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The British Court of Appeal has ruled that a mother who denied a father's access to his children for three years breached his rights. The court, made up of three judges, that it was not acceptable for the mother to block the father’s reasonable efforts to see his two daughters. The judges urged all separated parents to consider the harm that such legal disputes cause children. Lord Justice McFarlane said mothers and fathers had “a responsibility and a duty” to help children remain in touch with the other parent, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has described same-sex marriage as “a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale”. It was responding to the announcement by the Scottish Government that it is set to become the first part of Britain to legalise it. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Deputy First Minister, today confirmed she will bring forward legislation but said it will include “important protections” for clergymen, teachers and parents who oppose the move.
Ireland should incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into its law, so that it is directly applicable here, a new report on children's rights has said. The report of the special rapporteur on child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon (pictured), while pointing out that Ireland has already signed and ratified the Convention, called the fact that Ireland had yet to incorporate the document as “disappointing”. The Convention is controversial because it gives children rights traditionally associated with adults such as freedom of association, religion and privacy.
The governor of the Austrian province of Vorarlberg has told hospitals there to suspend religiously motivated circumcisions. Last week, two hospitals in Switzerland, the Zurich University Children’s Hospital and the northern St Gall teaching hospital, also announced that they were delaying religious circumcision until further notice. Governor Marcus Wallner cited a recent ruling by a German regional court which held that the practice was the equivalent of causing criminal bodily harm, saying that he saw it as a "precedence-setting judgment," according to the Jewish Chronicle.
The Church will remain committed to its teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, whether the State legalises same-sex marriage or not, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said. Speaking yesterday at a question and answer session after his talk at the McGill Summer School, he said: “The Church will teach its teaching about the complementarity of man and woman as being something that is essential to marriage and that marriage is not a simple social construct which can be changed at will.”
The views of Christians on social and political matters must be heard in the public square, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair (pictured) has said. In a discussion in London with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Tony Blair said that Christians should not be afraid to speak in public about faith.
Secular society must engage in dialogue with religion and not seek to exclude it, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin (pictured) said today. In a speech to the McGill Summer School in Donegal, he stated: “We are all tempted to succumb to the widespread opinion that Christianity is really something private and personal for our own devotion and inspiration and not something that has its relevance in the public square.
Chronic relationship instability is one of the key causes of the problems facing many British families today, a new report has revealed. The report, Listening to Troubled Families, written by Louise Casey found that such families were often chaotic. The study focused on problem families who have already been the subject of a family intervention unit. Of the parents interviewed, 11 out of the 16 were under 18 when they had children.
A Maltese law which prevented a man who underwent a ‘sex change’ operation from marrying as a woman is to be challenged before the European Court of Human Rights. The man had his birth certificate changed, but subsequently tried to marry another man, and was refused permission by the Maltese authorities. The case is Cassar v Malta. The Maltese authorities said that the alteration of the birth record was intended only to protect his privacy by making his everyday life easier, but not to alter legal effects related to marriage.
Proposals to means test Child Benefit have been condemned by various charities, who claim that such a move would put more children at risk of poverty. Social Justice Ireland warned that a move to reduce Child Benefit payments risked moving “more children into poverty” which would significantly increase what they described as Ireland' s “unacceptable child poverty figures”. The remarks came after a report from the IMF on Wednesday suggested that Ireland should means test its Child Benefit payment as part of a series of reforms to its social welfare system.
Fathers’ engagement with their children, or the lack thereof, in the first months of life may influence the development of behavioural problems later, according to a new study. The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford, found that fathers who were more involved early on had children with fewer problems at 12 months, while those who were less engaged had children who were less stable and more disturbed.
Christianity is the largest religious faith among the 18 million Asian-Americans, according to new research. The study, carried out by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 42pc of all Asian Americans were Christian. Buddhism was the religion with the second highest percentage of adherants, with 14pc. But those who said they belonged to no faith in particular were the second largest group, with 17pc. Atheists added another eight percent to the figure showing once again that those who are not religiously affiliated are frequently not atheists.
