News Roundup

Student attendance at some colleges Masses in single figures

The number of third-level students turning up to weekly Masses on-campus are in single figures in many institutions. Newly released figures show that, for example, at the 12,000-student Cork Institute of Technology, just nine students attend Mass there. Atheist Ireland obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act towards campaigning for an end to public funding of chaplaincy services at Third Level institutions which runs to about €1.5 million per annum.

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Move to force abortions at Catholic hospitals thrown out

A judge in the US state of Michigan has thrown out a legal attempt by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to force Catholic hospitals to performs abortions. The ACLU took action against the Trinity Health Corporation, which runs 86 medical facilities across 21 states, and refuses terminations on the grounds of Church teaching, something the ACLU claimed was causing harm to women. That claim was ruled “dubious” by the presiding judge.

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Pro-life students denied funding for holding unacceptable views

Pro-life students at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have called on the institution’s heads to intervene after they were refused funding by the Student Association because of their views. The students claims that the monetary bar on their group amounts to an attempt to stifle their free speech and freedom of belief, something which a hearing by the Student Parliament has already rejected.

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Pope says same-sex marriage not ‘God’s plan for marriage or family’

The Pope’s new Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, insists that “proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage [are not] be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”.

 

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Pope calls for pastoral care for divorced-and-remarried Catholics

In his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis has said the Church must respond with better pastoral care to divorced-and-remarried Catholics, while defending the sanctity of marriage. “What we need is a more responsible and generous effort to present the reasons and motivations for choosing marriage and the family, and in this way to help men and women better to respond to the grace that God offers them,” he wrote.

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Irish Government called to recognise Islamic State genocide

The charity group Aid to the Church in Need has urged the Irish Government to formally recognise the actions of Islamic State against Christians and other minorities as genocide. The call was made ahead of a presentation in Dublin on ‘How Christians are being killed and driven out of the Middle East for their faith’.

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Pro-life group seeks review of Northern Ireland abortion sentence

Northern Ireland’s Precious Life group has written to the region’s Director of Public Prosecutions to request an appeal of the suspended sentence handed down on a woman who admitted procuring her own abortion through pill bought on the internet. “By passing such a lenient sentence we believe the judge undermined the seriousness of the crime of killing an unborn child,” the group said in a statement.

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Christian worker loses tribunal appeal

In a blow to people of faith in the workplace in Britain, a National Health Service therapist who was disciplined for giving a Christian text to a Muslim colleague has lost her appeal against the sanction handed down for her action. A judge hearing the appeal brought by practising Christian Victoria Wasteney ruled that the NHS had acted appropriately.

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Calls to end Dáil prayer

Calls have been made in the Dáil for an end to the traditional prayer which begins every sitting of the chamber.

As work towards Dáil reform and the establishment of a new Government continues, TD Paul Murphy of the Anti-Austerity Alliance and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan led calls for the scrapping of the prayer to be part of that reform process. Deputy Murphy said the prayer demonstrated that “we don’t have a separation of church and state in this country”.

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World religions course may fall victim to curriculum overcrowding

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has revealed it has received a record volume of responses from parents and teachers in its consultation process on plans to introduce of religion classes in primary schools. The classes, set to focus on all major forms of religion and secular views, have the NCCA said, led to fears of “curriculum overload”.

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