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School advent services in Sweden must be religion-free say guidelines

By Admin on 3rd December 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Swedish schools are permitted to gather in church premises during Advent but the services must be free from any religious element, under new guidelines drawn up by the country's National Agency for Education (NAE). The stance of the NAE has been criticised by politicians and other public figures.


Washington State looks set to remove ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ from marriage documents

By Admin on 1st December 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The health department in the US state of Washington looks set to remove the words “bride” and “groom” from marriage and divorce certificates, after same-sex marriage was approved in a referendum last month. Spaces once reserved for a "bride" and "groom" will become more gender-neutral, according to MyNorthWest.com.


Government must honour marriage pledge say MPs

By Admin on 3rd December 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A number of senior Conservative MPs, including some former Ministers, have said that Chancellor George Osborne must honour the party's promise to give a tax break to married couples. The calls were led by Tim Loughton, the former families minister, who warned that next week’s Autumn Statement represented the Chancellor's last chance to deliver on a key manifesto pledge, the Daily Telegraph reports.


Over half of Irish people attend Mass at least once a month, according to poll

By Admin on 30th November 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

Thirty-seven percent of Catholics attend Mass at least once a week, with a further seven percent attending once a fortnight and another eight percent attending every three to four weeks, adding up to a total of 52 percent who attend Mass regularly. The findings are in a new poll conducted on behalf of The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.


Nearly one in five 13 year olds being raised by single parents

By Admin on 30th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Eighteen percent of children aged 13 are being raised by a single parent, new figures show. The data are contained in the Growing Up in Ireland-Key Findings: 13 year-olds report, which is part of an ongoing longitudinal study into the lives of Irish children.


Expert group on abortion seeks to limit the conscience rights of doctors

By Admin on 29th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Government's Expert Group report, published on Monday, recommends that the right of doctors and other medical staff to conscientiously object to abortion must be limited. The report which suggests that the Government legalise abortion either through legislation or through regulations, in line with the X case decision, also seeks to limit conscience in other respects.


Recession forcing more men into part-time work

By Admin on 29th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Men are being forced into part-time work by the recession, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show. The figures, published today in the latest Quarterly National Household Survey, show that the number of men in part-time work is now 143,800 men, an increase of over 20,000 in two years.


Catholics schools in UK have more children from disadvantaged areas

By Admin on 28th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Catholic schools in the UK educate more pupils from deprived areas than the national average yet outperform other schools by up to 10pc, according to a report published on Monday. The 2012 census of Catholic schools in England and Wales, released by the Catholic Education Service (CES), revealed that 20pc of pupils at State-funded Catholic secondary schools live in the most deprived areas, compared with 17pc nationally.


Support for same-sex marriage down 20 points

By Admin on 27th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Support for same-sex marriage has fallen by 20pc since February, a new Irish Times poll shows. The poll showed that 53pc of Irish voters support changing the Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, a huge drop since a poll in February by Red C showed that 73pc of voters favoured same-sex marriage.


Catholic Church attacks ‘free schools’ admission policy

By Admin on 27th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Catholic Church in the UK is set to snub the flagship free schools policy of UK Education Secretary Michael Gove, saying that the admissions rules restricting the number of pupils from churchgoing families who can go to Church-run schools is “perverse”. Speaking yesterday, Greg Pope, deputy director of the Catholic Education Service effectively ruled out future involvement in the scheme.


Parents have right to school choice says NI Education Minister

By Admin on 26th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Parents should be able to choose which schools their children go to, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd, has said. He was responding to a report on the website, The Detail, which showed that half of Northern Ireland’s schoolchildren are being taught in schools where 95pc or more of the pupils are of the same religion.


Minister Shatter targets employment rights of religious schools

By Admin on 24th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Justice Minister Alan Shatter (pictured) has said that Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act is unfair to gay and lesbian teachers and must be amended. Section 37 upholds the right of religious organisations not to employ those it believes would undermine their ethos. This right was upheld by the Supreme Court.


