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.


Cardinal Dolan on what the US election meant for Catholic issues

By Tom O'Gorman on 21st November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

How did the US election go from a Catholic point of view, not just the general election, but the various ballots as well? In the three states where same-sex marriage was on the ballot, Maine, Maryland and Washington, it triumphed, for the first time ever. There was a ballot in Massachusetts in favour of ‘assisted suicide’ and it lost.


Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth atheism

By David Quinn on Nov 18 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Other

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland had an article in The Irish Times on Friday called ‘Myths about atheism obscure its secular values’. It was a highly sanitised presentation of atheism, what we might call ‘butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth’ atheism.


Transsexual rights: does the Government know what it is getting into?

By Tom O'Gorman on 16th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Last month, the youngest ever man to have a ‘gender reassignment’ operation in the UK decided he wanted the procedure reversed. The 18-year-old, who was formerly known as Brad Cooper, and now known as Ria, had been having hormone injections to make him look like a woman.


It’s because you’re a housewife that your child is autistic?

By David Quinn on 14th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Victoria White had a very interesting piece in The Evening Herald on Monday explaining why she voted against the children’s rights referendum even though she had fully intended voting in favour. In the end she voted against it because of her direct experience of social workers.


How tax individualisation is even less fair in a recession

By Ruth Foley on 12 Nov 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

During the boom efforts were made to encourage as many women to work as possible. The tax laws designed to achieve this are still in place and now, because of the recession, are more wasteful and inappropriate than ever. I am writing about tax individualisation and how it favours dual income families over one-income families.


On the children’s rights referendum

By David Quinn on 9th November 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Tomorrow the country goes to the polls to vote on the proposed amendment to the Constitution. My personal opinion is that the stakes are not as high as either side is claiming. I believe the potential harm or good that Article 42A can do is limited.


Gloating and panicking after the Obama victory

By David Quinn on 8th November 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There has been plenty of gloating on the part of some Barack Obama supporters after his narrow win on Tuesday, and lots of self-flagellation and, frankly, panicking among Republican supporters. It calls to mind Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army fame (Clive Dunne (pictured) who played him died at age 92 yesterday. RIP). Some people are saying the Republican party has to ditch social conservatism, which is to say its support for unborn children and the family based on marriage, if it is to regain the White House.


The US election and what the marriage gap reveals

By David Quinn on 5 Nov 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There is a marriage gap in US politics. Married women are more likely to vote Republican and single women are more likely to vote Democrat. Eleanor Clift, a Democrat supporter, draws attention to this fact in an article in The Daily Beast, but ironically in a manner which shows life has gone dramatically backwards for many women in America today.


Does the children’s amendment shift too much power to the State?

By David Quinn on Nov 2, 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Here is the key question concerning the children’s rights referendum; if passed will it make it too easy for the State to decide what is in a child’s ‘best interests’ and thereby allow the State to override parents in wide-ranging circumstances? A seminar in Trinity College Dublin last night considered this very thing.


Is Sweden really Nirvana for working mothers?

By David Quinn on October 30 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

We’re accustomed to hearing Sweden is Nirvana for women, especially working women. In part this is because it has heavily subsidised, universal day-care. However, new data shows that Swedish mothers are more likely than their counterparts in other developed countries to claim disability benefits. So things are not as rosy as they seem on the surface.


Is there really no way to shield your children from porn?

By David Quinn on 27 Oct 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

New research shows that the vast majority of teenagers watch porn, especially boys, and children as young as 11 are addicted to it. Writing in The Daily Telegraph today Jemima Lewis argues that there is no way to shield your children from porn. She’s only half-right in my view.


Joe Biden’s blatant double standard

By David Quinn on 23rd October 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

US Vice-President Joe Biden (pictured) is another of those Catholic politicians who likes to say, ‘I’m pro-life, but’. What he means is, ‘I’m pro-life but I wouldn’t dream of imposing my views on anyone who disagrees with me’. However, when it comes to values he really holds dear, the Veep takes a different approach entirely.


When if ever should same-sex couples be allowed to adopt?

By David Quinn on Oct 19, 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A court in Northern Ireland has ruled in favour of unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples being able to adopt children. I was asked by the Breakfast Show on Newstalk about the ruling. Labour TD, Anne Ferris was also on the show.


Why Richard Dawkins can’t claim all the religiously unaffiliated

By David Quinn on 2010. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

The number of people in Western countries, including Ireland, who say they belong to no religion is on the increase. Census 2011 showed that almost six percent of Irish people say they belong to no religion, while a new poll in the US puts the figure at one in five. But can Richard Dawkins (pictured) and other atheists claim all these people for their camp? The short answer is, absolutely not.


Mum, dad and the kids hit hardest by the recession

By David Quinn on October 12, 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

New figures from the CSO show that one household type, and one only, has suffered an overall loss in gross income in the years between 2005 and 2010, and that was households consisting of mothers and fathers with one to three children. The Government must take care not to hit them hard again.


An argument and some questions for Mary McAleese to consider

By David Quinn on 9th October 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

One of the best philosophers working in Canada today is Margaret Somerville. She has devoted a lot of her energies to examining the ethics of assisted human reproduction and as a natural extension of this has been examining the issue of same-sex marriage, which she opposes. Why does it make sense to extend your ethical framework from assisted human reproduction to same-sex marriage? The reason is that both attack the central importance to children of the natural ties and of motherhood and fatherhood.


What is the liberal argument against multi-partner marriage?

By Tom O'Gorman on 5th October 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Professor John Haldane, during his talk to the Iona Institute, stated that sexual relations in modern societies were “governed by two principles; the principle of sexual attraction and the principle of sentiment”. He said: “The argument that has evolved from that is very simple. It’s just this: that sexual attraction and love are the determinates of human happiness and should be consummated where sincerely and consensually felt.”


Is opposition to divorce the same as opposition to same-sex marriage?

By Tom O'Gorman on 2nd October 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

During the debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly this week over same-sex marriage, it was suggested that legalising gay marriage could threaten the freedom of Catholic schools to teach the traditional view of marriage. However, Conall McDevitt of the SDLP scoffed at this idea. He asked “Are Catholic schools teaching children about divorce?”


Dáil debate on children's rights referendum clichéd and ill-informed

By Tom O'Gorman on 1st October 2012. ~ Categories: Other

The Dáil debate on the Government's children's rights referendum has, sadly, generated precious little light. It was, instead, full of clichés. Instead of a nuanced discussion of the finer points of the wording itself, the debate (and that word is used very loosely in this context) rehashed a series of unfortunate misapprehensions about what the children’s rights referendum will actually solve.


Adoption, Vincent Browne and the best interests of children

By David Quinn on 27th September 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In his weekly column in The Irish Times Vincent Browne complains that the proposed children’s rights amendment (CRA) doesn’t go far enough. For example, he maintains that even if passed it will still be too difficult to adopt children in foster care because it will still give too many rights to the natural parents.


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