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Being raised by married parents helps to protect children from the socio-emotional problems associated with poverty, the latest report from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study has found. The new report also finds that more families than ever are now economically vulnerable, mainly as the result of the recession.
Europe must recover its “vigour” and “idealism”, by renewing its commitment to human dignity, entering into “meaningful” and “open” dialogue with its religious traditions, and being unafraid to acknowledge its Christian history, Pope Francis has told the European Parliament. In a wide-ranging address that mixed praise for European institutions with strong criticism, the Pope echoed his predecessor Benedict XVI in arguing that Christianity’s role in promoting the centrality of the human person to the European ideal is not a relic of the past but a living reality
The National Centre for Medical Genetics stopped referring patients abroad for embryonic genetic screening in 2006 after receiving legal advice that the referrals could be unconstitutional. According to the Irish Times, staff at the Centre, which is based at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, had to cease direct referrals for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), after they were told that the procedure could be unconstitutional as it “inevitably and necessarily involves the destruction of human embryos”.
Oxford’s Christ Church College has voted to cancel an abortion debate organised by a pro-life student group, after a planned protest was said to threaten security. Christ Church College’s JCR, or student union, retracted permission to host the debate, which was due to feature journalists Tim Stanley and Brendan O’Neill speaking for and against the motion, “This House believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All”, claiming that a threatened protest from a Facebook group called "What the F**k is 'Abortion Culture’?" made the event a security risk.
Children have the right to grow up with a mother and a father, Pope Francis has told an interfaith conference on marriage held at the Vatican. “Family is an anthropological fact — a socially and culturally related fact,” the Pope said. “We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history. We can't think of conservative or progressive notions. Family is family.” “Marriage and family are in crisis,” he said, with the “culture of the temporary” dissuading people from making the “public commitment” of marriage.
The Church of England has warned of the potential for divisiveness in the drive for 'British values' in schools in that country. In an essay penned by the church's chief education officer, Nigel Genders, in response to Ministry of Education guidelines on imparting 'British values' to pupils, the church expresses concern that the move contains the danger of shifting towards testing if people are “safe” and “loyal” based on a narrow defintion of Britain's values.
“We've been liberated too much.” That is the assessment of Barbara Hulanicki, once a leading light of the fashion world of the so-called Swinging Sixties, who now argues that the sexual revolution sparked then has moved to worrying extremes over the intervening years.
Pope Francis will address a major interreligious conference on the place of man and woman in marriage next week. Beginning on Monday in the Vatican, the conference, Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage, will see the Pontiff address delegates from 23 countries and 14 faith traditions
An opinion poll has found that one out of ten British people think that elderly people should be offered a “reward” if they opt to end their own lives. But it also found that 58 per cent of the public think that it would be “impossible” to legalise assisted suicide in a way that would be completely safe from abuse by doctors or unscrupulous relatives.
Any change to the laws protecting the ethos of religious schools must take account of the wishes of parents, the head of the Catholic church's education body has warned. Fr Michael Drumm, head of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said that the government should “keep in mind that schools do not exist primarily to employ teachers but to assist parents in the education of their children.”
The State has won its appeal against a High Court ruling that the genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate should be registered as their legal mother on their birth certificates. The Court found that the birth mother should be presumed to be the legal mother, but that the legal status of surrogacy and the children born through it was ultimately a matter for the Oireachtas. In her ruling, Chief Justice Susan Denham held there was no definition of “mother” in the Constitution.
"We're continuing to hold to the stand that we took originally because we believe it's biblical, we believe it's what God would want us to do, and we also think that if we do cave in to the Equality Commission at this point it'll put pressure on other citizens who are defending their view of traditional marriage.” Asher's bakery is being supported in court case by the Christian Institute.
A bill definitively stating that abortion on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child is illegal has passed the House of Commons on a cross-party vote. According to the Daily Telegrahp, MPs voted 181 to 1 for a motion brought forward by Conservative MP Fiona Bruce in an effort to end uncertainty over whether doctors can be prosecuted for the practice. The bill will now have a second reading in January, but is unlikely to become law without getting government support and parliamentary time.
