News Roundup

‘Highly religious Catholics happier in life’ – US study

Catholics in the United States who are highly religious report being “very happy” with their lives, according to a new study. Conducted by the Pew Research Centre, the study, ‘Religion in Everyday Life’, found that the 31% of Catholics who pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week – defined as ‘highly religious – reported greater satisfaction in their lives than those falling outside the definition. The study also found that while “both attendance at religious services and prayer frequency have declined in recent years among the US public as a whole…among Catholics and others who are affiliated with a religion, levels of worship attendance and personal prayer have both been steady since 2007”.

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Italian Cardinal warns against same-sex adoptions

An Italian Cardinal has warned that same-sex adoption must not be allowed to resurface in Italy after controversial elements of a civil unions bill were removed by parliamentarians ahead of a vote this month. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference said: “The adoption provision has been torn up and we all hope that it does not come back in another way because it would be hypocrisy”, adding, “Putting other unions on the same level as marriage weakens the family. A family is formed by marriage between a man and a woman and it is the foundation of civil society.”

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US abortion facilities ‘dying’ amid terminations decrease

The rate of closures of abortion facilities in the United States has led one abortion activist to state, “we are a dying breed”. The comment came from Shauna Heckert, the executive director of Women’s Health Specialists of California in response to a decreasing demand for abortion services across America, with records showing a drop from 1.21 million terminations to 1.06 million between 2008 and 2015.

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Three-year-olds referred for transsexual treatment

Britain’s national broadcaster has found evidence that children as young as three years are being referred for transsexual treatment. According to the BBC, 167 pre-school children have, in the last 12 months, gained referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The revelation has led to warnings from the Christian Institute that young lives will be ruined “because their parents and doctors who should have known better told them they needed to transition gender when they were just going through a childhood phase.”

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Government to face UN questions on abortion

The Irish Government will face questions from UN member states in Geneva next week on the issue of this country’s protection for the unborn. According to a list of advance questions already offered from States via the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ireland will be pressed on what steps the Government might take to deal with the nation’s “restrictive abortion regime” and whether it is envisaged that “an expert group on abortion matters which can contribute to a coherent legal framework including the provision of adequate services” might be established.

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HSE funded six overseas ‘sex-change’ operations in 2015

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has paid for 59 sex-change operations at facilities abroad in total with six of these occurring in the last year, according to figures gained under the Freedom of Information Act. With no facility in Ireland currently offering such operations, the HSE availed of the Treatment Abroad Scheme to assist persons seeking gender alterations. The cost of the operations by this means has amounted to €1.8 million.

 

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Palestinian President urges protection for Middle East Christians

The Palestinian President Abu Mazen has said it is “a duty and a mission” for Arabs to protect the Christian presence in the Middle East. Delivering a message to Christians, the President said he recognised that Christians are now under severe threat in a manner that threatens pluralism and religious freedom and said he remained committed to the permanent place for Christians in the Holy Land. He called on all Palestinians to counter any act that served to weaken that presence.

 

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Pro-life group wins 28-year legal battle

A pro-life group in the United States which was targeted for legal action by the National Organisation for Women (NOW) 28 years ago, has won its case. The Pro-Life Action League had faced the action brought by NOW in 1986 as a result of its pavement protests and vigils near abortion clinics, which NOW contended was a vast conspiracy nationwide. The feminist group had sought to use gangster racketeering legislation against Pro-Life Action. However, after no fewer than three sittings of the Supreme Court on the issue, the matter has been struck out and NOW ordered to pay the pro-life group’s costs.

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Academic to sue over firing for defence of marriage

An associate professor in the US state of Wisconsin is to sue his former university for terminating his employment after he defended marriage as between one man and one woman in a blog post. In his legal action against Marquette University, John McAdams states that “Marquette University guarantees its tenured faculty academic freedoms, including the right to free speech”, something he was denied in being labelled ‘homophobic’ as a result of his blog posting.

 

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Leading academic calls for euthanasia debate

Dr Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick has called for a debate on the issue of euthanasia. Speaking before a gathering of the National Association of General Practitioners, Dr Walsh said the question of how we treat older people at the end of life was an issue to be robustly debated in the same way as divorce and same-sex marriage had been. “I think we have to start debating how we look after our older people when they are reaching the end of life,” he said. “Should they be on a trolley for 19 hours, as a precursor to their death, or can we think of better ways of looking after people who are growing old?”

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