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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.
Young people need the presence of 'One Good Adult' if they are to avoid significant mental health problems, according to a comprehensive study of Irish people aged between 12-24. The study, a joint project of mental health charity Headstrong and UCD's School of Psychology, looked at a sample 14,500 young people. It asked them to what extent they have a special adult in their life who is there when they are in need. It said that the One Good Adult could be a parent, grandparent, teacher or sports coach.
A new law which will allow pharmacists to refuse to provide abortion-causing drugs has been signed into law in the US state of Kansas. The Heath Care Rights of Conscience Act will bar anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they "reasonably believe" might result in the termination of a pregnancy. The law was signed on Monday, the Kansas City Star news website reports.
Constraints should not be put on Catholic schools on how they celebrate their faith, the leader of Fianna Fáil, Michéal Martin, has said. In an interview with this week's Irish Catholic, Mr Martin said: “I don't think any constraints should be put on Catholic schools on how they celebrate their Catholic faith. His statements come after the Advisory Group to the Government-appointed Forum on Pluralism and Patronage made a number of recommendations which critics said would weaken the denominational identity of faith schools.
Canada's Catholic bishops have warned that freedom of religion and conscience are in danger of disappearing from Canadian society. Canada has one of the most active networks of human rights commissions in the world which have targeted religious freedom in the name of ‘equality’. In a pastoral letter published on Monday, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said: “In the past decade in Canada there have been several situations that raise the question whether our right to freedom of conscience and religion is everywhere respected.”
Fathers will have to be named on the birth certificates of all children, whether the father is married or not, under new Government proposals. At present only the names of married fathers are automatically registered. The proposed changes were announced in the Dail yesterday by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton (pictured).
Secularism is trying to wipe Christianity out, the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (pictured) has said. Speaking on Tuesday in Leicester Cathedral, the Cardinal said that distorted notions of equality, freedom and tolerance are "three monsters on our cultural landscape" that formed part of a new and "very, very dangerous" secular religion, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The organisers of a marriage conference in the UK have been refused permission to hold the event on their regular hired premises because they support the traditional definition of marriage. The Law Society in England say they won't allow "Christian Concern" to hold the conference on its premises saying that the event would breach its "diversity policy" due to the group's beliefs that there should be no redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Members of the UK parliament are demanding a Government inquiry into the safety of the most popular form of IVF after it was reported that it was linked with a higher risk of birth defects. More than 20,000 couples in Britain last year used the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure. But an Australian study, which examined 300,000 births, has found that babies conceived using the procedure were twice as likely as babies conceived naturally to have a birth defect.
A motion upholding the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman was passed by the General Synod of the Church of Ireland on Saturday. The Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson (pictured) and the Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller proposed the motion, and it received the support of 81 clergy and 154 laity. Fifty three clergy and 60 laity opposed the motion. Among the bishops, all but the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Paul Colton and the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory Michael Burrows supported the motion.
Catholic schools in Wales have been officially warned that they could be breaking the law by encouraging pupils to oppose same-sex marriage. The Welsh Government has written to Catholic schools following complaints over teachers inviting pupils to sign a petition against the Government’s plans to redefine marriage. Ministers in Westminster have yet to decide whether or not to issue a similar warning to schools in England, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter (pictured) has said that Irish courts may protect priests from prosecution who refuse to violate the seal of Confession under proposed Government legislation making it a crime not to disclose allegations about child sexual abuse. Speaking in the Seanad in a debate on the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill on Thursday, Mr Shatter said that if a case regarding the seal of Confession arose, it would be a matter for a court to decide whether the seal was protected.
Teenagers are increasingly delaying having sex until they are older, according to a new HSE study on young people's sexual behaviour. The study, carried out by the HSE's Crisis Pregnancy Programme, found that 15pc of 18 to 25-year-olds in 2010 said they had not yet had sex, compared to 13pc of the same age group in 2003. The survey, which spoke to 3,000 adults in 2010 showed that the overall average age of first sex has risen for girls, who on average are waiting until they reach 18.
Parents will be able to take more flexible leave to care for their children under new laws unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. The speech, which traditionally outlines the UK Government's legislative agenda, also announced legislation which will create a requirement for judges to ensure children enjoy a “meaningful” relationship with their father if possible. Tighter controls on music videos and computer games to stop unsuitable material being seen by children were also announced in the speech.
The body representing most Catholic secondary schools has called on the Government to treat them as equals in the resourcing of second-level education. The Joint Managerial Body (JMB) which represents the management of almost 400 voluntary secondary schools says that some schools are approaching financial tipping point because of severe cuts, according to a report in The Irish Catholic. It says that Catholic secondary schools – often known as ‘voluntary secondary schools’ are receiving as much as €90 per pupil per annum less from the Department of Education compared to schools in other sectors of the education system.
Voters in the U.S. state of North Carolina have overwhelmingly backed a measure to enshrine the traditional definition of marriage into the state's constitution. The measure, which also banned same-sex civil unions, passed by 61pc to 39pc. The vote brings the number of states which have voted against same-sex marriage in state referenda to 31. As yet, same-sex marriage has yet to win a referendum in any U.S. state.
