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U.N. policies on youth should respect parents' right to educate their children, including in the realm of human sexuality and "reproductive health," the Vatican has said. Speaking last week at the UN General Assembly's High Level Meeting on Youth, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, said that states must “respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents" in respect of education.
New official figures from the UK show that the number of children being adopted in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level on record. Last year, 4,472 adoptions were recorded in England and Wales, a decline of 4.1 per cent since 2009, the Office for National Statistics said.
A San Francisco judge has ruled that a proposal to ban circumcision, which would have been voted on by citizens later this year must be withdrawn. In a ruling yesterday, Judge Loretta Giorgi found that the measure, which has drawn fierce opposition from the city's Jewish population would violate a California law that makes regulating medical procedures a state -- not a city – matter.
A Fine Gael senator has called for the postponement of the International Eucharistic Congress, set to be held in Ireland next year, in the wake of the publication of the Cloyne report. The Congress is set to be one of the biggest events held by the Catholic Church in recent times. It was suggested that Pope Benedict might attend.
A US atheist group has sought the removal of a cross found amid the wreckage after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001 from the 9/11 memorial in New York. The group, American Atheist, filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to remove a cross-shaped steel beam, found by a construction worker after the attack, who said he stumbled onto a miracle.
The European Court of Human Rights has awarded €32,000 to an Irish father because the Hungarian state failed to enforce the return of his child France, where they lived, following the parents’ divorce. Leslie Shaw and his ex-wife had joint custody of their daughter, who was taken to Hungary by her Hungarian mother in December 2007, the Irish Times reports. They did not return.
The leading medical defence group in the UK has said that GPs are free to pray with their patients as long as they are receptive to the offer. New guidance from the Medical Defence Union’s quotes a senior figure at the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates the medical profession in the UK, saying that a “tactful” offer to pray could be appropriate.
The Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn (pictured), is set to put forward proposals to limit the power of schools to set their own admissions policies, according to a report in the Irish Times. According to the report, a discussion paper formulated by the Minister suggests that schools will no longer be able to use “siblings policies”, waiting lists or would-be pupils’ academic reports as criteria for selecting pupils.
New research claims that having a working mother produces better emotional outcomes for girls than having a mother who stays at home. However, the report relies for its conclusions on the opinions of the mothers themselves about their children's behaviour, rather than on objective data.
The youth wing of the Finnish Green Party has proposed the legalisation of polygamy. The Federation of Green Youth and Students (ViNO) has said it believes that Finnish marriage laws “discriminate” against those who want multiple spouses. Party secretary for the Greens, Panu Laturi commented to Iltalehti that the main party does not support its youth wing’s views on this issue.
Teenagers aged 16-17 should be allowed to access contraception without parental permission, according to a new report by the Law Reform Commission (LRC). This is in spite of research from the UK showing that allowing teenagers easier access to contraception does not reduce rates of teenage pregnancy, and may be associated with higher levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The State and educational authorities must fully respect and accommodate the authority of parents and guardians to direct the education of their own children, according to a new document drafted by the Canadian Catholic Civil Rights League.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has accused the leader of the Labour party in the Senate, Ivana Bacik (pictured), of exploiting the publication of the Cloyne Report for political gain, after she called for an end to the saying of a prayer at the commencement of proceedings in the Seanad. Her call came days after her party colleague, Aodhan O'Riordan, had made the same call in the Dáil.
A Catholic mental health worker who was fired by the NHS after giving a work colleague a booklet about the effects of abortion on women’s mental health has taken an unfair dismissal case. Ms Margaret Forrester (pictured) has issued an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, direct and indirect religious and belief discrimination, and religious and belief harassment.
The state of Washington is set to become the first state in the US to allow children conceived through sperm or egg donation to gain access to crucial health information about their biological parents. A new law requires donors to provide, "at a minimum," identifying information and medical history to the fertility clinic.
