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Christians “have both a right, and an obligation, to bring their faith to bear in their engagement in politics,” former Taoiseach John Bruton (pictured) has told the International Eucharistic Congress. Speaking last night in the RDS on the topic of Christianity in politics, Mr Bruton said that he believed that a “separationist “ view aimed at keeping religion out of politics was artificial. Such a stance “misunderstands human nature” he said.
A father's love is at least as important, and sometimes more important, to a child’s emotional development as a mother’s, a large-scale study has confirmed. And the belief that children only need the love of their mothers is “fundamentally wrong”, Professor Ronald Rohner, the study's lead author, says. Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘This study underlines the importance of intact and stable families where both the father and the mother are committed to bringing up their children together.
The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has reiterated that priests will be compelled to break the Seal of Confession if they hear any information about child abuse. Speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday in a debate about the Government's Children First legislation, which will make it a crime not to report information about child abuse, Mr Shatter said that no privilege accrued to priests on the basis of their office. He said: “I will emphasise this point and cannot say more clearly that the legislation contains no express exemption that applies to a member of a religious faith.”
Churches in the UK could be forced to celebrate same-sex marriages, despite repeated promises by Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) to exempt them. Both the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church have already voiced fears that the Government’s pledge would not withstand a challenge in Parliament or the courts. In its official response to the Government's proposals on same-sex marriage, the Church of England warned that churches may eventually be forced to conduct such ceremonies.
The Christian ideal of marriage is under “great threat” from cohabitation, the disposable marriages of celebrities and the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage, a leading Australian bishop told an audience of thousands at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin yesterday. In his address, Dr Barry Hickey, Archbishop Emeritus of Perth, also said that the culture created by artificial contraception “has led to the separation of sex from marriage itself and has led to the proliferation of casual unions, to the exploitation of young women, to false hopes that sexual activity will lead to love, and to the abandonment of marriage by millions of people around the world”.
There were 25pc more reports of child abuse in 2011 and more than 13,000 calls were made to the Women’s Aid helpline, figures revealed today show. Women's Aid said that more than 2,000 women who called their domestic violence helpline said their children had also suffered at the hands of a perpetrator, and another 3,000 youngsters saw their mothers threatened, beaten and raped. Other figures released yesterday by the HSE showed that there were 12,825 reports of concern about the abuse of children in 2010.
Social workers in the UK will now assess whether troubled families are forming their children's consciences and instilling moral values under a major overhaul of child protection rules unveiled today. For the first time ever, new guidelines are set to recognise that the lack of a basic sense of right and wrong in children is a sign of poor parenting, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Adults who were raised by same-sex parents are more likely to have been on social welfare, more likely to be unemployed and more likely to have received psychotherapy than those from intact biological families, according to new US research. The groundbreaking study, “How Different are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study” examined 175 children with mothers who had had a gay relationship and 73 with fathers who had had a gay relationship out of a sample of 3,000 adults now aged 18 to 39.
Fewer than a third of gay people would get married if the British government legalises same-sex marriage, while almost 40 percent believe redefining marriage is a not priority for gay people, according to a new poll. The survey, the first ever professionally-conducted poll of gay people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage, was carried out by polling firm ComRes on behalf of media advocacy group Catholic Voices. The poll surveyed 541 adults between 17 April and 20 May who describe themselves as gay/lesbian or bisexual.
Nearly one in ten young men in America have become fathers before their 20th birthday, according a new study by think tank Child Trends. The report, The Characteristics and Circumstances of Teen Fathers: At the Birth of Their First Child and Beyond, looked at figures from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth—1997, a nationally representative survey of U.S. youth who were between the ages of 12 and 16 on December 31, 1996. The study found that almost one-half of the men who fathered a child as a teen have at least one more child by the time they are between ages 22 and 24, sometimes with a different mother.
A fresh attempt to use the Irish courts to redefine marriage is set to be made by Senator Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan. Their new case is set to challenge the Civil Registration Act 2004, and the Civil Partnership Act 2010, both of which prohibit people of the same sex marrying each other and will begin in the High Court. The two women argue that the State's refusal to recognise their same-sex marriage, entered into in Canada, was unconstitutional but lost their case in the High Court in 2006 and subsequently took their case to the Supreme Court.
