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The Government is considering an outright ban on parents smacking their children, Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) has confirmed. A new law to ban corporal punishment in the home is one of two options under consideration, according to an Irish Times report. The other is an amendment to existing laws to restrict the circumstances in which parents can plead a defence of “reasonable chastisement” of their children.
A Supreme Court judgment delivered last month may make it easier for the children of married couples to be adopted, according to a child law expert. Geoffrey Shannon (pictured), the Government’s rapporteur on child protection and chairman of the Adoption Authority said the ruling also has implications for the children’s rights referendum.
Shops could soon be banned from selling sexually suggestive clothing such as padded bras to children if new guidelines being considered for retailers are passed.
Christians are still the largest religious group in the world number 2.2 billion in total, according to a new study. The research, compiled by the Pew Research Forum on Religion & Public Life, shows that most Christians now live in Africa, Asia and the Americas rather than Europe. Around one-quarter of the world's Christian's live in Europe today compared to two-thirds a century ago when the European share of the world’s population was much higher than it is today.
Fathers in the UK may have to sign their child’s birth certificate under new proposals being considered by the Government. The idea is just one of a number of options being considered by the Prime Minister David Camerson in a bid to bolster the role of the father in UK society. It is thought by signing the birth certificate new fathers will feel an increased responsibility to their child.
The rise in the number children born outside marriage in the US is being now being driven by a big increase in the number of children who are born to cohabiting couples, according to a new study. More than one-half of non-marital births occur within cohabiting relationships. In 2001, 52 percent of all nonmarital births took place within a cohabiting union, compared with 38 percent in the early 1990s.
Parenting is easier for those with partners, whether cohabiting or married, but married parents report the highest levels of happiness, according to a new report. The report, ‘When Baby Makes Three, How Parenthood Makes Life Meaningful and How Marriage Makes Parenthood Bearable’, also found that married parents experience more meaning in their lives than their childless peers, and a substantial minority of married parents are "very happy" in their marriages.
Peter Tatchell (pictured), one of Britain’s leading gay rights activist has offered to testify in defence of a Christian employee who was disciplined because of comments he made online about same-sex civil partnerships.
Fear of a traumatic divorce is preventing many young couples from walking down the aisle, according to a new academic report. The study comes as new figures show the share of married adults is in the United States is at an all-time low of 50pc, with the trend especially marked among young people. In Ireland as well only 50pc of adults over 18 are married.
Nick Clegg, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister (pictured) has attacked Tory plans to introduce tax breaks for married couples, accusing ministers of trying to preserve a “1950s model” of family life. Tax breaks for married couples are a key demand of many Tory MPs and Prime Minister David Cameron has committed to their introduction before the next election. The issue has the potential to become a major source of friction within the Coalition in the New Year.
Christians are “evil” if they resist the redefinition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage, the Head of Research and Development at Tesco.com has said. The company has already faced criticism for dumping its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ and sponsoring London’s gay pride festival. The “evil Christians” comment was made by Nick Lansley, Head of Research and Development for the Tesco website.
Men have an average of ten sexual partners in their lifetime while women have fewer than, according to a new UK government survey. The survey also reveals that the average age of first sexual intercourse is 17, which is the same as in Ireland for younger people, according to a 2006 ESRI report called The Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships. The British survey also shows that one in four women have only ever had one sexual partner, compared with 17 per cent of men.
British children are growing up in a society obsessed with celebrities and need to be taught to live within their means, an education minister has warned. In an attack on contemporary values, Nick Gibb, the UK’s Minister for Schools, argued that a “got to have it now” culture was breeding unrealistic expectations of wealth in young people. Speaking in a House of Commons debate on whether children needed a better financial education, Mr Gibbs said that millions of children were being raised with the wrong priorities and equated wealth with success.
Marriage in America is at an all-time low, according to new figures from the Pew Research Centre. Barely half of all US adults are currently married, an analysis of US Census data shows. The Irish figure for 2006 is almost identical. The figures also show that the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7), although this is still lower than the figures for Ireland which are 31 and 34 respectively.
The main Christian Churches are united in their determination to resist any moves by the Irish Government that would dilute the ethos of faith-based schools. Sources from the Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist have told The Irish Catholic that their churches will stand firm with Catholic leaders in opposing legislation which would eliminate the distinctive character of denominational schools and deny parents the right to choose such an education for their children.
Radical new plans for a network of “family troubleshooters” who will be paid thousands of pounds to help problem families in the wake of last summer’s riots are set to be unveiled by Prime Minister David Cameron (pitcured) later today. The troubleshooters, who are expected to be a mixture of charity, council and private sector workers, will receive almost £450?million in taxpayers’ money to help 120,000 troubled families, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The key to renewing the Church is fidelity, Catholic theologian, George Weigel, told an audience of almost 300 people at a meeting hosted last night by The Iona Institute. Dr Weigel, author of the best-selling biography of John Paul II, ‘Witness to Hope’, said that even the scandal of clerical child abuse was ultimately the result of a lack of true faith in Christ.
Ireland’s welfare system may encourage lone parenthood because it penalises single people who marry or cohabit, a new study has suggested. The study, published yesterday by the Economic and Social Research Institute, found that Ireland has an unusually high level of never-married and previously married single parent families by comparision with other countries.
There is huge support for cohabitation before marriage, a new study based on a survey of 20 to 49 year olds has revealed. The study found that 84 per cent believed it was better to cohabit with someone before marriage and more than two-thirds believed having a child with someone was more of a commitment than getting married. However, according to the British Millennium Cohort Study, only 10pc of married couples will have broken up by the time their child is five, compared with 25pc of cohabiting couples.
