News Roundup

Midwives chief insists ‘abortion never wrong’

The head of Britain’s Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said that abortion can never be viewed as wrong and rights for the unborn should hold no weight in the issue. Cathy Warwick made her comments after calls for her dismissal when it emerged she had attempted to link the RCM with a campaign to have abortion up to birth legalised. As well as her leadership of the RCM, Warwick is chair of BPAS, Britain’s largest abortion provider.
Read more...

UNICEF presses Canada for euthanasia for children

UNICEF has called on Canada to include euthanasia for children as part of its roll-out of assisted suicide legislation. Under UNICEF’s proposal, minors, including those who suffer non-terminal illnesses or disability, would be afforded the choice to end their lives. The call comes despite UNICEF’s stated claim that “there’s no limit to the lengths UNICEF will go, the risks we’ll take or the depth of our commitment to save children’s lives. We are committed to take action, save, rehabilitate and watch over children, with a special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded groups.”
Read more...

Irish Bishops call for active participation in World Meeting of Families

 The Irish Bishops have called on families in Ireland to prepare for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018. Welcoming the announcement of ‘The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World’ as the theme for the event, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, said on behalf of the Bishops: “It is my hope that families in every parish in the country will be able to participate in the preparation for the World Meeting, and that many families will take part in the various events being planned for late summer 2018.  The World Meeting provides the perfect context for us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family in the life of the Church and in Irish society… The World Meeting provides an opportunity to affirm their work and to inspire new initiatives to sustain the family as a source of joy, hope and cohesion in the Church and in society.”
Read more...

Brothers to undergo transgender surgery together

Two Irish brothers who identify as females have revealed plans to undergo reassignment surgery together. Now calling themselves Jamie and Chloe, the siblings announced themselves transgender in 2015. They have announced that they will soon be starting a course of oestrogen towards preparing themselves for surgery. Both claim they came out as gay when 14 and 13 respectively and have since concluded that they are in fact transgender.
Read more...

Tusla removes child from ‘too old’ grandparents

The child and family agency Tusla has taken a boy into foster care, having judged his grandparents too old to care for him. The action to remove the boy came despite testimonies from both the child’s doctor and school that his grandparents are capable of looking after him adequately. The grandparents at the centre of the case are in their 60s and have cared for the boy for four years. The grandfather has since appeared on RTE television to describe the trauma he and his wife have experienced since Tusla’s move. “We’re totally and utterly distressed over it because he was our pride and joy,” he said.
Read more...

Human rights body calls for ban on child marriages in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has called for a ban on child marriages as it emerged that 68 children were married on the region in 2014. In a report to the United Nations, the commission argued for an increase in the legal age for marriage to 18. Currently, it is legal to be married in Northern Ireland at 16 with the consent of parents or legal guardians. “The marriage of under 18-year-olds is a live issue in Northern Ireland that needs to be addressed through a change to the law. This issue is a global one as well as a local one,” said chief commissioner Les Allamby.
Read more...

Christians now a minority in England and Wales

Christians in England and Wales are now a minority as those professing no religion continues to grow rapidly. According to a new analysis of census figures, those of no faith have surged from 25% to 48.5% between 2011 and 2014. Meanwhile, those defining themselves as a member of a Christian denomination stands at 43.8%. According to lead researcher Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham: “What we’re seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big question in the sociology of religion.”
Read more...

Church of Scotland to allow ministers in same-sex marriages

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow ministers and deacons to enter into same-sex marriages. Commissioners at the Kirk’s General Assembly voted by 339 to 215 to extend and earlier recognition of civil partnerships to full same-sex marriage. The decision has caused deep division within the church, with some describing it as contrary to scripture. “This matter has decimated the Church. Thousands of members and adherents have left the Church, sometimes whole congregations. This has been particularly damaging in the highlands and islands,” said Revd Andrew McGown, of Inverness East Church of Scotland.
Read more...

Catholic schools top Northern Ireland league tables

Catholic schools in Northern Ireland secured the top 11 places in league tables for 2014/15, it has been revealed. The success of Catholic schools was laid out by The Belfast Telegraph which gained the tables as a result of a freedom of information request. The good results have led to a call for the Department of Education to examine what makes Catholic schools such a success story. “They should be asking what is the magic ingredient which is making all the top performing schools in Northern Ireland Catholic schools,” said Sean Rafferty, head of St Louis Grammar in Ballymena in County Antrim. Meanwhile, DUP education spokesman Peter Weir MLA said lessons could be learned from Catholic schools.

Read more...

BBC criticised for assisted suicide drama

The BBC is facing allegations that it is acting as a “cheerleader for assisted suicide” following a long-anticipated episode of the soap Eastenders portrayed a leading character dying by that means. Following the episode, which had seen weeks of publicity around the departure of character Peggy Mitchell, the Care Not Killing group described as “extremely disappointing” the programme-makers portrayal of assisted suicide. Care Not Killing pointed out that this was the seventh pro-assisted suicide programme aired by the BBC, while alternatives like palliative care were virtually ignored.
Read more...