Headlines > News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

08 February 2018 | by Bernadette Kehoe

News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

‘We forget the unborn baby’
Bishop Brendan Leahy has warned that repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution and introducing a liberal abortion regime would result in terminations not just up to 12 weeks but in some cases right up to the point of birth. In a letter read out at all Masses across his diocese, the Bishop of Limerick invited the faithful to “be missionaries for the cause of life”. The Irish Government has said that by the end of May it will hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal right to life to a mother and her unborn child. Bishop Leahy said that while “many very articulate voices” were attending with empathy and care to the difficult situations of women with challenging circumstances in pregnancy, “we are often forgetting the unborn baby”.


Cardinal Vincent Nichols has praised the role of religious sisters in their work with victims of human trafficking. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme ahead of a Santa Marta conference taking place in Rome this week, Cardinal Nichols commented on the resources the Catholic Church could offer in the “battle” against modern slavery: “Those resources often are its courageous religious women – the trust between them and the police to make effective partnerships for caring for victims and achieving prosecutions.”


The All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea has launched a report on human rights abuses in the country. Speaking at the launch, Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “There are 30 Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s hard to think of any that are not being violated in North Korea.”

The report, by the charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide, examines changes in the last decade to the communist country’s economy, human rights record and media consumption. One of its key findings is that the motivation for defection has changed. In the past, people fled the country because they were starving whereas now they want to leave North Korea to find freedom and new opportunities.


Appeal to the Reds
Bishop John Arnold of Salford is among the signatories to a letter urging Manchester United football club to raise the wages of its lowest paid staff. The letter, organised by Citizens UK, notes that some match day staff whose commitment has helped to build the club’s reputation earn less than £7 per hour. “We are Manchester Citizens,” the letter says, “from faith, educational and community institutions, as well as parents, parishioners, students, local residents and football fans. We’re asking you to do the right thing on behalf of the lowest paid staff at Manchester United football club ... when football players are receiving a king’s ransom in wages every week.” Fr William Pearsall, of Manchester Universities’ Catholic chaplaincy, and the Director of Caritas Salford, Mark Wiggin, are also signatories.


The Irish Diocese of Killala has begun its first “listening process” ahead of a diocesan assembly in June. The moderator of the process, Fr Brendan Hoban, has pledged that “what people say will be heard, and whatever is agreed at the assembly will be acted upon”. Speaking to The Tablet,  Fr Hoban, who is also a spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests, admitted that “many dioceses have held listening processes but the people have not been heard”.

The success of the Killala experience, he said, would depend on trust. He expressed the hope that Catholics old and young, practising and non-practising, across Killala’s 22 parishes, would complete a questionnaire that is being circulated so that “we can create the drive to take the proposals on board and the commitment to make them a reality”.


An exhibition on the life and legacy of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of Westminster from 1865 to 1892, is to be held in March at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London. It will be opened by a talk on Manning by Westminster diocesan archivist, Fr Nicholas Schofield, on 5 March. Manning celebrated his first Mass at Farm Street.

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