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Christians should “stay out of the public square”: UK MEP

Christian groups should stay out of the public square and faith should be a “personal eccentricity”, according to a British Labour MEP.

31/03/09
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Ad campaign brings thousands back to Church

A groundbreaking television advertising campaign in the US has led to an estimated 92,000 lapsed Catholics oming back to the Church in the last year.

31/03/09
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Faithful "must remain firm in secular age": Cardinal

Catholics must remain "brave and courageous" in today's "very secular" society, according to the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

27/03/09
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Abortion and condom ads to be aired on TV under new rules

New rules by the UK's advertising watchdog could give the green light for ads by abortion clinics on television and radio for the first time.

27/03/09
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New scheme to allow 11 year-old get Pill via text

A scheme encouraging schoolgirls as young as 11 to request the morning-after pill by text message undermines parents and will lead to more promiscuity and teenage pregnancies, say campaigners.

27/03/09
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Governor of Vermont to veto same-sex marriage bill

The Governor of US state, Vermont, Jim Douglas has said that he will veto a bill the Senate passed Monday that would open the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, reports the Associated Press (AP).

26/03/09
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Leading AIDS scientist backs Pope in condom row

A leading scientist in the worldwide fight against AIDS has backed Pope Benedict's comments about condoms not being the best strategy to fight the disease.

24/03/09
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Support for faith schools "mark of mature society", says Cardinal Brady

The provision of state support to a diverse range of schools, including faith schools, was “the mark of a mature, tolerant and reconciled society”, Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady told the Northern Assembly’s education committee yesterday.

19/03/09
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Christians being pushed out of public debate, says Cardinal Pell

Human rights and anti-discrimination legislation is being used as a weapon against Christians and Christian opinion in the public debate, according to the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

19/03/09
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Teen mags to blame for sexualising teens, says UK watchdog

Teenage magazines have been blasted for sexualising their young readers by the UK Government’s consumer watchdog.

18/03/09
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Independent faith schools to be monitored by UK standards body

Education officials are to be sent into UK faith schools to make sure they are preparing pupils for modern life.

19/03/09
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French physicist wins Templeton Prize for religion

French quantum physicist and philosopher of science Bernard d'Espagnat, who says that "mystery is a constituent dimension of being", has won the 2009 Templeton Prize for religion.

18/03/09
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End constitutional protection for marriage, say single parent campaigners

Single parent groups and lawyers are calling for an end to the Constitution's protection of marriage, after a High Court case ruled that fathers have a prior duty to provide financial care for their marital children over and above any duty to non-marital children.

18/03/09
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Thirty-one children suffered injury under HSE care: report

Thirty-one children have suffered injuries under the care of the HSE Dublin North East, with two staff facing possible sanctions, according to information obtained by the Irish Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act.

18/03/09
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Fathers have role in keeping children safe, says report

Fathers have a vital role in keeping children safe from abuse, according to an official report in England into social services commissioned after a number of children known to social service were found to have died as a result of chronic neglect or abuse.

The report estimated that 200,000 children are at high risk of violence or abuse in their own home. It further estimates that 350,000 children have parents with serious drug habits and another 1.3 million had parents who suffer from serious drink problems. In 2007-08, 55 children in England were murdered by family members, or partners of family members.

The report was commissioned after social workers in Haringey failed to intervene to prevent the horrendous abuse of a child, who became known as Baby P, who subsequently died after being beaten to death. It was also prompted by the death in similar circumstances of Victoria Climbie.

Lord Laming, who chaired the commission, said that particular mention ought to be made of the role of fathers, especially as role models. He stated: “Particular mention should be made of the part played by fathers, not least as good role models. I believe the really important thing is that parenthood should be seen as a lifetime commitment.”

Baby P’s main abuser was his mother’s partner. Children are proportionately most at risk when living with men to whom they are not related.

Lord Lamning said that ministers, council chiefs, social work managers, NHS staff and police officers all need to do more to safeguard vulnerable children.

He demanded urgent improvements in child protection, starting "at the heart of government".

More can and should be done to prevent such deaths, Lord Laming said: "I refuse to accept that is not possible to intervene appropriately on behalf of these children and save them from a worse fate."

Showing his frustration that many of his earlier recommendations have not been implemented, Lord Laming pleaded: "Please now just do it. Children and young people at risk deserve nothing less."

He also criticised ministers for failing to act on his first review, he said that "momentum has been lost" and added: "It is a major issue about implementation."

Instead of seeking major changes in the rules and systems for social services and child protection, Lord Laming said that everyone involved in the field needs to do their jobs better and work more closely together.

"This is matter that has to be addressed from the heart of Government to the newest recruit delivering services," he concluded.

Health workers and GPs in particular are often "wary" to get involved in child protection cases, Lord Laming said.

He added that councils were sometimes failing to go to court to put vulnerable children into care because of new court fees introduced last year, Lord Laming fears. Those fees should now be scrapped, his report said.

Council chief executives must bear more of the blame for social work failures. "It is your primary responsibility to make sure that the organisation works efficiently and effectively."

13/03/09

Bishops call on banks not to repossess family homes

Banks have been urged not to repossess family homes and instead renegotiate mortgage terms by the Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops.

12/03/09
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Parents face action over LGBT lessons

Christian and Muslim parents in London who kept their primary school children away from controversial lessons promoting homosexuality could now face legal action by the local council.

10/03/09
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New law could ease religious ads restrictions

The Government is set to ease restrictions on religious advertising in its new broadcasting legislation. The decision by the Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, reported in The Sunday Times, would allow organisations such as Veritas to advertise on radio.

10/03/09
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Move to take power from Connecticut Catholic Church condemned

A proposed bill in the US state of Connecticut that would take power from Catholic priests and bishops and turn it over to parishioners has provoked outrage among US Catholics.

10/03/09
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Ethical issues ‘could pose problem’ for FF joining Euro-Liberals

Abortion is one of the issues which could prevent Fianna Fáil joining the Liberal group in the European Parliament, according to Fianna Fáil MEP Brian Crowley.

10/03/09
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"The child...shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents."

Article 7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.