Marital breakdown highest among poorly educated says CSO

By Admin on 23rd November 2012. ~ Categories:

Marital breakdown is highest amongst those with lower levels of education, according to a new report by the CSO. The report, entitled, What Do We Know, was based on figures from the 2011 Census and focused on rates of educational attainment.


Fine Gael picks members for Constitutional Convention

By Admin on 23rd November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Fine Gael has announced the names of the members of their delegation to the Government's Constitutional Convention. The delegation is chaired by Laois/Offaly TD Charles Flanagan.


Same-sex couples to be given new parental rights

By Admin on 22nd November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The non-biological parents of children being raised by same-sex couples will be allowed to form legal ties with those children under new proposals made by Justice Minister Alan Shatter (pictured). Speaking at a meeting of Fine Gael's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Group on Tuesday night, Mr Shatter said that the law needed to be changed to “ensure that children in lesbian or gay family units are able to form a legal connection with their non-biological parent and that kindred relationships flow from such legal connection.".


New EU commissioner approved despite campaign by secularist groups

By Admin on 22nd November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Tonio Borg, a former Maltese Cabinet minister with pro-life and pro-marriage views, has been approved by the European Parliament as EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs. His nomination had been opposed by the Green and Liberal groupings within the European Parliament, as well as various secularist campaign groups who objected to his nomination on the basis of his Catholic views on homosexuality and abortion.


MPs threaten Church of England with legal action over women bishops

By Admin on 21st November 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Two senior MPs have threatened the Church of England with a battle in Parliament and the prospect of legal challenges if it fails to approve women bishops on Tuesday. Two Labour MPs, former Cabinet minister Frank Field and Chris Bryant, a former Anglican priest warned that the Church of England's position as the established Church could be called into question if the General Synod rejects the plan, the Daily Telegraph reports.


Women mount legal challenge to children’s referendum

By Admin on 20th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Two women are challenging the outcome of the Children's referendum in the High Court. The challenge is based on a ruling by the Supreme Court that the Government breached the Constitution by spending public money advancing only one side of the argument.


Thousands protest against same-sex marriage in France

By Admin on 20th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Paris and across France on Saturday to protest government proposals to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption. Under the slogan "one dad and one mom for every child" opponents of the proposal called it a “major and dangerous upheaval”.


Army chaplains who don’t support same-sex marriage ‘could be dismissed’

By Admin on 19th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Military chaplains who do not support same-sex marriage could be dismissed under Government plans, a former Defence Minister has warned. Sir Gerald Howarth, who served as a Defence Minister until September this year, made his concerns known in a letter to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.


Atheists in legal challenge to new Catholic schools

By Admin on 17th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

New faith schools in the UK could be required to set aside as much as 50pc of place for pupils from non-religious backgrounds in the event of oversubscription if a judicial review currently being heard in the High Court is successful. This could mean such schools having to turn away children from the faith they were established for.


Number of births outside marriage continues to rise

By Admin on 16th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A third of births took place outside marriage in 2010, or 25,373 in total, according to the latest Vital Statistics Report. It marks a 0.4 percent increase compared 2009. In that year, 25,252 children were born outside marriage, representing 33.4pc of all births in that year. However, over the longer term, figures show that Ireland has experienced a dramatic rise in the number of children being born outside wedlock.


MPs pressure Cameron to give tax breaks to married couples

By Admin on 16th November 2012 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A group of MPs are urging David Cameron (pictured) to keep his commitment to introducing a tax break for married couples. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, fifteen Conservatives, including former ministers, demanded action as part of the Finance Bill 2013. The Tory party promised a transferrable tax allowance for married couples in their manifesto, and these MPs are concerned plans will be dropped with the Government now past the half way point of this Parliament.


Catholic nominee for European Commissioner grilled over beliefs

By Admin on 15th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A senior Maltese politician, Dr Tonio Borg, who has been nominated for the position of EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy was grilled by committee members of the European Parliament on Tuesday over his Catholic convictions. Reports suggest that Dr Borg won over a number of doubters during his confirmation hearing this week. A vote on his nomination in the European Parliament will be held next week.