The promised Constitutional convention which will look at proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, remove the clause which refers to women in the home and remove the offence of blasphemy is set to be established next month. However, a Government spokesman told The Irish Times that the convention may not finish its work before the end of its current term in office. The convention, which will be made up of politicians and ordinary citizens was agreed upon by the Cabinet at its weekly meeting.
Sales of the Morning After Pill – an abortifacient – have soared threefold to 13 per day or almost 5,000 per year, according to The Irish Daily Mail. The increase is the result of permitting pharmacists to sell the drug over the counter without a doctor’s prescription and because its price has been cut from €50 to €15.
Traditional family values are vital for the renewal of modern society, Pope Benedict has told over a million people at the World Meeting of Families in Milan on Sunday. "We have been given the task of building church communities that are more and more like families... based on a marriage between man and woman," the Pope told pilgrims gathered together from 154 countries. "Watch over your children and, in a world dominated by technology, transmit to them, with serenity and trust, reasons for living, the strength of faith, pointing them towards high goals and supporting them in their fragility."
More than half of Irish people believe that religious education should be part of the school day, according to a new poll. The findings come after suggestions made by RTE that the Catholic Church had sought to impose separate religion classes during school hours on three new VEC-run schools. Senior education figures for the Church vigorously denied these allegations.
A new poll shows that large numbers of Catholics in Ireland do not believe some of the central teaching of the Church. However the poll did not break this down by Mass attendence. The poll, carried out by MRBI for the Irish Times, also showed that most Catholics do not attend weekly Mass. According to the survey, just under a third (31 per cent) of Catholics said they attended Mass at least once a week.
Catholics may be forced into civil disobedience by the US Government mandate requiring Catholic institutions to cover abortifacients, contraception and sterilisation in their health insurance plans, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has said. In a bulletin, the USCCB say that “[s]ome laws impose such injustices on individuals and organisations that disobeying the laws may be justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them”. “When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties,” the Bishops state.
A Christian mental health worker in the UK who was fired for distributing pro-life leaflets at work is to sue the NHS accusing it of having a “dangerously totalitarian” approach to the issue. Margaret Forrester (pictured) was dismissed for “gross professional misconduct” after she gave a colleague a booklet pointing out the physical and psychological damage suffered by some women after undergoing an abortion.
Proposals to give effect to recommendations about the age of consent are set to be put before the Cabinet, Justice Minister Alan Shatter (pictured) has said. One recommendation is likely to be that the age of consent should be dropped to 16. This is despite the fact that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny strongly opposed reducing the age of consent when he was leader of the Opposition in 2006.
Children should be raised by their natural mother and father within marriage and should only be deprived of this for “grave” reasons, England's most senior Catholic cleric has warned in a major speech. Speaking to over 500 married couples, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols (pictured), said: “We know that the context of a marriage is the best place for children to be reared, providing them with a framework of love, within which they are sure of their biological heritage and not deprived, without grave reason, of the experience of being loved and raised by their natural mother and father.”
Over a quarter of marriages conducted in Ireland in 2009 were civil marriages, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The figures, contained in a report entitled Marriages 2009, show that 28.7pc of all marriages were civil ceremonies, an increase of 17pc compared 2008. However, among people getting marriage for the first time, this figure dropped somewhat to 21 percent.
Civil servants who are attempting to exclude faith from public life are simply ignorant of how Christianity has shaped British history, the head of the Church of England has said. Speaking on Tuesday in the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said that a “plain lack of historical and cultural awareness” was behind the instinct of many civil servants to treat religion as a problem. Dr Williams said that British tradition of democracy, tolerance and justice had been shaped by the influence of the teachings of Christianity and Judaism in particular.
Healthcare workers should not be legally prosecuted if they provide “sexual health services” such as STI treatment to children under 16, if they deem it to be in that child's best interests, according to a new policy statement on sexual health published by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. The document, Better Sexual Health for Ireland, says that providing such services “can sometimes be challenging in the context of the current legal framework in Ireland”.