Most self-professed Christians – both Catholics and Protestants – give a lack of time rather than disagreement with Church teachings as the main reason why they don’t go to church regularly, according to new survey. The poll, conducted in the Catholic diocese of Camden in New Jersey, found that thirty-eight percent of non-churchgoing Christians said they simply don't have the time to attend services, while 32pc said they took the day off to spend with their spouse or preferred to do other things.
There will be no U-turn on Government plans to legalise same-sex marriage in the UK, according to the Liberal Democrat Minister responsible for crafting the legislation. Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said that same-sex couples will be given the legal right to marry before the next general election, according to the Daily Telegraph. Her words came as senior Tories, including one Government minister suggested that the Government's focus on issues like same-sex marriage had cost the Conservatives seats in last week's council elections.
An Anglican vicar was vetted by the UK Government's child protection agency after he questioned his Church’s child protection policy. Rev Jeremy Hummerstone, formerly vicar of Torrington in Devon, refused to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) on the grounds that such vetting was not part of the original conditions of his post. Vetting is conducted to make sure that those who work with children have not previously been suspected of abusing a child.
A teenage boy in the UK has admitted religiously harassing a McDonald's employee by repeatedly harassing her for being a practicing Pagan. The 16-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, consistently provoked the female member of staff over her beliefs in what is understood to be the first case of its kind, The Daily Telegraph reports. A court heard how the defendant discovered through friends that his victim was a Pagan - a legally recognised religion - and then “jumped on the bandwagon”.
An Anglican lay preacher in England has been banned from the pulpit in his parish after encouraging parishioners to oppose gay marriage – in line with the official teaching of the Church of England. Peter Gowlland, 78, was accused of sowing discord among worshippers at the liberal-leaning All Saints Church in Sanderstead, Surrey, by inviting them to sign a petition against the Government plans to introduce same-sex weddings, The Daily Telegraph reports. Despite being told by his Archdeacon to “withdraw” from ministry for two months as a result, Church authorities insisted that he had “not been suspended”.
Justice Minister, Alan Shatter (pictured), has acknowledged that any change to Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act must find a “balance between the rights of religious denominations to manage their own affairs...and the rights of other citizens to equality before the law and to earn their livelihood”. Section 37 allows religious institutions such as schools and hospitals to refuse to hire people on the basis of a reasonable fear that such persons would undermine the religious ethos of that institution.
Doctors in the UK who refuse to provide ‘sex change’ operations could be struck off under new General Medical Council (GMC) draft guidance, it has been claimed. Doctors could also breach the guidance if they are unwilling to prescribe contraception to an unmarried person but willing to prescribe it to a married person, according to Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship. The guidance, ‘Personal beliefs and medical practice’, was issued by the GMC last Thursday and is subject to consultation.
Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn (pictured), has said he “does not believe we will get agreement from the Catholic community on the divesting of schools if it believes it is to be curtailed in terms of how it celebrates and teaches Catholicism to its own community.” Speaking in the Seanad on Tuesday in a debate on the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism, Mr Quinn said that this was his own personal view and is “not what is stated in the report” He added that he would welcome a debate on the issue.
A Catholic secondary school in Canada has been accused by an atheist group of being "vile and manipulative" for encouraging its pupils to sign a petition backing a call for a parliamentary committee to determine if life begins before birth. The group, the Toronto-based Centre for Inquiry, said that St Joseph Catholic Secondary School in the city of Mississauga, had engaged in "an abuse of power" and was politically biased, according to the Tablet.
More than two thirds of parents want the sacraments taught to their children during school hours, according to a new survey. The finding comes after the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, had suggested that preparation for the sacraments was taking up too much class time. The survey, commissioned by the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) and conducted by Red C, found that 67pc of parents with children under 16, when asked when preparation and instruction for the sacraments should be taught, agreed that it should be taught within school hours, with 31pc saying it should be taught outside the school day.
A row has broken out after a ‘Catholic-ethos’ school refused a place to a pregnant teenager. The girl applied twice to the lay-owned school, first in September 2009 when she was pregnant at 16 and again the following year after her baby was born. However, she was turned down by the principal, who is also the school's owner, founder and patron. The Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, has said that the case is an example of clear discrimination.
Waterford city had the highest percentage of births outside marriage in the third quarter of 2001, according to the latest Vital Statistics figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The figures, published yesterday, showed that 50pc of all births in the third quarter of 2011 in Waterford City were to unmarried parents, with 24pc of births being to unmarried parents living at the same address. Limerick city came next. In the same quarter, 46pc of births in Limerick City were outside marriage, with 16pc of all births being to unmarried parents living at the same address.
One of Britain's most senior judges is to launch a public campaign this week to defend marriage and protect children against the "destructive scourge" of divorce and family breakdown, The Daily Telegraph reports. Sir Paul Coleridge is to establish an independent charity, the Marriage Foundation to promote the institution of marriage as the "gold standard for relationships". In Britain, the divorce rate is between 40 and 50 percent. Senior judges usually do not speak out on such issues but Sir Paul, who sits in the Family Division of the British High Court, has frequently questioned Britain's high level of marital breakdown.
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