A sweeping new pro-family tax reform has been announced by the Canadian government. It has promised to allow “income-splitting” for tax purposes. This will help families where one spouse earns all or most of the income. The change, which comes as part of a package of pro-family tax and benefit policies, was a key election promise of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. The Government is also boosting Canada's child benefit payments — $160 a month for children under six, up from $100, plus a new monthly benefit of $60 for children aged six through 17 which will replace a less generous tax credit.
A new report into applications for children to be taken into State care in the Republic of Ireland has found that in seven in ten of the cases examined, the children involved were being raised by single parents at the time of the Child and Family Agency taking them into care. The Second Interim Report of the Child Care Law Reporting Project examined 486 childcases between September 2013 and July this year, involving 864 children, or just over 20% of all children in court-ordered care.
Pope Francis has warned against marriage being reduced to “mere association”, and said that there is a “crisis” in the family, which is being “beat up from all sides.” Speaking to members of an international Marian movement, the Pope said, “The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardised."
Seven different churches compelled to cover elective abortions via their health insurance plans are suing California Governor Jerry Brown's administration, with assistance from Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defence Foundation. In August, after two Catholic universities refused to offer abortion coverage in their employee insurance plans, California's Department of Managed Healthcare issued letters saying that refusing to pay for any abortion, whether medically necessary or not, would be a violation of the state constitution, and of a 1975 law.
Providing free nursery care to three-year-olds has only temporary effects on children's development and educational performance, with most of the advantages disappearing by the time a child reaches the age of 11, according to a new study. Research presented to the House of Lords by the Institute of Education and the universities of Surrey and Essex found the policy had a “small beneficial impact” on children at age five, but the size of the effect then declined as the children got older before disappearing, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Doctors and nurses in the UK who assist someone in taking their own lives will be less likely to face criminal charges after a change in prosecution guidelines, the Daily Telegraph reports. Until now all health care professionals faced a greater chance than others of being prosecuted for helping people to die because they were considered to be in a position of trust. But Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosectutions, changed the guidelines so that the extra deterrent would only apply to doctors "directly involved with a patient's care."
Egg and sperm donation should become “as obvious as blood donation”, the chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK, despite the thousands of donor-conceived children who believe they suffered a loss from not knowing their biological parents. The Daily Telegraph reports that Lisa Jardine said clinics should “improve their customer service”. "We think some patients in centres are not being encouraged that they might donate. We have some evidence, somewhat anecdotal, that donors are not particularly welcomed at clinics. Clinics are more and more busy and donors are [treated as] a sort of side issue."
Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, has said that he has no intention of reversing tax individualisation. This is despite opposing it when it was introduced by Charlie McCreevy in Budget 2000. Speaking on Today With Sean O'Rourke, Mr Noonan said in response to a caller's question that individualisation was now a key part of the tax system, and that he would not be repealing it. He also ignored a question from Sean O'Rourke about taking measures to lessen the burden of individualisation on families where one parent works in the home.
Catholic schools must be “robust, unapologetic, and committed to their mission”, the educational office of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said. The Catholic Schools Partnership's new document Catholic Education at Second-level in the Republic of Ireland: Looking to the Future, has also pointed out that religious and other voluntary secondary schools are under-funded compared to VEC and other schools.
French Socialist Prime Minister, Manuel Valls has said that surrogate motherhood “is and will be banned in France” because it is “an intolerable commercialisation of human beings and commodification of women’s bodies”. His promise was made as hundreds of thousands of people marched in Paris and Bordeaux last weekend calling on the French government to keep surrogacy illegal, to ban assisted human reproduction in cases where it would leave children without a father or a mother, and to protest “anti-family” cuts to child benefit payments and parental leave.
Third level institutions in Ireland are becoming increasing intolerant of those who “dissent from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy”, a former chaplain of University College Cork has warned. According to The Irish Catholic, Fr David Barrins expressed particular concerns about UCC, saying that “there is a growing intolerance in the Students Union and the student body to student views that are pro-life or Catholic.”
