News Roundup

Bishop asks Medical Council: can doctors now kill patients?

The Bishop of Elphin has asked the Irish Medical Council whether they now consider it acceptable for doctors to “take part in the deliberate killing of a patient” after a prohibition against doing so was dropped from the latest code of ethics.

Bishop Kevin Doran added that even if assisted suicide were to be legalised, “that of itself would never make the killing of patients ethical.”

As Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Council for Life, he said had written to the president of the Medical Council seeking clarification on the matter, “but my letter has received neither a reply nor even an acknowledgment”.

He said there are numerous defects in the new guide, and cited the deletion of sections on Assisted Human Reproduction (47) and Abortion (48).

He asked: “Is this simply because the law in these areas has changed? Have actions which were previously unethical, and were quite simply ‘bad medicine’, suddenly become ethical because they are now legal?”


Hate speech bill is ‘restrictive and undemocratic’ warns barrister

A barrister has claimed that the Government’s controversial hate speech bill could leave religious groups open to accusations of hate speech, and may also cause problems for people critical of gender ideology and abortion.

Grace Sullivan also warned that people may not find out how detrimental the Government’s new bill could be to their freedom of speech, until after the law has passed.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Ms Sullivan said that while the proposed bill will create an offence to “incite hatred” against an individual or a group on account of “certain protected characteristics” — nonetheless “there is no clear definition of what ‘inciting hatred’ means”.

There is also no requirement that comments are seen to be likely to cause physical harm to another person.

One of the protected characteristics in the bill is ‘gender’ which is defined in terms of radical new gender theory.

“One could conceive of disagreements with this very definition of gender,” she said. “Certainly a diverse number of religious groups would disagree with this definition.”


No justice for 300 people massacred on Christmas Eve in Nigeria

Three weeks after extremists murdered more than 300 people, burnt down entire villages and destroyed food supplies in coordinated attacks in Nigeria’s Plateau State, none of the perpetrators have been held to account, according to a report by Aid to the Church in Need.

Father Andrew Dewan, director of communications in the Pankshin Diocese, where most of the attacks took place told the charity that they had heard of some arrests but no prosecution, much to the frustration of survivors and victims’ families.

“We are used to this charade – attackers are often arrested and later set free. Politicians give speeches that contain no grain of truth. They make promises and pledges of rehabilitating and reinstating all those displaced back to their ancestral homes, but that is often not the case”, he said.


Unmarried father to get widower’s pension, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court has ruled that the partner of a deceased woman is entitled to the widower’s pension despite the couple having been neither married nor in a civil partnership. They had three children together who are all school age. The man told RTE today that they had intended to get married.

While the Court unanimously found the relevant pension legislation unconstitutional, 5 of the 7 judges said that the meaning of family under Article 41 of the Constitution does not include both marital and non-marital families.

Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell in his ruling said the distinction in the welfare legislation between a married and unmarried couple was “arbitrary and capricious”.

In a separate concurring judgment, Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe said the differential treatment of a family not based on marriage amounts to discrimination which cannot be objectively justified.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan also held the relevant provision is unconstitutional because of the automatic exclusion of cohabiting couples of long-standing. He said the reference to parents in Article 42 must include all parents even though this section is about education.


True pluralism ‘supports’ faith, says Bishop

A true plurality in society will support and encourage initiatives based on faith as well as those without faith, according to an Irish Catholic Bishop.

Bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, was speaking at Mass to open Catholic Schools Week 2024.

He said faith is too important to be diluted by ideology or political correctness and, “[o]ur students need a vision and the reassurance of a God who loves them, . . . They need a sense that we are born for more than what this life can offer.  That is the importance of a faith-based education.”

He added: “True plurality, be it in society or in education, will always support and encourage faith, as it will those who do not profess faith.  Plurality or inclusion cannot be against faith otherwise it is a mere ideology.”


Doctors push back against euthanasia move by Medical Council

At least 250 GPs have signed a letter to the Irish Medical Council stating that they are “gravely concerned” about a major change to the code of ethics governing doctors in Ireland that previously banned the deliberate killing of patients and has now lifted it. The development is being seen as a move towards paving the way to euthanasia. It was carried out without properly consulting doctors.

The recently updated 9th edition of the Medical Council’s ‘Guide to Professional Conduct’ also weakened protection of conscientious objection for doctors, removed all objection to abortion, and dropped guardrails for assisted human reproduction.