Large numbers of separated and divorced men and women are putting their sexual health at risk by sleeping with multiple partners and contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a result, a leading consultant warned yesterday. Dr Jack Lambert, of the Mater Hospital, said people in their 30s, 40s and 50s “are going out and acting as if they are 18 or 25 years old again”, The Irish Independent reports. Dr Lambert also pointed out that clinics treating sexually transmitted diseases are seeing more adolescents.
A number of at-risk children housed in residential care centres were found to be in “inappropriate relationships”, including with adults, while some centres used staff without proper qualifications, inspections of those centres have revealed. At one home, management had been alerted to the possibility of "inappropriate relationships" between children but never informed the children’s social workers, according to a report in the Irish Examiner. Families also repeatedly warned of their children’s "at-risk" behaviour but this was never addressed.
The internet giant Google has claimed that plans by the UK Government to introduce legislation that would mean internet providers would have to automatically filter out porn unless the customer wished otherwise, would give parents a false sense of security. But Sarah Hunter, the website’s head of UK public policy says the proposal would “overblock or underblock”, while also “deskilling” parents, the Daily Telegraph reports. “Legislation would be a mistake,” she said.
A European Parliament resolution which claims that ‘homophobia’ is frequently disguised as concern for religious freedom passed on Thursday by 430 votes to 105 with 59 MEPs abstaining. The motion, which called for a series of measures to tackle “discrimination” against homosexuals said that “homophobia” manifested itself “in different forms.... which are often hidden behind justifications based on public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection”.
Six minors who were known to social services have died already this year due to suicide or accidents according to six reports published yesterday. Since January, a further seven children have died due to natural causes, the reports, published by the National Review Panel, said. In total, at least 24 children and young adults who were involved with social services have died in the past year and a half.
Nearly forty percent of Americans believe that premarital sex is not morally acceptable, while more than four in ten believe the same about having a child outside marriage, according to a new poll by Gallup. The survey also revealed that more than forty percent believe that same-sex sexual relations are not morally acceptable. The poll asked a random sample of 1,024 adults about the moral acceptability about 18 types of conduct, including gambling, animal experimentation and cloning.
The Irish population, on average, is half a year older compared to 2006, but the number of children aged four and under has risen by 18pc, according to new figures from the Census 2011. The figures also showed that the number of young adults aged 19-24 has decreased by 12 per cent since 2006, the only age group to show a fall in numbers, while the population of elderly people, aged 65 or over, increased by 14.4 per cent
Conservative MPs, including members of the Government itself, are set to be given a free vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. It had been understood that backbench MPs would be given a free vote, but this has been extended to Cabinet and junior ministers after a major rebellion by ministers, according to The Daily Telegraph. Downing Street initially suggested that members of the Government would be required to support the plans when the proposals are debated in the Commons.
Women in developed countries are doing better than men on a range of measures, challenging claims that women suffer more than men from inequality, a new OECD study says. While women on average earn less than men and are less likely to be found in senior positions, they also work shorter hours than men, are better educated, live longer and suffer less stress than their male colleagues. Conversely they spend more time than men doing housework.
Lesbian couples and women over-40 are set to be allowed to obtain free IVF services from the UK's National Health Service (NHS) for the first time under Government guidelines published yesterday. Lesbian couples will be given the same rights as opposite-sex couples under guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Previously infertility services had to take account of a child’s need for a father.
More than forty Catholic dioceses and organisations in the United States are to sue the Obama Administration over its policy of forcing Catholics employers to put their workers in insurance plans that are contrary to Catholic ethos. These plans provide workers with free abortifacients, such as the Morning-After-Pill, sterilisation and contraception, all of which are against Catholic teaching
Instead, the Court limited itself to checking whether the fundamental principles of the domestic legal order or the dignity of the applicant have not been infringed. The Court also held that there was a “special confidence link” which must unite a Catholic religion teacher with the Catholic Church. The Court ruled that “the applicant was submitted to an increased obligation of loyalty” because of the special nature of his position and his personal situation.
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