A white woman is suing a Chicago sperm bank after she claims she was mistakenly sent a black man's sperm, and gave birth to a mixed-race daughter. She claims that while she loves her now 2-year-old daughter, it is extremely difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise her because of her “limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans.” According to the Chicago Tribune, Jennifer Cramblett, who lives in a small town in Ohio, is suing Midwest Sperm bank for wrongful birth and breach of warranty, citing the emotional and economic losses she has suffered.
The Chairman of the Catholic Schools Partnership (CSP) has warned that the Catholic Church in Ireland could mount a constitutional challenge to any attempt to strip schools of the right to defend their religious ethos. The Irish Catholic reports that Fr Michael Drumm, a leading figure in recent discussions over religious education, ethos and school patronage, said that any attempt to repeal Section 37 of the Employent Equality Act would be “unconstitutional.”
A new organisation called ‘Mothers and Fathers Matter’ was launched yesterday, with its Chairman saying that its purpose was to draw attention to the anti-child nature of the Children and Family Relationships Bill in its present form. Mothers and Fathers Matter Chairman, Professor Ray Kinsella of UCD, said: “We believe this legislation seriously undermines the rights of children. It is extraordinary that a Government, which professes to be pro-child, would seek to push legislation through the Dail that treats the natural tie, and by extension the complementarity of motherhood and fatherhood, in such a dismissive fashion.’’
The Court of Cassation, France's highest court of civil and criminal law, has ruled that same-sex couples can jointly adopt the biological children of one of the partners, even when they are conceived abroad through sperm donation. The court held that both partners should have joint parental rights to a child conceived through IVF "since the legal requirements for adoption are met and it is in the interest of the child."
Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, has scrapped a planned move to tighten Spain's abortion laws, abandoning a much-repeated campaign promise. Spain's Minister for Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, the proposal’s main proponent, resigned from politics after hearing about Mr Rajoy's reversal. “I believe it is my duty to resign with humility, recognising that I have not been able to turn the reversal law into law,” Gallardon said, according to InfoCatolica.
A state-funded ethics committee which advises the German government on social policy has recommended that laws criminalising incest be scrapped, the Telegraph reports. “Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo,” the German Ethics Council said in a statement. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.”
The Minister for Education, Jan O'Sullivan is seeking to amend Rule 68, the regulation which allows primary schools to have their religious ethos integrated with the teaching of the other subjects. The Department of Education said that Minister O'Sullivan believes “the language and tone of Rule 68 is archaic and doesn't reflect the reality of today's primary educations sector.” However, she stopped short of calling for the deletion of the article, as called for by the Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO) and an advisory group to the 2012 Forum on Patronage and Pluralism.
A growing share of the American public (49 percent) believe churches and other religious groups should “express their views on day-to-day social and political issues”. This is up from a low of 40% in 2012. The poll from Pew Research also shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing influence in American life. Seventy-two percent said that they believed this to be so, up 5 percentage points from 2010 and 20 points from the first poll conducted in 2002.
A decision by Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) to ban the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) from setting up a pro-life stand at their fresher's fair has been attacked by a leading barrister specialising in religious freedom. A “fresher’s fair” is where various student bodies invite first year students to join their societies. According to the Catholic Herald, Neil Addison, National Director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said: “I hope SPUC sue DUSA and certainly if any student union in England or Wales attempts to copy DUSA, the Thomas More Legal Centre will not hesitate to take legal action against them.”
Tens of thousands of pro-life demonstration took place in Madrid at the weekend calling on the Spanish government to keep its pledge to pass more restrictive abortion laws, after rumours emerged that the conservative People's Party (PP) was planning to shelve its abortion bill. Last week, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was considering backing away from plans to tighten Spain's abortion laws in the aftermath of poor results for the PP in the European elections.
A convicted murderer and rapist is to be euthanised in Belgium at his own request, in the country's latest controversy related to assisted dying. The Irish Independent reports that Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has spent the last 30 years in prison for repeated convictions, has requested for three years that the state help him end his life due to what his lawyer called “unbearable psychic suffering”.
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