LGBT activists in Spain are calling for the prosecutions of four Bishops who voiced objections to new legislation on LGBT rights and protections in the Madrid region. In a statement on the new ‘Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity’, Bishops Juan Antonio Reig Pla, Joaquín María López, and Auxiliary Bishop José Rico Pavés warned that it “seeks to prohibit the public teaching of the Bible”. The statement was supported later by Bishop Demetrio Fernández, who said “gender ideology is an atomic bomb that seeks to destroy Catholic doctrine and the image of God in man and the image of God the Creator”. All four now face demands that they be prosecuted for hate speech in a Spanish court.
A major investigation of mass graves in Syria and Iraq by The Associated Press (AP) has uncovered the scale of killings by Islamic State (IS) of Christians and other minority groups. The agency claims to have found at least 72 mass graves already – with more set to be uncovered – which contain the remains of thousands of people summarily executed by the militant group since its emergence in 2014. The number of dead is estimated at anywhere between 5,200 to 15,000 so far, including women and children. Sinjar Mountain, where thousands of Yazidis sought shelter from the onward drive of IS is, says AP “dotted with graves”.
A Spanish priest who offered a blessing for a same-sex marriage has apologised after being reprimanded by his diocese. Fr José Garcia was brought to the attention of the Diocese of Segorbe-Castellón in Vallencia on July 30 when he conducted a blessing ceremony following the couple’s civil marriage. In a statement, the diocese said Fr Garcia’s action contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church, adding that the priest “did not distinguish the welcoming and pastoral accompaniment of persons, on the one hand, from the apparent approval of a union that the Church cannot approve”. The diocese is now considering punitive measures against the priest, investigating whether or not “there exists in this case the necessary elements for the disciplinary measures established in the Code of Canon law.”
The number of babies with a cleft palate aborted in Britain has tripled in the last five years, according to latest figures. Despite the minor facial condition being completely treatable, it is thought increased access to tests diagnosing the condition in the womb is leading to a growing number of terminations. According to government figures, 30 infants were aborted over the last three years directly as a result of a cleft palate diagnosis. Reacting to the numbers, Fiona Bruce MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: “It is deeply disturbing if these figures reflect a worrying trend in society to disproportionately value the physically perfect and beautiful.” Meanwhile, the House of Lords’ peer, Lord Alton, said “Aborting a baby with a cleft palate should be unconscionable. For the law to allow this up to birth should be unthinkable.”
Ireland is set to witness a “tsunami” of sex and porn addiction, according to an addiction psychologist. Erica Ruigrok of Dublin’s Rutland Centre offered her prediction during the launch of the centre’s headline findings ahead of its Outcomes report in September. According to its findings, while alcohol and gambling addictions still top the list for treatments sought at the Rutland Centre, sex addiction is a rapidly growing phenomenon, increasing from less than half a percent in 2009 to 6% of presentations today. Ms Ruigrok pointed out, that just like gambling, the internet was a major factor. “It’s a game-changer,” she said. “With the internet you can find a sex partner within 15 minutes – as quickly as you can find a take-away.”
A Christian member of the US Air Force who faced a military investigation after complaints that he kept an open Bible on his desk has been told he may continue to do so following an investigation. Major Steve Lewis had become the centre of a call for “swift, visible and aggressive punishment” from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a body dedicated to the separation of church and state within the military, when it was discovered that he kept an opened Bible on his desk at all times. The group said the opened Bible was a “brazen display of sectarian Christian triumphalism and exceptionalism” which caused “helpless subordinates” to view it daily. However, the Air Force has ruled that Major Lewis’ act is “well within the provisions” of military regulations on religious expression.