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Faith formation in stand alone Catholic schools, such as preparation for Communion and Confirmation, are “disruptive” to the children of parents who do not share the Catholic faith, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has said. And he said he hoped to change traditional faith formation in such schools by next year.
A Swedish parent has been fined €11,000 for homeschooling his daughter even though Swedish law does not explictly ban homeschooling. Jonas Himmelstrand, author and leading campaigner for the rights of homeschooling parents, and his wife have been fined by the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court for home educating their daughter for one year, the school year 2010-2011.
Any law which would allow physician-assisted suicide would put vulnerable patients at risk, a leading British medical expert has said. Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr Bill Noble, a senior lecturer in palliative medicine at the University of Sheffield, warned that if assisted suicide was legalised “society’s neglect of older people, poverty, and the lack of home care services will drive up demand for assisted suicide”.
Catholic schools continue to have a role in Irish life, by providing young people with “pointers to what is true and just and loving,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has said. And he said that some people were intent on blaming the Church for being “at the root of everything that went wrong in Irish society”.
Germany will permit parents to select a "third gender" on birth certificates for their children, should the child want to identify with a certain gender in the future. Germany is the first country in Europe to pass this type of legislation. The new law, which is to take effect throughout the country in November, will allow the parents of a child born with both male and female physical attributes, or to pick the option of "gender blank" on their birth certificate so they may choose a "male" or "female" gender later in life, the Christian Post reports.
Police have arrested two people who were planning to take a 71-year-old man, believed to have dementia, to an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. The police described the man as vulnerable, and took action because they are concerned that he may lack mental capacity.
A photography business in the US state of New Mexico must photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies or stop taking wedding photographs altogether, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled. In a ruling on Thursday, the court held that when Elane Photography, “refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA [New Mexico Human Rights Act] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races,” the majority opinion states.
The Government's abortion legislation was not needed to safeguard the lives of pregnant women, the Pro Life Campaign has said. They were responding to reports in the Irish Times today that the first termination of pregnancy under the new legislation took place recently at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street.
Catholic health providers who partner with hospitals under the Washington “public hospital district” and provide maternity care must continue to offer “substantially equivalent benefits” in the form of contraception and abortion services, the state's attorney general has said. Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Bob Ferguson said that, under a ballot initiative adopted by voters in 1991, a public hospital district “may not provide maternity care without abortion and birth control,” the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.
Parents should not allow themselves to be intimidated by the cost factor when it comes to having more children, a leading UK think tank has claimed. A book published by Civitas, Sticking Up for Siblings, points out that there is growing body of research showing that children with siblings tend to be healthier, happier and more well-rounded.
Catholicism in Ireland was for too long characterised by conformity rather than conviction, a leading Irish American historian has said. Speaking last night to the Iona Institute, Emeritus Professor John P. McCarthy (pictured), of Fordham University, said that “much of the obedient and devout Catholicism of mid-twentieth century Ireland was attributable to an unhealthy linking of religion and nationalism”.
Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) has admitted that thousands of children have to wait months for social workers to look into in their cases. Many of these children could be suffering from neglect, according to The Irish Independent. The figures, disclosed by Ms Fitzgerald, show that more than 4,100 children who were assessed by the HSE as needing intervention had to wait more than three months for a social work team to get to them, the Irish Independent reports.
Public representatives must “protect marriage and family rooted in marriage between a man and a woman as the best possible environment for the children” a Catholic bishop has said. Bishop Christopher Jones (pictured) told Elphin diocesan pilgrimage to Knock that Irish people, through the Constitution “have entrusted to the State a great responsibility when it comes to marriage and family”.
Growing up with a large number of siblings makes people more likely to marry and cuts the odds of divorce, according to new research. The study suggests that those from bigger families learn how to cope better with conflict and to control their emotions and that the experience of never having the house to oneself may foster a distaste for being alone.
Boys aged as young as three should dress as butterflies so that they won’t grow up to hit women, a taxpayer-funded guide tells childcare workers. The advice part of a guide produced by the Zero Tolerance scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, which aims to end men’s violence against women.
The constitutional right of Protestant parents to educate their children in a school of their choice “is being slowly suppressed,” the mother of secondary school children has claimed. Writing in today's Irish Times, Julie Carr said that repeated increases in the pupil-teacher ratio in Protestant, fee-paying schools had “increased costs in individual schools so that teachers are being let go, subjects cut back and fees increased”.
Women should not take abortifacient drugs, the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has warned. More than 250 abortion pills have been seized since the beginning of the year. Abortifacients are not legally available here and it is not legal for anyone to supply or receive such medicines through an online source, the Irish Times reports.
