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.


The ever more elastic grounds for abortion and euthanasia

By Tom O'Gorman on 8th October 2013. ~ Categories: Other

When abortion and euthanasia are first introduced in a given country, we are usually told that the grounds on which they can take place are very limited. But over time those grounds become ever more elastic. For example, earlier this year the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute doctors who performed sex selective abortions.


We should value marriage if we value fatherhood

By Admin on 5th October 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

This week the CSO issued a report on marriage in Ireland. One fact it revealed is that the rate of marriage in Ireland wasa very low 4.3 people per thousand in 2011. In his column in The Irish Independent this week, David Quinn says this is just one more piece of evidence showing how marriage in Ireland is weakening of marriage.


How a strong pro-life ethos saves both the mother and her child

By David Quinn on 3rd October 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Reacting to the decision by the Mater to comply with our new abortion law, a nurse tutor at the hospital, Sr Eugene Nolan, made a very interesting comment that reveals the contrast between a pro-life hospital and one that is not.


Why do same-sex and opposite sex couples settle down ten years apart?

By David Quinn on 1st October 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

It’s interesting that in most jurisdictions that have introduced same-sex civil partnerships/marriage it is most men who avail of them at first. I wonder why that is. More interesting, however, is the average age of those entering civil partnerships. New CSO data tell us it is in the mid-forties.


The Mater should have stood up to the State’s bullying tactics

By Admin on 28th September 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Officially at least, the Mater hospital has decided to comply with the new abortion law. This means we now have two Catholic hospitals in Ireland - the other one being St Vincent’s – that have raised no ethical objection to carrying out abortions on certain grounds.


‘A good Catholic meddles in politics’ says Pope Francis

By Admin on 27th September 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

One would think from much of the media coverage of the Pope’s big interview that he was telling Catholics to take a step back from politics and pro-life and family issues most of all. What received far less coverage were remarks he made a few days earlier that Catholics ought to “meddle” in politics.


Department of Education targets ethos of Catholic schools yet again

By David Quinn on 24th September 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Department of Education have launched a consultation process to ascertain the views of parents as to how Catholic schools, when they are the only one in a given area, should become more ‘inclusive’ towards children from other religions and none. A leaflet will be sent to parents and it draws on the recommendations, published last year, by the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism.


A breakthrough as an official Irish report acknowledges the importance of family structure

By Tom O'Gorman on 21st September 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The new Growing Up in Ireland study, published yesterday, acknowledges the importance of family structure and cites research that saying having two parent is generally better than one. Given the huge reluctance on the part of ‘official Ireland’ to ever own up to this research, this has to count as something of a breakthrough.


Same-sex marriage leaves Australian voters cold

By Tom O'Gorman on 19th September 2013 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Australia recently recently threw the Labour party out of office after six years in government. One of the major planks of Labour's election campaign was a promise by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to legalise same-sex marriage. It got him precisely nowhere. According to the blog, Mercatornet, “[Rudd] pushed it all the way to election eve and the issue received prominent and overwhelmingly positive media coverage”.


Til Faith Do Us Part: What happens to interfaith marriages?

By David Quinn on 17th September 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

What happens when you marry outside your belief system, whether that be a religious belief system or a secular belief system? The answer, frequently, is trouble as ‘Till Faith Do Us Part’, a new book by Naomi Schaefer Riley from Oxford University Press makes clear.


Even the UN thinks family structure affects children

By Tom O'Gorman on 14th September 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Last week, the Iona Institute released a report detailing the extent of marital breakdown and the proliferation of new family forms in Ireland, including a surge in the number of children raised by lone parents. Iona Institute representatives debated this issue on a number of programmes and came up against a flat-out denial that there is any disadvantage attached to being raised by one parent. A UN report issued in 2007 has a different view.


If the natural ties don’t matter then why was this decision made?

By David Quinn on 12th September 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Other

Gay couple David Tutera and Ryan Jurica have gone their separate way just months after taking delivery of half-twins via a surrogate mother. Tutera is biologically the father of one child and Jurica is father of the other child. Advocates of sperm and egg donation and surrogate motherhood constantly tell us that the biological tie doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, the court granted each one custody of their own biological child.


As individualism takes hold, marriage and religion decline

By Tom O'Gorman on 10th September 2013 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

The British Social Attitudes survey, which has been running annually for 30 years now, was published yesterday and showed that, over the course of those 30 years, there has been a steep decline in the numbers who think marriage is important for raising children and those who identify as religious. The numbers aren't really surprising. Still, it raises the question; is the collapse in religious affiliation and the collapse in the family linked and do they have the same cause?


Refusing to see rising marital breakdown as a problem

By David Quinn on 6th September 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

This week The Iona Institute launched a new report called Marriage Breakdown and Family Structure in Ireland. The headline figure is that divorce and separation in Ireland has risen sixfold since 1968. As at Census 2011, almost 250,000 Irish adults were separated or divorced. I appeared on a number of shows to discuss the report as did Professor Patricia Casey. It’s a pity we didn’t know at the time about a programme that was broadcast in BBC2 last night called ‘Mum and Dad Are Splitting Up’.


Intolerance the hallmark of secular campaign against faith schools

By Admin on 3rd September 2013. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The trend towards removing every last trace of religion from the public square continues apace across the Western world. In a blog for the Telegraph website, Brendan O'Neill (pictured) says that the hallmark of this trend is secular liberal intolerance. He writes: "If you want to see what intolerance means, look no further than the current campaign against faith schools."


The religious underpinning of Martin Luther King’s dream

By Admin on 31st September 2013. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

This week the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ageless ‘I have a dream’ speech took place. Much of the commentary has ignored the fact that Dr King was a Baptist pastor that his vision, and his vision of justice specifically, had a deeply religious underpinning. As David Quinn argues in his column in The Irish Independent this week, without that vision, his speech cannot be properly understood.


Why family policy in the Soviet Union seems uncomfortably familiar

By David Quinn on 29th August 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education

It’s interesting to read about the policy of the early Soviet state towards the family and to compare it with policies gaining increasing influence in the West today including in Ireland. They are rather too similar for comfort. Essentially, both sets of policies have the effect of making the State far more powerful and the family far less autonomous.


Time for the West to recognise the plight of persecuted Christians

By Admin on 27th August 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Recent coverage of the crisis unfolding in Egypt has finally focused attention on the plight of Coptic Christians in that country. But, as this article by David Quinn argues, we in the West ought to be far more aware of the fate of persecuted Christians across the globe.


Girl Guides the latest scalp claimed by ideology of individualism

By David Quinn on 23rd August 2013. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

In an effort to be more ‘inclusive’ the Girl Guides in Britain have dropped references to ‘God’ and ‘country’ from their pledge. Guides now pledge instead to “be true to myself” and to “develop my beliefs”. This is almost beyond parody. Essentially, instead of the pledge being focussed on something external, it is now focussed purely on the individual member and their feelings and personal beliefs. It’s the ‘me generation’ yet again.


Why and how fathers make a difference

By Tom O'Gorman on 20th August 2013. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Are dads (and men) redundant? The increasing trend towards single motherhood (single fathers head only a tiny fraction of families) and best-selling books like Hanna Rosin's The End of Men would have you believe so. Common sense says different of course. For a start, it should be obvious that when it comes to something as tricky as parenting, two is better than one, men are different from women and mothers are different from fathers.


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