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France's highest court, the Constitutional Council has ruled that mayors must hold same-sex marriage ceremonies, regardless of conscientious objections they might have. A law permitting same-sex marriage took effect in May, but proved controversial and sparked violent protests.
Children in California will soon recognise three 'parents' for the one child under a proposed new law. The new legislation is designed to cover situations in which same-sex couples have a child with an opposite-sex biological parent, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Equality Authority has invited submissions on Section 37 of the Employment Equaliy Act, which protects the ethos of denominational schools. It announced yesterday that it was engaging in a consultation process in relation “to a proposed amendment to s37 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011”.
Parents who no longer teach children “right and wrong” are at the root of the UK’s biggest problems, according to the man responsible for overseeing British schools. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools and social care, said that “hollowed out and fragmented families” where parents suffer a “poverty of accountability” were responsible for a series of problems from addiction to neglect, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Constitutional Convention has been asked by six of the President’s seven nominees to the Council of State, to consider the Constitutional requirement for judges and other office holders to take religious oaths. In a submission made to the Convention on Monday, the six said that the issue “came to our attention recently at the first meeting of the Council of State called by President Higgins”.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, has accused France's Education Minister Vincent Peillon of making "a sort of secular religion" out of France's official Church-State division (laïcité). Mr Peillon announced last month a "charter of laïcité" for schools and said state schools, where this is no religious education, would start teaching "secular morality" next year, the Tablet reports.
Denominational schooling has an important role to play in a pluralist society, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin (pictured), has said. His views were echoed by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Clarke, in an article in today's Irish Times.
A plan by the UK’s National Health Service to allow women to keep stocks of the morning-after pill abortifacient at home will not reduce unwanted pregnancies or abortions, according to a leading academic. Professor James Trussell, of Princeton University, says there is no evidence that schemes that make emergency contraceptive more available to women have any lasting effect in cutting pregnancy rate, the Daily Mail reports.
A Catholic doctor who refused to sanction a sex-selective abortion is fighting for his career after a complaint was made against him. Dr Mark Hobart could be struck off Australia’s medical register for declining to arrange an abortion of a healthy girl because her parents wanted a boy instead, the Catholic Herald reports.
Children from households with same-sex parents are less likely to graduate from High School compared with children from opposite-sex married families according to a major new Canadian study. The study is based on a huge 20pc sample of the 2006 Canadian census. This allowed a much larger than usual sample of gay and lesbian families to be studied.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter (pictured) is to set up a taskforce to examine a possible new wording for the Constitutional provision relating to women in the home with a view to putting it to voters. The move comes in the wake of the decision of the Constitutional Convention that the provision should be amended rather than removed.
Staff at University Hospital Galway failed to provide Savita Halappanavar with “the most basic elements of patient care” and failed to recognise and act upon signs of her clinical deterioration in a timely and appropriate manner, according to a new report. The report, carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority points to 13 “missed opportunities” that could have saved Ms Halappanvar's life had they been acted upon.
Pope Francis has called an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops to take place in twelve months time that will discuss the family, which the Vatican and other Catholic leaders believe is under attack by secularist trends. The Vatican announced today that the Synod gathering will take place in October 2014 under the theme, "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation," the Tablet reports.
It is a “delusion” to believe that there is a neutral value system that can replace religion in education, the head of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, has said. Writing in today's Irish Times, Archbishop Clarke said that the idea that faith “is somehow an additional, optional appendage to 'ordinary life'.....is a flawed and disingenuous philosophy”.
Catholics in the US are less likely to divorce than people of other religious affiliations, according to a new study. The research, carried out by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, found that 28 percent of Catholics who have ever married have divorced at some point.
Plans to introduce same-sex marriage in Scotland could open the door to polygamy, a senior Labour politician has warned. Labour’s Elaine Smith, deputy presiding officer in the Scottish Parliament, suggested the SNP government’s proposals should be put on hold until the impact of the changes south of the Border can be judged, the Scotsman reports.
The national executive of Accord, the Catholic Church's marriage counselling agency, overruled a motion which would have required it to offer couples sexual counseling to divorced, gay and unmarried people, which would be against Catholic teaching.
The Catholic bishops have thanked Lucinda Creighton (pictured) and other TDs and Senators who broke the party whip to vote against the Government's abortion bill in the summer. In a statement issued after their Autumn General Meeting, they expressed their “deep gratitude to everyone who showed their concern in a respectful way when challenging the passage of this legislation”.
