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The British Government is more likely to protect the rights of hedgehogs than Christians, according to prominent former Tory minister, Ann Widdecombe. In a speech tomorrow to the annual conference of international charity, Aid to the Church in Need, Ms Widdecombe, who was Minister for Prisons in the last Conservative government, is set to accuse current Tory ministers of double standards for threatening to withdraw foreign aid from nations which persecute homosexuals but ignoring the plight of persecuted Christians.
French school textbooks which promote the idea that a person’s ‘gender’ is the result of upbringing and society rather than biology have been slammed by French politicians. The controversy is similar to one that took place here some years ago when a programme called ‘Exploring Masculinities’ was introduced into Irish schools which said ‘gender is a social construct’.
Thirty five children and teenagers known to the Health Service Executive (HSE) have died since March of last year, it was revealed yesterday. It was also revealed that were 16 serious incidents involving children or adolescents known to the HSE over the same time period.
An Australian Catholic bishop has said that his diocese will cease performing legal marriages if it is ever forced to conduct same-sex unions. Archbishop Barry Hickey (pictured), of the archdiocese of Perth was speaking to parishioners as politicians in the state of Western Australia debate introducing same-sex marriage.
Two boys should be allowed to remain with their mother because this is their wish, despite the fact that they were wrongfully removed from their father, a Supreme Court ruling has said. The boys, now aged nine years and seven, were taken from New York to Ireland by their mother in 2010, the Irish Times reports.
Two same-sex couples who are contesting custody over two young girls have put their own wishes ahead of the welfare the children involved, according to a leading UK family judge. Mr Justice Hedley was speaking in the High Court in a case in which a gay man and his lover took the lesbian mother of his children and her partner to court for access rights.
The right of Churches in the US to hire and fire their own ministers, is being challenged the US Supreme Court by President Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A number of judges on the Court, including noted judicial liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, suggested during the hearing, that the stance taken by the Commission could ultimately endanger the right of the Catholic Church to ordain only men as priests.
Mexico city, which introduced same-sex marriage in 2009, is now considering offering its citizens short-term marriages lasting as little as two years. Under the plans, couples in Mexico City could end their short term marriages if they no longer felt happy, or if the marriage was not “stable”. Couples would sign marriage contracts, including provisions on childcare and property to come into force in the event of a separation.
The Irish Government has prepared a 200 page draft report ahead of its appearance before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). No date has been fixed for the meeting as yet.
Couples who rank money and material goods as very important might be worse off in their relationships than those who aren't as materialistic, according to a new US study. Researchers surveyed 1,734 married couples across the U.S. about their attitudes toward relationship values and issues such as materialism, compassion, communication and the importance of marriage.
Three candidates for the Presidency have said that the reference to God in the Presidential Oath of Office in the Constitution should be reviewed. Labour's Michael D Higgins (pictured), Senator David Norris and Sinn Féin's candidate Martin McGuinness, speaking on RTE's Prime Time Presidential debate said that the wording of the oath should be reviewed.
Parents in the UK will be given greater power to protect children from sexually explicit images on the internet, in plans unveiled yesterday. In addition, children will protected from sexually explicit TV and on-street advertising. Four of Britain’s biggest internet service providers, BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media, have agreed to make new customers choose between a connection with or without access to adult content as part of the set-up process, in a major move to help parents protect children from internet pornography.
The growing trend across the Western world of devaluing the importance of biological mothers and fathers has been sharply criticised in an important new report. Entitled ‘One Parent or Five? A Global Look at Today's New Intentional Families’, the report challenges assumptions that “intentional parenthood”, resulting from surrogacy and sperm or egg donations, is good for children “simply because it is planned in advance of the child's conception.”
Patronage is not a major issue for parents, and most are not even familiar with the term, according to the head of the Church's umbrella body for Catholic schools. Speaking yesterday at the launch of a major new report commissioned by the Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP), Fr Michael Drumm (pictured) said that the issue of patronage should not be overstated, according to an Irish Times report.
Children raised in intact, married families are more likely to acquire the human and social capital they need to become well-adjusted, productive workers, according to a new report from a leading US think tank. The report, Sustainable Demographic Dividend: What Do Marriage & Fertility Have To Do With The Economy also says that men who get and stay married work harder, work smarter, and earn more money than their unmarried peers.
Catholic education officials are preparing a major “fact-based” study in response to Government plans to significantly reduce the number of Catholic primary schools. It is believed to be the first such research project of its kind on the subject, and will take into account the wishes of parents, according to a report in the Irish Catholic.
Ireland was put under pressure yesterday to legalise abortion, change our laws on the family and weaken the protection given to religious employers at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council I Geneva. The meeting was part of the UN's Universal Periodic Review, which is designed to monitor the progress of member states in implementing human rights treaties. Ireland was represented by the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.
One of the UK's top Catholic bishops has warned Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) not to redefine marriage. The Most Rev Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark was responding to Mr Cameron's speech to his party conference earlier this week in which he said he supported plans to legalise gay marriage. The Prime Minister said “commitment” in relationships should be valued regardless of whether it involved “a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man”.