The letter from the doctors reads: “We are concerned about the risk that the removal of section 46.9 (8th edition) may pose to patients and persons in society who may be vulnerable resulting from this change.”

“Additionally we are concerned about doctors who have Freedom of Conscience positions in light of the change in section 42:9th edition functioning essentially to a mandatory requirement to act in a way that may contravene their conscience and potentially cause moral injury.”


Catholic Schools contribute as ‘communities of service’, says Bishop

Catholic schools set a high standard when it comes to providing education and contributing significantly as ‘Communities of Service’ in our society, according to Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, who chairs the Council for Education of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.

He was speaking in the run up to the all-Ireland, annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week from 21 to 27 January.

“Generations of people have benefited from Catholic schools and our society is all the better for their contribution to the common good,” he said.

“Our schools, following the example of Jesus, serve every person regardless of creed, background, faith, social status or age.  Jesus showed those around Him how our Heavenly Father is compassionate, courageous and forgiving by His own actions”


WHO: Evidence for transitioning children is ‘limited and variable’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has pulled back from issuing guidelines recommending so-called “gender-affirming care” for children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria. This can include puberty blockers, sex hormones and surgery.

A just-released WHO FAQ Sheet on the “development of a guideline on the health of trans and gender diverse people said: “The scope [of the guidance] will cover adults only and not address the needs of children and adolescents, because on review, the evidence base for children and adolescents is limited and variable regarding the longer-term outcomes of gender affirming care for children and adolescents”.

Commenting on the move, Wesley J. Smith National Review said it shows that the science is not settled, and is in fact moving away from so-called “gender-affirming care” that uncritically moves a child along a path to sex-change, upon request.

He said that WHO had been preparing to push this model as the standard of care for treating dysphoric children, but after getting intense pushback, it backed down.

It also made a crucial admission that the evidence for that model of treatment simply isn’t there, contradicting what is public policy in some US states and in the Biden administration.


Minister claims referendum excludes families based on ‘polygamous relationships’

Expanding family recognition to include those based on ‘durable relationships’ will not include those based on ‘polygamous relationships,’ said Minister Roderic O’Gorman in the Dáil yesterday.

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth made the claim in response to repeated questioning from Independent TD, Michael McNamara.

The Clare TD envisaged it being an issue regarding people in polygamous marriages coming to Ireland from other States and seeking to bring family members with them.

However, the Minister replied that, “polygamous relationships have never been recognised under Irish law and, secondly, because a polygamous relationship is not one that represents a fundamental unit group of society. It is not one that represents a moral institution in Irish law and it is not durable”.

Mr McNamara responded that polygamous marriages have existed for centuries and are durable.

He added: “The reality is that we have absolutely no idea how this will be interpreted by the courts. We are making a change for the sake of it”.

After another denial by the Minister, the deputy asked if ‘durable’, “will mean ‘durable’ unless the ‘durable relationship’ is a ‘polygamous’ one, in which case it is ‘durable’ but we are not going to recognise it because we do not like its ‘durability’?”

The Minister replied that “durability” is not sufficient as a family also has to be “a natural and fundamental unit group of society and a moral institution”.

Deputy McNamara then asked: “Are we saying that some marriages are moral institutions and some are not? Are we saying that those  that are monogamous are, and those that are polygamous are not, even though they are, of course, moral institutions in other countries . . . ?”

The Irish Constitution restricts marriage to two people but it does not stop the State extending marriage-like rights to people in non-marital relationships.

Macron vows a “demographic rearmament” for France

Emmanuel Macron has pledged to “re-arm French fertility” and boost falling birth rates.

The French president announced a plan to introduce a six-month parental leave, one of many policies he said was meant to promote having children and strengthen the longterm economic outlook.

“France will also be stronger by boosting its birth rate,” Mr Macron insisted. “Until recently, we were a country where this was the strength, not the uniqueness in Europe, when we compared ourselves with our neighbours. This has become less true in recent years.”

A demographic report for 2023 shows the fewest births since the end of the Second World War. Less than 700,000 births were recorded, down 20% from 2010. The fertility rate fell to 1.68 children per woman of childbearing age, moving further away from the replacement rate of 2.1.

France still has one of the highest birthrates in Europe but it has been below replacement level for many years. .

“Habits are changing, and people are having children later and later,” said the president. “Infertility, both male and female, has risen sharply in recent years and is causing many couples to suffer. A major plan to combat this scourge will be launched to bring about this demographic rearmament.”

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