situation to “abort it and try again.” Dawkins has been roundly condemned by groups who campaign for the rights of the disabled.

Derek Mooney Show breached regulations by favouring same-sex marriage, BAI finds

By Admin on 14 August 2014. ~ Categories: Other

An edition of RTE’s Derek Mooney show breached the broadcasting regulations by airing an item in January of this year that favoured same-sex marriage, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has found.

Major conference on adoption to take place in UCC next month

By Admin on 13th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A two-day international conference on adoption law is to be held in UCC next month. Entitled ‘Redefining adoption in a new era: Opportunities and challenges for law and practice’, the conference will hear from a number of international experts. Philomena Lee, whose story of the search for her son (who was adopted by a family in the US) inspired the recent movie ‘Philomena’, will contribute to the conference on 4-5 September 2014.

Children concerned about their parents’ divorce calling Childline in growing numbers

By Admni on 13th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The number of children calling Childline in Scotland worrying about their parents' divorce or separation increased dramatically last year. The Christian Institute reports that NSPCC Scotland received over 600 calls about the issues to their ChildLine service in 2012-2013, a rise of 171%.

Divorcing couple could be require to have mandatory counselling

By Admin on 12th August 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Divorcing couples could be forced to engage in mandatory counselling before seeking the intervention of the courts, under plans from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. According to the Irish Independent, the proposed move comes as part of a radical overhaul of Ireland's family law system, through a series of reforms orginally proposed by former Minister Alan Shatter but now being overseen by Fitzgerald.

Pope Francis appoints special envoy to Northern Iraq

By Admin on 12th August 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Pope Francis is dispatching Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to northern Iraq today, the Vatican press office has said. Islamist militias have sent thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives in the region. The Boston Globe's John L Allen Jr writes that “Filoni is the pope’s top Iraq expert, having served as the papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Baghdad from 2001 to 2006. That put Filoni in the thick of things during the 2003 US-led invasion, when he was the lone Western diplomat who didn’t abandon his post as the bombs fell.”

UK to set up publicly-funded donor sperm bank

By Admin on 11th August 2014. ~ Categories:

The UK is to set up a publicly-funded sperm bank in response to increasing demand and a shortage of donors. For around £300 – considerably cheaper than the cost of the service at a private clinic – women who make use of the sperm bank will be able to search an online database and choose an anonymous donor on the basis of his ethnicity, height, profession and even hobbies.

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