Ireland has appeared before the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva this morning to have its human rights record reviewed. This is part of the so-called Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The process is designed to monitor the progress of member states in implementing UN human rights treaties.
Claims by the Government that child protection is a top priority are “a load of rubbish”, a leading expert in the area has said. Dr Helen Buckley of The Children's Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, one of the authors of a report into clerical child abuse in the Ferns diocese made the remarks in an interview with the Irish Catholic as it emerged that the HSE intends to slash funding for family and child support services by up to 20 per cent.
A new ad hoc Committee for Religious Liberty has been set up by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) amidst growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. The news comes in the wake of moves by the Obama Administration to require insurance companies to fund contraceptive services, including sterilisation procedures and abortifacient drugs regardless of religious affiliation.
The Constitution has proved “capable of guaranteeing rights and curbing power – including the power of the State”, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has said. In his homily for the annual Red Mass, which is held at the commencement of the year for the Irish courts, Archbishop Martin noted that the Constitution was “sometimes presented just as a fossilised child of its time”.
An appeal against German laws which forbids parents from taking their children out of sex education classes has been dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as “manifestly ill-founded”. Five German couples had appealed to the ECHR after they had been jailed for refusing to pay fines for removing their children from sex education classes. However, last month, the Court ruled that the parents' appeal was inadmissible.
New guidelines set to be imposed by the Obama Administration requiring all US insurance programmes to cover all forms of contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs have been condemned by the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. Cardinal DiNardo has said that the religious employer exemption set forth by President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the proposal is so narrow ‘that the Good Samaritan would not qualify’.
People who marry are significantly less likely to engage in crime, because marriage enables them to develop greater self-control, according to a new study. The research examined changes in marital status and self-control between late adolescence and early adulthood. One factor it looked at in measuring levels of self-control was marijuana user.
An atheist writer condemned the “current fashion” for anti-Catholicism before an audience of over 150 people at a meeting last night organised by The Iona Institute. Brendan O’Neill, who is editor on the UK-based on-line magazine Spiked, said the driving forces behind the rise of anti-Catholicism were the emergence of the ‘New Atheism’, the scandals, moral relativism, and in Britain the notion that Catholics cannot be fully loyal to their State.
Parents have a right to choose denominational schools and that right needs to be guaranteed by the State, Independent Senator Ronan Mullen (pictured) has said in the Seanad just days before Ireland appears before the UN Human Rights Council. Fianna Fail’s Jim Walsh reminded that Seanad that some of the UN treaties to which we are signatories uphold the traditional definition of marriage.
A draft document on the family prepared by a committee of the Council of Europe downgrades the importance of both marriage and biological parenthood. The document allows member-states of the Council of Europe, including Ireland, to define anyone as a parent legally speaking. It gives no special status or recognition to the biological parents of a child, nor does it indicate that the relationship between a child and his or her biological parents is of any special importance.
Primary schools in the UK are being forced by some local authorities to teach sex education, leading family charity, the Family Education Trust, has claimed in a new report. Education bodies in parts of the country are using an awards scheme called Healthy Schools introduced by Tony Blair, designed to promote healthy behaviour in schools, to impose “liberal and permissive” teaching on pupils, they warn.
Two Catholic secondary schools in Dublin have been accused of bias by four Muslim families for admitting Catholic children ahead of non-Catholic children. The two schools, St Benildus and Oatlands Colleges, elected not to enrol the children of the Muslim parents due to a shortage of places.
The BBC has told presenters that they should use “religiously neutral” terms instead of “BC" or “AD” to avoid causing non-Christians offence. However they are facing opposition from leading presenters over the move. Ethics specialists for the corporation suggested that the modern phrases “Common Era” and “Before Common Era” should be considered as alternative terms for Anno Domini and Before Christ.
Police in the English county of Lancashire have told the owner of a Christian café to stop displaying Bible texts on a video screen, because it ‘breaches’ public order laws. Officers attended the Salt & Light Coffee House on Layton Road, Blackpool, on Monday 19 September, following a complaint about “insulting” and “homophobic” material.
A Church of Ireland minister who decided that an openly gay man was not suitable as a volunteer for a local youth group is standing by his decision after being attacked by a gay rights group within the Church of Ireland. Rev Kenneth Lindsay, of the Methodist and Church of Ireland churches in Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh, said: “I feel that such people are inappropriate role models.”
The Obama Administration's decision to challenge the constitutionality of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the courts could create “a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions” the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has warned. In an open letter to President Barack Obama, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has attacked the decision by the Justice Department to challenge the constitutionality of DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996 by then Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Almost half of children (48pc) whose fathers do not live with them see their dads less than once a week, according to the latest report from the Government's longitudinal study on the progress of Ireland's children. Parental separation is having “a considerable impact” on children's routines, and leading to relationships with non-resident parents which are “challenging to sustain” the Growing Up in Ireland study says.
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