Young teenagers who watch sex scenes in films are more likely to be sexually active and with more people from a younger age, according to new research. Psychologists concluded that teenagers aged from 12-14 who watch more sex on screen in popular films are likely to have sexual relations with more people, according to the Daily Telegraph. The study, based on nearly 700 popular films, found that watching sex scenes could "fundamentally influence" a teenager's personality.
Relationship breakdown is one of the biggest causes of suicide in Ireland, according to a new study. The study showed that 65.8pc of the 190 people who had committed suicide in the city and county of Cork between September 2008 and March 2011 had experienced serious relationship problems in their lives.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has been warned by a leading Catholic bishop that it would be “incredibly unwise” to ram through recommendations by the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism aimed at diluting the ethos of denominational schools. Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore, the previous chair of the Bishops' commission on Education, speaking in a weekend interview, also criticised proposals made by the Minister's Forum on Patronage and Pluralism, and asked whether ‘diversity’ and ‘choice’ was being offered for all, except those practising as Catholics, according to the Irish Examiner.
The Government could introduce same-sex marriage without having a referendum, a legal academic has claimed. Writing in yesterday's Irish Times, Dr Conor O'Mahony of UCC said that the Constitution was silent on same-sex marriage, and that it therefore presented no bar to the Government introducing same-sex marriage legislation. His view contrasts with the opinion of a range of members of the Government, notably Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, who have said that a referendum would be needed.
Christians must be allowed to display their faith in the public square, the Church of England has declared. The General Synod, the Church's governing body, overwhelmingly backed a motion which affirmed that the “calling” of Christians was to manifest their “faith in public life as well as in private”. The motion was introduced by Revd Stephen Trott who warned that some were making “very determined attempts” to “drive the Church out of the public square,” the Christian Institute website reports.
Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) has backed the right of Christians to wear crosses in the workplace and said he would change the law to make this clear if necessary. Speaking on Wednesday during Prime Minister’s Questions, he said the matter is “absolutely a vital religious freedom”, according to The Daily Telegraph. His remarks come ahead of a European Court of Human Rights case involving a British Airways worker who wanted to wear a small cross at work but was ordered to hide it.
Defence Minister, Alan Shatter (pictured), denied permission to members of the Defence Forces to act as an honour guard for a procession during the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Dublin last month, the Irish Catholic has learned. The move comes despite the fact that the Defence Forces have traditionally played a key role in religious events around the country, and raised concerns that military personnel will be forbidden from taking part in such events again. The last time that the Eucharistic Congress was held in Dublin, in 1932, members of the then Free State army were central to the event.
A total of 525 people committed suicide in Ireland last year, a seven per cent increase on the year before, according to new figures from the CSO. Of the 525, 439 were men and 86 were women with the majority being in the 15-44 age group. The figures show that Ireland has a suicide rate of 11.4 suicides per 100,000. However this nearly doubles for men, with Irish males having a suicide rate of 19.3 deaths per 100,000.
The percentage of children born outside marriage continues to increase, according to new figures from the Central Statistics office. The figures, contained in the Vital Statistics report for the fourth quarter of 2011, show that there were 5,866 births registered outside marriage, which accounted for 34.3pc of all births, an increase of 0.1pc on the fourth quarter of 2010 and an increase of 1.3pc on fourth quarter of 2006. Nineteen percent of new births were to unmarried parents living at the same address.
One in ten children, some as young as nine, have looked at inappropriate sexual imagery online, according to a new EU survey. The report, Towards a Better Internet for Children, is part of a study looking at 25,000 families in 25 countries across Europe, and is funded by the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme. It showed that 11pc of Irish children reported seeing sexual images online. Across the EU, the average was 14pc.
The Government has been attacked over its attitude towards religion by The Irish Catholic newspaper. In an editorial, the newspaper accused the Government of unleashing “a veritable double whammy” against people of faith, by coming out in favour of gay marriage and abortion. Citing the announcement by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore that he supports same-sex marriage, it said: “It seems odd for a man who insists that the voice of faith must be silent on issues of political or social concern to speak of 'belief' in political causes.