Low response to survey on future of Catholic schools

By Admin on 15th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Less than 40pc of parents have responded to a Department of Education pilot survey as to their preferred choice of patron for Catholic primary schools, new figures suggest. The online survey was carried out in Arklow, Castlebar, Tramore, Trim and Whitehall in Dublin. The actual results of the surveys will not be known until next week, the Irish Times reports.


Vatican reiterates support for man/woman marriage

By Admin on 14th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Vatican has reiterated its opposition to same-sex marriage, insisting that children should have a right to say they have a father and a mother. Speaking on Vatican Radio, the press secretary for Pope Benedict, Fr Federico Lombardi noted “a widespread tendency” in the West “to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union".


Row over Christmas tree in Brussels Grand Place

By Admin on 13th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A row has erupted in Brussels over whether plans to place a 25-metre ‘tree’ made from giant TV screens in the city's Grand Place is a deliberate snub to Christianity. City councilwoman Bianca Debaets attacked the decision to erect the new display saying it was motivated by a desire not to offend Muslims and was intended to replace the traditional Christmas tree.


Tanaiste wants same-sex marriage vote “as soon as possible”

By Admin on 13th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore (pictured), has said he would like to see a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage "as soon as possible". He said that the issue would be one of the first to be addressed by the Constitutional Convention, which is set to meet for the first time next month.


Family breakdown driving up number of children living with grandparents

By Admin on 12th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There has been a sharp rise in the number of children being raised by their grandparents in the US, new figures show. One of the causes is continued family breakdown. The figures, compiled by think tank, Child Trends, show that in the period 2005-2007 there were about 4.6 million children who lived in households headed by one or more grandparents, and by 2008-2010, this had risen to 5.2 million.


Effects of divorce on children ‘last into adulthood’

By Admin on 10th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The children of divorced parents can suffer the effects of the break-up well into their adult life, a new study has found. Family breakdown during childhood was “consistently associated with psychological distress in adulthood during people’s early 30s”, the study says.


Little interest in survey on changing school patronage

By Admin on 9th November 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice

The deadline for filling out Department of Education surveys being conducted in five areas to determine whether to transfer the patronage of primary schools from the Catholic Church to other patrons is midnight tonight. But according to a report on RTE Radio News, many parents in those areas are not aware of the survey, and only a fraction of those who were aware had completed the survey.


Catholic charity forced to end adoption service

By Admin on 9th November 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A Catholic charity that has helped tens of thousands of children through its adoption services since 1865 will no longer be able to offer that service due to its opposition to adoption by same-sex couples. The UK’s Upper Tribunal, the equivalent of the High Court in the administrative justice system, rejected an appeal by Catholic Care against a previous decision that found against it.


Government spending on referendum ‘unfair’ says Supreme Court

By Admin on 8th November 2012. ~ Categories:

Government spending of public money on an information campaign on the Children's Referendum was not fair, impartial or equal, the Supreme Court ruled today. The court held that the information in leaflets and on a website produced by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs did not conform to the required principles laid down by the McKenna judgment, which prohibits the use of public funds to promote a particular outcome in a referendum, according to RTE. The vote is set to go ahead this Saturday.


Narrow win for same-sex marriage in three states

By Admin on 8th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Three US states narrowly passed referenda in favour of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, while a fourth saw a measure defining marriage as being between a man and a woman defeated by a slender margin. The winning margin was an average of four points. They are the first states ever to vote for same-sex marriage. Campaigners for man/woman marriage were outspent by eight to one thanks to huge donations to the same-sex marriage side by a series of wealthy donors.


Convention on Constitution will have first meeting next month

By Admin on 7th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

The first meeting of the constitutional convention will take place on Saturday, December 1st, in Dublin Castle. The chairman of the convention, Tom Arnold, yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, The Irish Times reports. The Convention is set to look at a range of controversial issues, including proposals to amend the Constitution to allow for same-sex marriage.


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