The Iona Blog

Opinions contained in The Iona Blog are not necessarily those of The Iona Institute. The Iona Blog is open to anyone who broadly shares the views of The Iona Institute. If you wish to post a comment on a relevant topic please email 200 – 400 words to and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


Timothy Radcliffe sets the right tone on same-sex marriage

By David Quinn on 11th February 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Dominican Timothy Radcliffe would be no-one’s idea of a ‘conservative’ in theological terms or any other terms for that matter. In a very interesting blog on the issue of same-sex marriage that he wrote for the Guardian newspaper he welcomed “the wave of support for same-sex marriage”, but at the same time reaffirms marriage as we have it on the grounds that it celebrates real difference.


The debate about homophobia progresses

By Ben Conroy on 7th February 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A few interesting developments in the ongoing debate about the uses and misuses of the word ‘homophobia’: First, Paddy Manning and our director David Quinn were on Prime Time opposite Senator Ivana Bacik and Brian Finnegan. Link here. For what it's worth, both Bacik and Finnegan agreed that opposition to gay marriage was not automatically homophobic.


The meaning of homophobia discussed on Tonight with Vincent Browne

By Ben Conroy on 5th February 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Tuesday night’s episode of Tonight with Vincent Browne featured Kevin Brophy, the solicitor who represented The Iona Institute in our dispute with RTE, and Paddy Manning, a gay man who opposes gay marriage, discussing the use of the word ‘homophobia’.


George Hook calls it right on free speech in ‘homophobia’ debate

By Ben Conroy on 4th February 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

On yesterday's edition of Newstalk's The Right Hook programme, George Hook won a victory for common sense, and for the real meaning of free speech. He told Senator Ivana Bacik that "If someone called me homophobic on television, I'd sue his ass off!"


Can we have a civil debate on same-sex marriage please?

By Ben Conroy on 31 January 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In his column in The Irish Independent, David Quinn details some of the abusive and threatening emails received in the past fortnight by The Iona Institute and calls for a civil debate on same-sex marriage.


Ruairi Quinn’s flawed vision of a ‘neutral’ education system

By Ben Conroy on 28th January 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Minister Quinn wants faith schools to be more 'neutral'. But Irish education is built around the wishes of parents not the State.


RTE apologises to Iona Institute for 'homophobia' remark

By David Quinn on 28th January 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

On the Saturday Night Show last weekend, presenter Brendan O’Connor read out an apology to Breda O’Brien, The Iona Institute, and writer and broadcaster John Waters after a guest a fortnight before had accused all of the aforementioned parties of being ‘homophobic’


Remembering Tom O'Gorman

By David Quinn on 13 January 2014. ~ Categories: Other

The brutal death of Tom O'Gorman has been in the headlines since news of what happened to him broke. Tom worked at The Iona Institute since its launch seven years ago this month. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at The Iona Institute are with Tom's family and friends. David Quinn, director of The Iona Institute, remembers his friend and colleague in the following short tribute piece.


The real threat to religious freedom

By Tom O'Gorman on 10th January 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Carissa Mulder, writing on the Public Discourse blog, has an interesting analysis of the contemporary threats to religious freedom. Mulder points out that, for most pundits interested in the subject, it appears that the homosexual lobby has posed the biggest threat to religious freedom.


Do government programmes that promote marriage actually work?

By Tom O'Gorman on 7th January 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Do government programmes promoting marriage actually do any good, and specifically do they help to reduce poverty? A new study seems to indicate the answer is ‘no’, and if that is so then pro-marriage programmes lose much of their justification. However, Professor Brad Wilcox in this blog challenges the study.


Who is happier: conservative women or liberal men?

By David Quinn on 2 Jan 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

There is a growing body of research into the causes of happiness as this article from The New York Times points out. The research is allowing us to pinpoint what makes us happy and who is most likely to be happy. It appears that conservative women are most happy and liberal men are least happy.


Do daughters make parents more conservative?

By Tom O'Gorman on 23 December 2013. ~ Categories: Other

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has an interesting piece about new research which suggests that parents with daughters are more likely to be conservative. Douthat believes that what might be driving this is the increased awareness that the culture which promotes commitment-free sex is damaging women more than men.


A definition of marriage that sounds like a business partnership

By David Quinn on 19 December 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Last week the Australian High Court struck down a law in the Australian Capital Territory permitting same-sex marriage. It was a good decision, but with a considerable sting in the tail. It offered a definition of marriage that allows the Federal Parliament to define marriage in practically anyway at all.


Major new report shows RE not dragging down results in Irish schools

By John McBride on 16 Dec 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Earlier this month saw the publication of the PISA results by the OECD. These measure the performance of 15-year-old school pupils in reading, mathematics and science. The results badly weaken the case of those who say the teaching of religion in our schools is dragging down academic standards because Ireland ranks well in the tables.


A jolting display of anti-Catholic hatred in Argentina

By David Quinn on December 13, 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Unnoticed and unreported by most of the world’s media, on November 24 a group of several thousand pro-choice demonstrators decided to descend on the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista in the city of San Juan, Argentina. What resulted is deeply disturbing to put it at its very mildest.


How chastity became a controversial ‘lifestyle choice’

By David Quinn on 12th December 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Pure in Heart is a Catholic organisation devoted to promoting chastity in schools. Among other things, this means waiting until you are married before you have sex. Needless to say, a lot of people today don’t like this message but this doesn’t mean Pure in Heart don’t have a right to teach it. However, some people seem to think otherwise.


Time we got serious about sex education

By Tom O'Gorman on 10th December 2013. ~ Categories: Other

Are some in the media beginning to understand that the sexual revolution isn't an unalloyed good? Today's Irish Independent ran a column by Sinead Moriarty suggesting that rising levels of STIs, abortion and depression among young people means we should look again at what our culture is telling young people about sex.


Case poses disturbing questions about power of local authorities

By Tom O'Gorman on 6th December 2013. ~ Categories: Other

John Waters has written an excellent piece in the Irish Times about the disturbing case of an Italian woman who was forced to undergo a Caesarian section and had her child forcibly removed and given up for adoption against her will. He writes: “A pregnant woman, who travels from one European country to another to undertake a training course, seeks help for a medical difficulty and wakes up in a hospital bed to find her baby girl has been removed by Caesarean section and taken into care.


The views of a man raised by a lesbian couple on gay adoption

By David Quinn on 4th December 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Marc Coleman had two interesting guests on his show on Sunday night arguing against gay adoption. One was Kate Bopp, a blogger who was also on Prime Time last week about the same issue. The other was Robert Oscar Lopez, a lecturer in English in the US who was raised by a lesbian couples and who very strongly believes in the right of children to be raised by a mother and father whenever possible.


UK Supreme Court ruling "draconian" says blogger

By Tom O'Gorman on 2nd December 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Earlier this week, the UK Supreme Court ruled that a Christian couple, Peter and Hazelmary Bull running a bed and breakfast were not entitled to deny a gay couple the use of a double room because such an action amounted to discrimination.


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