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 [email protected] and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


‘Catholic schools have no right to promote Catholic sexual morality’

By Ben Conroy on 5th March 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Catholic schools are not entitled to promote Catholic views on sexuality, Dr Jacky Jones, formerly of the HSE, announced in The Irish Times on Monday. Where does one even begin?


How Ireland’s marriage rate has declined in the last 40 years

By David Quinn on 4th March 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In his column last week, Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times tried to argue that the institution of marriage has not declined at all in Ireland. His chief piece of evidence was that the number of marriages in Ireland has actually gone up compared with a few decades ago. He overlooked many countervailing facts including the huge increase in the number of births outside marriage, the huge increase in cohabitation and the large increase in divorce and separation. But even the marriage rate itself isn't as simple as it appears.


Why does chastity group provoke shock and awe?

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

The Catholic lay group Pure in Heart has been attracting criticism lately, some of which actually managed to mention them in the same breath as Holocaust deniers. The chief reason for the criticism is that they promote chastity. In his weekly column in The Irish Independent David Quinn defends Pure in Heart and specifically addresses criticism that what they teach is ‘offensive’ and ‘unrealistic’.


Do dads matter? Of course they do

By David Quinn on 26th February 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Do dads matter in the lives of their children? The authors of this article from The Atlantic are in no doubt that they do and that children often suffer when they don’t have a father who looks out for them. The authors draw on both evidence and stories to back up their argument. It’s a message that society badly needs to hear. In Ireland as in America, huge numbers of children are growing up without the benefit of a father.


Breda O’Brien discusses same-sex marriage etc with Marian Finucane

By David Quinn on 25th February 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Breda O'Brien was interviewed by Marian Finucane on her programme last Saturday about same-sex marriage and the 'homophobia'/RTE apology controversy. Breda discusses the implications of same-sex marriage for children's rights, and the personal impact of some of the hate mail she has received for her stance on the issue. The interview also discusses the work of The Iona Institute.


New poll reveals support for same-sex marriage is soft

By David Quinn on 12 Feb 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A new RTE/Sunday Business Post poll confirms the finding of an Irish Times opinion poll on same-sex marriage from a few months back, namely that support for the proposition stands in or around 75 percent. That’s a very big lead. However, this latest poll confirms what some commentators have suspected all along, namely that much of the support for it is soft.


Same-sex marriage and 'homophobia' on the BBC

By Ben Conroy on 19 February 2014. ~ Categories:

The debate about homophobia and same-sex marriage was the subject of an item on BBC World’s Have Your Say programme. Rory O’Neill took part in a discussion with Caroline Farrow of Catholic Voices and Brandon Ambrosino, a gay writer who supports gay marriage but, in his own words, wants to “open up the conversation. I think when we throw out a label like ‘homophobia’ we stop the discussion before we can even have it.”


Marriage in Ireland: a quick response to Fintan O’Toole

By David Quinn on 18th February 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In his latest opinion piece in The Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole takes issue with The Iona Institute’s thesis that marriage in Ireland is in decline. On the contrary, says O’Toole, marriage “has proven to be far more robust than either conservatives or radicals ever imagined.” Unfortunately, Fintan can only make such a broad claim by ignoring lots of statistical evidence to the contrary.


Breda O’Brien describes the personal impact of receiving hate mail

By David Quinn on 12th February 2014. ~ Categories:

Breda O'Brien was interviewed by Hugh Linehan today for the Irish Times' 'Inside Politics' podcast. She speaks in a very heartfelt way about the impact the vilification she has been subjected to by some people for disagreeing with same-sex marriage has had on her, as well as giving her thoughts on the whole controversy surrounding RTE's apology and 'homophobia'.


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.


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