The UK Government has no mandate to introduce same-sex marriage, the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has said. In his strongest attack yet on Prime Minister David Cameron's proposals to permit same-sex marriage, Dr Rowan Williams (pictured) pointed out that the measure had not been included in the Conservative or Liberal Democrat election manifestos, the Daily Telegraph reports. His intervention follows the publication last month of the Church of England’s response to the Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage.
New laws must allow women to take maternity leave who have used surrogate mothers to have children, according to the Equality Authority. In its last annual report before its merger with the Human Rights Commission, the chair of authority Angela Kerins, said it had supported three women who, though genetically the mothers of their babies, were not entitled to maternity leave because they had not given birth to their babies.
The Church of England has announced a new initiative aimed at preventing Christianity 'sliding out of cultural memory'. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, chairman of the Church’s board of education, said his Church will promote religion through its schools, the Daily Telegraph reports. At a meeting of the Church’s General Synod in York, Bishop Pritchard said that plans were being drawn up to overhaul the entire curriculum to reflect the Christian foundation “in every part”.
Parents who wish to adopt babies will be permitted to foster them under the age of one as part of new UK Government plans to reduce disruption the children suffer in early life. Infants aged less than a year will be fostered by families who hope to adopt them under plans by the Government to reduce disruption they suffer in early life, according to the Daily Telegraph. Prime Minister David Cameron said new laws will mean it is “standard practice” for babies to be looked after by approved adopters.
The legal group of the US House of Represenatives has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) after President Barack Obama (pictured) decided last year to stop defending the law in court. On Friday, the House appealed to the Court’s justices to weigh in on the law after a number of lower federal courts said that the law was unconstitutional. The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which represents the House of Representatives, has taken the lead in defending the 1996 law.
U.S. Catholics must “speak out” for religious freedom in a time that calls for “sentinels and public witness”, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Rt Rev Charles Chaput has said. In a homily at a Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, to mark the end of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Fortnight for Freedom, a two week series of events to protest against President Obama’s health care law, Archbishop Chaput said that “[r]eligious liberty is a foundational right. It’s necessary for a good society”.
Easy access to online porn is making teenage relationships more abusive, according to one of the leading law officials in the UK. Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that the “exposure of young people to all sorts of material” was a serious cause for concern. And he said that the easy access to internet pornography for children and “emerging research” about increasing violence in teenage relationships could be linked, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Religious traditions, including circumcision, continue to be protected in Germany, despite a court ruling last week, according to the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. Speaking on Sunday in the wake of a decision by a court in Cologne, which held that circumcision amounted to bodily harm, Mr Westerwelle moved to offer reassurances after furious protests by Jewish and Muslim groups. Last week, a state court in Cologne ruled that the child’s right to physical integrity trumps freedom of religion and parents’ rights.
A Conservative MP who supports same-sex marriage has said he wants Prime Minister David Cameron to shelve the idea because it is alienating the party’s core voters. David Mowat says a former chairman of his constituency association has resigned from the party over the proposal, the Liverpool Daily Post reports. The Conservative Party, Mr Mowat said, couldn't afford to lose members over this. He said: “I would be pretty happy if the whole thing got dropped.”
A speech by Eamon Gilmore (pictured) calling for the removal of faith from politics has been described as, “an attack on religious freedom,” by the Iona Institute. The speech, made on Sunday to Labour’s Tom Johnson Summer School, suggested that, “the separation of Church and state,” means that the Government is obliged to legislate for same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research. Commenting on the speech, Dr John Murray of The Iona Institute said today, “Religious freedom has to include the freedom to fully participate in the public and political life of the country as religious believers.
Five million "test tube babies" have now been born around the world, according to research presented at a conference of fertility experts. But two leading experts in the field have warned that the fertility treatment must be used with care. The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in the UK in July 1978. Her mother Leslie Brown died last month.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s (pictured) favoured model for blocking internet pornography in the UK does not go far enough to protect children, charities have warned. The UK Government yesterday launched a consultation on a possible change in the law to give parents more control over the material their children are viewing online. It follows growing concern over sexually explicit and violent material children are able to view and share on the internet.
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