News Roundup

Bishop Doran to launch Council for Marriage

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin has announced the formation of a Council for Marriage within his diocese. The Bishop stated that the move was a response “following from the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia and in preparation for the World Meeting of Families in 2018…At this stage I have just identified the need and am beginning to consider what shape it should take”.

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High suicide rate making priests ‘sacramental firemen’

A priest has stated that clergy in Ireland are becoming “sacramental firemen” as they move from one crisis to another resulting from high levels of suicide here. Fr Paddy Byrne spoke out after no fewer than eight suicides in Co. Laois in recent weeks. The cluster of suicides comes after another which saw five men die by suicide in Newbridge, Co. Kildare in March. “I do think people are quite alone in Irish society,” Fr Byrne said.

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House of Commons labels Islamic State actions genocide

The British Houses of Common has voted unanimously to declare the actions of Islamic State against Christians and other religious minorities as genocide. The religious freedom group ADF International immediately welcomed the outcome of the Westminster debate as “a day of hope for every Christian, Yazidi or member of other religious minorities suffering under the terror reign of ISIS”.

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British Parliament urged to act against Northern Ireland abortion law

The British government has been called on to intercede in the case of a Northern Ireland woman convicted there of procuring an abortion. Despite differing laws within the two regions of the United Kingdom, the shadow justice minister, Jo Stevens, and shadow foreign minister, Diana Johnson have written a letter to parliament’s joint committee on human rights urging a move against women being convicted in Northern Ireland on the grounds that abortion is a human right. However, Britain itself has convicted several women of having illegal abortions in recent years.

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Faith leaders in Canada appeal for conscience clause in euthanasia law

Leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths in Canada have joined in calling on the government there to include a conscience protection clause for medical staff in forthcoming legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide. “We ask, simply, for the same protection that has been provided…in every foreign jurisdiction in the world that has legalised euthanasia/assisted suicide; that is, never to force hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other care facilities to go against their mission and values, which are their institutional conscience,” the leaders stated.

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Christian woman killed in protest against church demolition

A Christian woman in China has been killed attempting to halt a church demolition. The woman, identified as Ding Cuimei, is reported to have been buried alive as authorities moved against the church in Henan province as part of a wider drive to demolish church properties across China. The woman’s husband, the church’s pastor, was also buried, but managed to escape.

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Irish media ‘aggressively hostile’ to the Irish Church – Nuala O’Loan

Baroness Nuala O’Loan has criticised the Irish media of being “aggressively hostile” to the Catholic Church and of having contributed to its decline in Ireland. Speaking at a conference in Boston, USA, Baroness O’Loan said “Papers like The Irish Times now run columns in which things are said about and imputed to Catholics which would not be tolerated in the context of Islam or Judaism, or of homosexuals or humanists”.

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Pope Francis calls for the family to be focus of post-Synod era

Pope Francis has once again spoken up in defence of the family, insisting that it should be a key focus for all following the Synod of the Family convoked last October. Answering journalists’ questions, the Pontiff moved past the media focus on Communion for remarried Catholics to state: “‘Do you not realise that that is not the important problem? Don’t you realise that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? The family is the basis of society. Do you not realise that the young don’t want to marry? Don’t you realise that the falling birth rate in Europe is something to cry about?..These are the big problems.”

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Christian charities urge end to religion supervision proposal

Five Christian charities in Britain have called on the government to scrap its proposal to inspect church Sunday schools and other youth settings as part of its ‘British values’ campaign. The Christian Institute along with CARE, Christian Concern, Evangelical Alliance and Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship have called for the Government to scrap the controversial plan, claiming it threatens religious and other freedoms.

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Britain to vote on Islamic State genocide label

Britain’s Parliament is set to vote on whether to classify the actions of Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq against Christians and other minority groups as genocide. The vote will take place after a debate on April 20. Parliament’s move comes as a poll conducted by the religious freedom group ADF International reveals that 63% of Britons want to see ISIS actions labelled as genocide, and 59% backing a formal inquiry by Britain into IS atrocities.
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