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.


How to beat poverty: promote marriage and religion

By Tom O'Gorman on 25th July 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A new study, reported in the New York Times, confirms that children who grow up in areas with higher than average levels of marriage and higher than average levels of religious practice are more likely to be upwardly mobile in later life. According to the study, some of the favoured ways of tackling poverty such as larger tax credits for the poor and higher taxes on the affluent seem to improve income mobility only slightly.


Between two worlds: children of divorce tell their stories

By David Quinn on 23rd July 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Elizabeth Marquadt is the author of ‘Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce’. Elizabeth herself is a child of divorce and grew up shuttling back and forth between the two houses of her divorced parents. This is the experience of many children of divorce. Now a brand new blog has been established by the Ruth Institute called simply, ‘Divorce Stories’ which bears out that these children do indeed live 'between two worlds'.


It's worse than you thought. Welcome to the hook up culture.

By Tom O'Gorman on 19th July 2013. ~ Categories: Other

Just when you thought that the culture couldn't get any more sordid, you read a piece that makes you realise that things are a lot worse. This New York Times article explains that not only are US college students not waiting until marriage to have sex, or even waiting for Mr or Mrs Right, they aren't even waiting for a relationship of any description. Welcome to the hook-up culture.


Lucinda warns that "group think" is dangerous for democracy

By Tom O'Gorman on 16th July 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Lucinda Creighton's principled stand against her own Government's abortion Bill was widely seen as an act of rare political courage, even by some who disagreed with her position. Some have suggested that not only was she sacrificing her job as Minister for Europe, but a promising future in politics.


How voters were duped into accepting the X Case

By David Quinn on 12th July 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion,Other

My latest column in The Irish Independent explains how Irish voters were manipulated into supporting abortion legislation by poor reporting, twisted media coverage of the medical facts and the bullying tactics employed by Fine Gael towards its own TDs. However, the passage of this Bill is by no means the end of the story. There is the prospect now of another party, plus the pro-life movement will do its best to ensure its own supporters do not forgot what has happened.


Lucinda Creighton's latest speech on the Abortion Bill

By Tom O'Gorman on 11th July 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion,Other

In last night's marathon debate on the Government's Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, Lucinda Creighton gave one of the most thoughtful and thorough speeches. She provided an in depth analysis of the medical and legal flaws in the Bill.


Kenny is creating the perfect circumstances for a new party

By Tom O'Gorman on 9th July 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Presumably Enda Kenny does not want to create a political party to rival Fine Gael. But if he did, he couldn't do better than the job he's doing now. We learned this weekend that not only did Mr Kenny make an electoral promise to protect Ireland's pro-life laws, they actively courted the pro-life movement in advance of the last General Election.


What Lucinda Creighton said about the abortion Bill

By David Quinn on 2010. ~ Categories: Other

On Monday, all eyes in the Dail were on Lucinda Creighton in anticipation of what she would have to say on the issue of the abortion Bill. She did not disappoint those who hoped she would express her opposition to the Bill.


The Atheist Magisterium turns on a fellow atheist

By David Quinn on 2nd July 2013. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

One of America’s most noted philosophers is Thomas Nagel of New York University. Nagel is an atheist, but lately he has set a very large cat among his fellow atheists by dissenting from their reductionist, materialist doctrine which, among other things, denies the existence of free will. He did it with his latest book, a slim volume called ‘Mind and Cosmos: Why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost false’.


Incoherence and illogic in the Dail abortion debate

By David Quinn on 29th June 2013. ~ Categories: Other

I’ve been reading some of the contributions made in the Dail so far as part of the debate on the abortion Bill. Several stand out for all the wrong reasons. The worst I’ve come across so far is from Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn. He told the House, “this Bill, when enacted, will still not be compulsory”.


After Prime Time: what childcare is best for children?

By Tom O'Gorman on 27th June 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

On Tuesday The Iona Institute held a conference on child-care prompted by the recent Prime Time programme on this topic. The keynote speaker was Jonas Himmelstrand, a critic of the Swedish daycare system. He was interviewed by Drivetime on Monday. The next day, Drivetime interviewed a number of participants at the conference to give a flavor of the event.


Children the main victims of liberal individualism

By David Quinn on 25th June 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Writing in today’s Irish Times (Letters) psychotherapist Joseph Flanagan indulges in the by now semi-obligatory go at the Catholic Church. The context is the current abortion debate. He accuses the Church of trying to “control this nation’s moral judgement” and of being “hysterical” in its reaction to the abortion bill. He brings up the issue of clerical sex abuse for good measure.


Two more cases attack religious freedom

By Tom O'Gorman on 22nd June 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Last week, two cases emerged in the UK which highlighted the continuing assault on religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The Greater Glasgow and Clyde section of the NHS announced that it is to appeal Scotland’s supreme civil court ruling that two Catholic nurses would not have to delegate, supervise or support staff involved in abortions.


Stephen Collins has it all wrong about Daniel O'Connell

By David Quinn on 20th June 2013. ~ Categories:

Stephen Collins, the respected political editor of The Irish Times, has a real bee in his bonnet about the Church’s interventions in the abortion debate. A few months ago he suggested that the bishops’ interventions were practically subversive and the Government had to resist at all costs in the name of democracy. Now he is saying that in publishing the abortion bill the Government has finally realised Daniel O’Connell’s dream of separating Church and State.


The Village applies the logic of egalitarianism to marriage

By David Quinn on 18th June 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

We have argued for a long time that the logic of egalitarianism when applied to marriage leads inexorably to it being stripped of special status entirely. The Village magazine agrees. It doesn’t think marriage should have special status. For sure, it believes that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, but it believes no special privileges should attach to marriage because that would treat other family types less equally.


Chief Rabbi exposes the intellectual shallowness of the new atheists

By Tom O'Gorman on 15th June 2013. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

The last decade has seen a surge in fashionable atheism, led by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. But in this piece in the Spectator, the UK's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, tackles their intellectual superficiality. He makes the point that the New Atheists have been lamentably weak at facing up to the ethical and moral implications of their atheism.


Work in the home undervalued by society-and the State

By Tom O'Gorman on 11th June 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

According to a survey in the Irish Times, fully 43pc of women feel that society values women who are in paid employment over women who work in the home. A piece in today's Irish Times nicely captures that sense of being undervalued.


Irish Government prepares another assault on the rights of children

By Tom O'Gorman on 10th June 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Irish Government seems intent on denying the importance of the biological tie between parent and child. Ultimately this is an attack on the right of a child to know and be raised, where possible, by their natural parents. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Government plans to introduce surrogacy legislation which will deny this right.


Another flawed study of same-sex families receives uncritical adulation

By David Quinn on June 7 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A new study has just been published in Australia about children raised by families in which at least one parent has a same-sex attraction. The study seems to ‘prove’ that children raised in such families do at least as well as children raised by heterosexual parents. Needless to say, the study proves no such thing.


The rise of women as the primary bread-winner: what it says

By David Quinn on 4th June 2013. ~ Categories:

The Pew Research Centre in the US has produced a new headline grabbing study which says that in 40pc of American households, the woman is the main breadwinner. At face value that figure of 40pc seems to indicate that a huge social revolution is taking place in family life and that is indeed the case, but it is not the revolution that the figure might at first indicate.


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