Prescriptions for the morning-after pill have trebled in just three years in Scotland after pharmacists began giving the drug out to girls as young as 13. New figures show more than 2,300 morning-after pills (MAPs), which can cause an early stage abortion, were handed out in Scotland every week last year. Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, warned that the easy availability of the MAP is having a “damaging social effect, by lulling young people into a false sense of security”.
Christians have become the most persecuted followers of any religion in the world today, an inter-religious meeting in Moscow has heard. But the U.S. government appears to be scaling back its work to safeguard this crucial human right. The International Conference on the Freedom of Religion and Discrimination against Christians, which took place earlier this month and brought together representatives of Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communities and international religious experts, warned that the faith risks vanishing completely in parts of the world as a consequence, news website Zenit reports.
The number of couples divorcing in the UK has risen for the first time in almost a decade, with some experts blaming the recent recession for the rise. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 119,589 divorces in England and Wales during 2010, an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year. One in three marriages now breaks down by the 15th anniversary, compared with a fifth in 1970.
Draft proposals made earlier this month by the advisory group of the Forum on primary school patronage established by Ruairi Quinn will have “a devastating effect on the Catholic identity of primary schools”, a lecturer at one of Ireland's most prominent teacher training colleges has warned. Rik Van Nieuwenhove, a theology lecturer in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, writing in this week's ‘Irish Catholic’, argued that the proposals made by the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism will involve the loss of Catholic patronage of 258 school “in a first phase”.
Religious people in a secular Britain must be allowed to contribute to contemporary debates but should not be given special treatment, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said. Archbishop Vincent Nichols (pictured) declared that faith groups must be free to “speak from their traditions”, and that their involvement in national debates “enriches democracy”. Archbishop Nichols warned that if Britain stopped respecting a wide range of opinions, society would descend into a situation where we become “either dominators or dominated”, while the abandonment of Christian teachings puts us on “shifting sands”.
Every pupil at in the UK Government's new “free schools” and academies will be taught about the importance of marriage. Free schools are a new initiative of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. They are funded by the taxpayer, non-selective and free to attend but not controlled by local authorities. According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the schools will be made to sign up to new rules introduced by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, setting out what pupils must learn about relationships, funded by the taxpayer, non-selective and free to attend but not controlled by local authorities.
An English couple who paid Indian women to have their babies can keep them and bring them up as their own ruled one of Britain's top judges, Sir Nicholas Wall yesterday. Sir Nicholas, President of the Family Division said £3,000 paid to the two Indian surrogates, did not go beyond “reasonable expenses”. The case is similar to a recent Irish one that also involved a couple travelling to India.
The 2012 Budget, announced yesterday, is the first since the introduction of tax individualisation in 2000 not to further widen the tax gap between one-income married couples and double-income married couples. The Budget, which introduced cuts in a number of areas, did not change income tax rates at all, meaning that the position of single income couples was not worsened..
A hospital in New Jersey will no longer force nurses to perform abortion against their will after it backed down in a legal battle with nurses who were suing for forcing them to violate their consciences. Instead the hospital will hire additional staff to help perform abortions. In a statement, Jeffrey Tolvin, a spokesman for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) said that no nurse would be compelled to have direct involvement in a procedure to which she or he objects based on his/her cultural values, ethics and/or religious beliefs.
The Church of Ireland has expressed concern at proposals to alter a rule which allows denominational schools to permeate the school day with their ethos. In its response to proposals last month by the Advisory Group of the National Forum on Primary School Patronage, the Church of Ireland's Board of Education said that its “major issue of concern” was the proposal to abolish Rule 68 of the Rules for National Schools.
Clear majorities of Americans, Britons and Canadians believe that parents not schools should be mainly responsible for teaching their children about sex, according to a new survey. The poll, conducted by American polling company Angus Reid, found that Americans were the most likely to believe that parents should be primarily responsible for sex education. It found that four-in-five Americans (81pc), two thirds of Canadians (69pc) and Britons (67pc) agree the parents or guardians should be primarily responsible for teaching sex education to children and teens.
Parents must not use children as ammunition in divorce cases, the leading family law judge in the UK has said. Sir Nicholas Wall, the president of the Family Division, is a persistent critic of the way in which divorcing couples often conduct themselves.
Less than a third of three year olds and just one in ten nine month olds are placed in day-care by their parents according to the latest report from the Growing Up in Ireland study, which is tracking the lives of 11,000 Irish children over time.
Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) has said atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins “just doesn’t really get it” on the issue of faith schools. Mr Cameron made the comments as he answered questions from well-known figures for a Guardian newspaper article. Mr Cameron said he thinks faith schools are “very often good schools” and he noted that the Church had provided “good schools long before the state got involved”.
Single-parent families are about four times as likely as married-couple families to be in poverty, according to new US figures. A study produced by think tank Child Trends showed that 37.2pc of single parent families were in poverty, while only 8.8pc of married families were in poverty. This difference has important implications, given that the proportion of families headed by single mothers has followed an upward trend across the past decade.
There are now a record number of unmarried adults in the UK, with one in six people cohabiting, figures have disclosed, with 53 the most common age for divorce. According to new figures from the the Office of National Statistics (ONS), married couples now make up less than half the population with the trend for marriage is steadily declining. In Ireland, one couple in eight cohabits. Couples also appear to be choosing to separate increasingly later in life, with 17.6 per cent of all 53-year-olds now divorced, the Daily Telegraph reports.
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