A leading British think-tank has claimed that marriage does not improve outcomes for children compared with cohabitation. A study conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that whether a child is raised in a married family or by cohabiting parents makes little difference to how children turn out once certain factors such as socio-economic status are taken into account.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that citizens have the right to refuse to participate in military service on religious grounds. It is the first time that the right of conscientious objection to military service has been explicitly recognised under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
A leading columnist has slammed Government proposals to force priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them that they have been guilty of child abuse. Mary Kenny, writing in the Irish Independent, said that the proposed legislation, announced last week in the wake of the Cloyne Report, would be “a dangerous step for a free society”.
Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain has called for an end to the daily Dáil prayer, which has been said in the chamber for almost 80 years. It is said at the start of Dail proceedings by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett -- and calls on TDs to be inspired and assisted by God in their actions.
A senior UK judge has warned that getting a divorce is easier than getting a driving licence and that high rates of divorce and cohabitation are harming British society. Sir Paul Coleridge, a Family Division judge, suggested people need to get better informed as to the importance of stable relationships for the general good of society, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Michael O’Flaherty, who is still formally a Catholic priest and who was heavily involved in the creation of a radical gay rights document is to take over as the head of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. O’Flaherty, who has not been attached to any diocese for some years but has never been formally laicised, was a leading figure in the drafting of the ‘Yogyakarta Principles’, which advocates, among other things, legalising gay adoption.
A leading psychologist has warned that parents are facing increasing violence and abuse from their children who do not get their own way. Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, who addressed the Iona Institute earlier this year, said that the “little emperors” of this “spoilt generation” not only have violent outbursts at home but also at school, and even nursery.
There was a big increase in childcare applications from the HSE last year, according to the latest report from the Courts Services. Supervision orders, where a family receives supervision from social workers, rose by 16 per cent, to 731, while care orders, where children are taken into the care of the HSE, rose by 11 per cent, to 1,046.
There has been a fall in the number of divorces and separations for the second year running, and they are at their lowest level for nearly a decade, new figures show. It is believed that the recession is behind the drop, as couples are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their houses.
New Government proposals to recognise transgender persons do not require applicants to have had a ‘sex change’ operation meaning a person with male sex organs could be officially recognised as a woman.
The EU's family research body, Family Platform (FP), has set out its research programme for next few years. The agenda is set out under a range of headings; Family Policy, Care, Life Course and Transitions, Doing Family, Migration and Mobility, Inequalities and Insecurities, Media and New Information Technologies.
A bill requiring public schools to teach the “historical contributions” of gay and lesbian Americans has been approved by the California legislature. Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who has not yet indicated whether he will sign it, has only days left to decide whether to sign the bill or not.
Courts should have done more to protect Christians affected by equality laws, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said. In a significant development, the commission says judges have interpreted laws too narrowly, and set the bar too high for Christians to prove discrimination against them.
The typical UK family spends only two hours of "quality time" together a week, according to a new study of household habits. The study also found that the average family watches a collective nine hours of television a day.
The British Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb, has said that the Government is to remove the right of parents to take their children out of classes on sex education. Until now, sex education was part of personal, health, social and economic (PHSE) curricula, which is covered by the parents’ legal right to withdraw children from classes they judged unacceptable.
The High Court has rejected an attempt to have a polygamous marriage entered into in Lebanon recognised under Irish law. Ruling on the case, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, said that while marriage was not defined in the 1995 Act, to interpret it as including polygamous marriage “would be to give it an interpretation which is simply not compatible with the constitutional understanding of marriage”.
The number of civil partnership dissolutions in the UK rose 44pc in 2010 compared with the previous year to 509, according to the latest figures. The figures from the Office for National Statistics that of the 509 dissolutions granted, 203 were to male couples and 306 were to female couples. The higher number of female couple dissolutions is despite the fact that more men have entered civil partnerships.
Elderly people living in sheltered housing have been told to remove religious symbols from shared areas by the organisation in Preston which runs the complex. A letter from the organisation, Places for People, to the residents asked them to become “equality and diversity” champions.
The Government has told the UN that it is reviewing the Constitution in a range of areas, including the family, the place of women in the home, and the current blasphemy provision.
The US state of Rhode Island has passed a bill which recognises same-sex civil unions, but which contains provisions protecting conscience and religious freedom. Governor Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican US senator, signed the bill into law last weekend.
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