Religious freedom claims should not extend to publicly funded hospitals and are probably not protected by the Constitution, a legal academic has claimed. Writing in The Irish Times, Dr Eoin Daly, a law lecturer in UCD, said the claim that the Constitution protects the religious freedoms of institutions as well as individuals is based on “an over-broad interpretation of the relevant constitutional principles”.
California has become the fifth state in the US to allow students claiming to be a different gender from their biological sex to use bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, and changing rooms designated for children of the opposite biological sex. It means that a student who is, for example, male in every physical way, will be able to use girls’ changing rooms if the student is deemed to be a girl.
Politicians and the media have been accused of subjecting the Church to “attack and ridicule” by the Bishop of Meath, Michael Smith. Speaking in Knock he said: “Over recent times our Church has been the object of sustained attack and ridicule, It is interesting that it is only the Catholic Church that seems to be the object of this attack. Sadly politicians have jumped on the bandwagon."
Religion does not belong in the private sphere only but in the world of public discourse, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin has said in a speech in Belfast at the weekend. Referring to the abortion debate, he said that, “the tendency in public debate is to relegate discussion about the natural identity of the human person to the private sphere and instead to prioritise freedom, or more precisely, individual rights and freedom as the fundamental value and greatest good”.
A new study confirms the increasingly strong link that exists between marriage and social class. It shows that marriage is becoming a ‘privilege’ of the middle-class. The study's authors say that the “marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status”. It is in decline in working class communities.
A legal expert has said that the new law on abortion may be unconstitutional because it forces Catholic hospitals to perform abortions under certain circumstances that would be against their ethos. Dr Mark Coen, a lecturer in law at Durham University made the comments after Fr Kevin Doran, a board member of the Mater hospital, said he believed the hospital could not comply with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.
The Mater hospital in Dublin should not carry out abortions according to Fr Kevin Doran, a member of the board of governors and its board of directors. The hospital is one of 25 hospitals in the country that is required to carry out abortions under the terms of the new abortion law. This is despite the fact that the Mater is a Catholic hospital. Fr Doran told The Irish Times: “The Mater can't carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos”.
George Osborne, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer has been attacked for disrespecting stay-at-homes mothers after he called their decision to look after their children at home a ‘lifestyle choice’. The Chancellor wants to encourage women back into the workplace by giving up to £1,200 of taxpayer-funded child care for each child to families in which both parents have a job.
New figures show that 85pc of Irish women who went to England for abortions in 2012 were single and 15pc were married. This confirms that single women are far more likely to have abortions than married women.
A wealthy homosexual man, Mr Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, has said that he and his civil partner Tony will take court action to force churches to host gay weddings, despite the fact that same-sex marriage law protects churches from being compelled to perform them. He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.
Married couples are happier than those living in any other family structure, according to a new study from the UK. And those in other family forms are significantly more likely to be unhappy, the figures show, in particular divorced people. Participants were asked to rate their life satisfaction from one to 10, with one to four meaning very low and nine to 10 being very high.
Claims that the Irish State “outsourced” education to the Catholic Church, made by Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly have been roundly rejected by a leading cleric. Fr Michael Drumm, the head of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said that Ms O'Reilly's comment's made at this week’s McGill Summer School, showed that she was out of touch with the reality of Irish education.
Men are still the main wage earners in a bare majority of American households, according to a new poll. The survey, carried out by Rasmussen, found that 51pc of men say they earn the most money in their marriage or domestic partnership, compared to 23pc of women who say they earn the most.
The Pro Life Campaign has described the signing into law of the Government's abortion law as “a very sad day for our country”. And they said that the pro-life movement would continue to campaign for “the repeal of this unjust law”. President Michael Higgins signed the bill into law on Tuesday, rather than referring it to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.
German parents are to be allowed sue local authorities if they are unable to obtain a creche for their children, effective from today. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic-led Coalition has also introduced a new subsidy for parents who mind their children at home, which also takes effect from today.
Pro abortion protestors have stormed the main cathedral of Chile and vandalised it during Mass. The protesters also used the pews of the cathedral as barricades in clashes with police. A group of demonstrators broke off from a protest calling for the legalisation of abortion last Thursday night and stormed into the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, interrupting the homily.
President Michael Higgins has signed the Government's abortion Bill into law after meeting yesterday with the Council of State to discuss whether to refer it to the Supreme Court to assess its constitutionality. It now remains open to individuals to challenge its constitutionality in court.
Denying the right of the Church to intervene in public debate “is the hallmark of a country that seeks to deny a fundamental human right: the right of religious freedom,” Archbishop Michael Neary (pictured) has said. Speaking on Sunday at the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage, Archbishop Neary pointed out that the past year a number of issues relating to the common good had arisen.
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