News Roundup

Surge in assisted suicide numbers in Switzerland

The rate of assisted suicide in Switzerland surged by over a quarter in a single year, latest figures in the country show. With 742 cases of assisted suicide for the year 2014, this was a 26% increase on the previous year. At least 20 of the latest number sought assisted suicide due to depression. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, but since 2009, the rate of this means of death has grown by 250%.

Read more...

Passing on faith to children important to ‘engaged Christians’ – study

A new study on faith in Britain has found that people of faith who regularly attend their church services are most likely to want to pass on their faith beliefs to their children. Conducted by the religion and society think tank Theos, in conjunction with pollsters ComRes, Passing on Faith discovered that while 60% of parents overall think that children should make up their own minds on faith “independently of their parents”, when categorised by belief or lack of, some 77% of people who believe and attend church saw it as important to pass on their beliefs. By comparison, just 59% those who believe but do not attend worship regularly saw this faith communication as important. “The more engaged Christians were with their faith, the more likely they were to want to pass it on to their children,” the study concluded.
Read more...

BBC criticised for children’s show portraying transsexualism

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is under fire from parents and politicians for airing a children’s show for six to twelve-year-olds in which transsexualism is a central theme. In the show, Just a Girl, the central character Amy is portrayed as a boy now living as a girl who is taking hormone blockers and engages in conversation with a friend who is a girl living as a boy. Politicians Julian Brazier and Peter Bone leballed the show “inappropriate”, with Brazier saying: “Children are very impressionable and this is going to confuse and worry them.” Child psychotherapist Dr Dilys Daws branded the BBC irresponsible for exposing children as young as six to the idea of ‘changing sex’, while Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said the BBC was irresponsible for introducing “impressionable children as young as six to the idea that they can choose to be something other than their biological sex”.
Read more...

US Archbishop calls on Catholics to vote with a ‘Catholic conscience’

A Catholic prelate in the United States has called on Catholic voters preparing for the November 8 elections to base their decision on “the principles of Catholic conscience”.  Amid the most fractious presidential campaign in living memory, Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon said: “I think we need to get behind the façade of…two very flawed individuals and look at what is likely to happen during the potential presidency of these two and let that be our guide. He added: “As Catholic citizens look at these two candidates, my advice would be: get beyond the face and get beyond the people themselves and look behind them…Look at what their stand is in the issues of greatest importance: what is their stance on the protection of life? Especially on the protection of the lives of the unborn, the elderly.”

Read more...

Call for abortion access in Northern Ireland heard in UK Supreme Court

A legal challenge to allow women in Northern Ireland to procure abortions funded by the National Health Service (NHS) has been taken to Britain’s Supreme Court. The case was launched by a mother and daughter who travelled to Britain to allow the daughter to have her pregnancy terminated. The brought the case after the Court of Appeal ruled that health services in England and Wales have no obligation to provide publicly funded abortions in Northern Ireland. The Supreme Court has allowed for submissions from six pro-abortion groups in the case. Reacting to the case, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) said: “A bad decision in this case would not only lead to more children being killed by abortion, it will also have serious implications for the rule of law and the value of Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions.”

 

Read more...

Seal of Confession upheld by Louisiana court

A court in the US state of Louisiana has ruled that a priest is not compelled to report information of a criminal nature received during confession. The judgement, handed down by the state’s Supreme Court, arose from a case in the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge in which Fr Jeff Bayhi became the subject of a lawsuit from Rebecca Mayeux who claimed she was being abused by a parishioner but that the priest did nothing to stop the abuse and did not report it to the police. In its ruling the court stated it was not “conclusively determined” whether a priest in confession is a mandatory reporter of child abuse under provisions of the existing legislation. Thus, “any communication made to a priest privately in the sacrament of confession for the purposes of confession, repentance, and absolution is a confidential communication … and the priest is exempt from mandatory reporter status,” the court ruled.

Read more...

Canadian court confirms Christian university’s abstinence regulation

A court in the Canadian province of British Columbia has confirmed the accreditation status of a faith-run university which had been threatened with sanction for imposing a covenant on students to abstain from sex until marriage. The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School had no case to answer after the local law society alleged discrimination against the LGBT community and said the law society’s decision to deny accreditation limits the university’s right to freedom of religion in a disproportionate way. A spokesperson for TWU said after the judgement: “Everyone, religious or not, should celebrate this decision as a protection of our Canadian identity.”

Read more...

Québec’s assisted suicide rate almost three times higher than expected

The Canadian province of Québec recorded a much higher than expected rate of death by euthanasia in the first seven months since the method was legalised. Figures compiled by the Québec euthanasia commission reveal that there were 262 reported euthanasia deaths between December 2015 and June 2016. Presenting the figures to parliament, the province’s Health Minister Gaétan Barrette expressed surprise at the number and admitted: “I mentioned many times that I was expecting about 100. It’s almost three times that…on a one-year period, it will be over 300 … that in itself is surprising to me.” Examinaton of the figures has led one news outlet to state that 21 of the total euthanasia deaths did not meet the requirements as set down in law for seeking assisted suicide.

Read more...

First Christian Mass in over two years celebrated in Qaraqosh

The first Christian Mass in over two years has been celebrated in the newly liberated city of Qaraqosh, Iraq. Having ousted fighters of so-called Islamic State (ISIS), Iraqi forces cleared the way for the Immaculate Conception Cathedral at the centre of the city to host a religious celebration as a symbol of the city’s hard-won freedom. Led by Syrian Catholic Archbishop Petros Mouche of Mosul, Kirkuk and the whole Kurdistan, worshippers sang hymns in Aramaic and listened as the prelate called on Christians to clean up this city from all traces of [ISIS], the hatred of which we have all been victims”. Of the cathedral itself, seriously damaged but still standing, the Archbishop said: “This church is a symbol for us.”

Read more...

Warning of abortion rise as UK rolls out earlier Down syndrome screening

Britain’s Department of Health has announced that it has approved a form of earlier pre-natal screening which opponents say will increase the rate of abortions for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. The Department is now set to roll out use of Non Invasive Pre-Natal Testing. The move comes despite a letter signed by 279 health professionals across Britain which accuses the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of “advocating that women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome should end their pregnancy”, arising in part from the ‘cost effectiveness of caring for children with the syndrome. Nine out of ten diagnosed Down Syndrome babies are already aborted in the UK.

Read more...