Many families are now paying an extra €6,000 a year into the State's coffers, with the tax on their incomes jumping more than 50pc over the five years of austerity. Massive cuts in child benefit, the introduction of the controversial universal social charge, the property tax and rising prices for everything from groceries to energy has put ‘Middle Ireland’ under huge financial pressure, The Irish Independent reports.
The owner of a well-known Dublin stationery store has been targeted by gay campaigners over his refusal to display pro same-sex marriage materials in his shop. A series of comments posted on the website of the online edition of the Gay Community Newsletter (GCN) have accused Paul Barnes, owner of Daintree Paper stationary shop, of being “homophobic” and “hate-filled” because of his stated opposition to same-sex marriage.
Ireland’s marriage rate is now only 4.3 per 1,000, according to new figures published by the CSO, a massive drop of 40pc since 1973 when the rate peaked at 7.4 per 1,000. The figures mean that fewer couples in Ireland are getting married than in Britain and far fewer than in the US.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is to seek clarification on the Mater Hospital's statement that it will comply with the Government's abortion legislation. The hospital's stance, announced last week, is at odds with that of the Catholic hierarchy, which condemned the legislation. The Mater is a Catholic hospital.
The number of people requesting to die by euthanasia in Holland rose by 13pc last year to 4,188, new figures show. The figures were published for the five regional committees responsible for ensuring the legal conditions for euthanasia are met, website DutchNews reports.
The Christian victims of terrorist attacks in Pakistan were martyrs to their faith, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (pictured) has said. He described the suicide bombing of a church in Pakistan which killed at least 80 people as "appalling" and said the victims were "martyrs".
The Government has no plans to introduce a law to outlaw slapping or “reasonable chastisement” of children in the home, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) has told the UN in a report. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child had called on Ireland to “explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in the family”.
The Government has set up a committee to draw up guidelines for implementing its abortion legislation. It is believed it will take at three months before the committee reports back to Cabinet. The committee met for the first time this week.
One of Ireland's main Catholic hospitals, the Mater, has said that it will carry out abortions under the Government's legislation, passed earlier this year. Its stance is at odds with that of the Catholic Church here, which condemned the legislation.
Stay-at-home mothers are being forced into paid work in huge numbers in the UK, as controversial Government reforms hit single income families, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph. New official figures show that almost 200,000 women in two parent families with dependent children have re-entered the workplace since 2011.
Parents around the country have been invited to give their opinion on how to make ‘stand-alone’ Catholic schools more ‘inclusive’. Parents are being asked to give their views on how to make prayers more ‘inclusive’, how to make the display of religious symbols more ‘inclusive’ and how much time should be given over to preparing children for the sacraments.
Parents who choose a faith school for their children have a right to expect the state to support them, the most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales has said. The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols (pictured), issued an impassioned defence of faith schools after a high profile legal challenge to their admissions policies, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Doctors must be servants of life, and “there is no human life more sacred than another, as there is no human life more significant than another,” Pope Francis has told a group of doctors. In an audience yesterday in Rome with members of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations the Pope said, “the first right of the human person is his life,” Vatican Radio reports.
State authorities such as the HSE have produced only a “limited response” to the hundreds of recommendations resulting from the 29 inquiries into the State's handling of child abuse cases over the past two decades, a new study says. The research, commissioned by the Government and carried out by academics from Trinity College, found that the inquiries yielded some 550 separate recommendations, the Irish Times reports.
The family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman is the path through which “faith, love and fundamental moral values are transmitted, as well as concrete solidarity, hard work, patience, and also plans, hope, and future,” Pope Francis (pictured) has said.
The most senior MP in the Liberal Democrat party in the UK, Sir Alan Beith, says “silly” interpretations of equality laws are forcing British Christians to hide their faith. Sir Alan, the longest-serving Liberal MP since David Lloyd George, is the former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and chair of the Commons Justice Select Committee.
France has launched a "secularism charter" for State schools which claims to promote "total respect for freedom of conscience" but forbids the wearing of religious symbols and garb in schools and bans pupils from boycotting classes for religious or political reasons. The charter is the Government's latest bid to enforce the official policy of imposing secularism more vigorously.
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