Tag Archives: freedom of religion

Travelodge removes Bibles from its Hotel Rooms

Travelodge, the budget hotel chain in the UK, Ireland and Spain has announced that it has removed Bibles from its hotel rooms. The chain claims that it has made the decision “in order not to discriminate against any religion”, although it appears that there had been no complaints previously about the presence of Bibles in the rooms.

CU Chairman Robert Rigby commented “This action is at once bizarre and sinister. The Bible is a hallmark of our European and indeed to some extent, our global culture. Not only do millions believe it to contain the Word of God, but it is also well on the way to being the best-selling book of all time, with over 100 million copies sold each year. For countless people, the Bible is a source of encouragement, comfort and indeed prayer. It contains some of the most stirring accounts of the history of a people’s growing relationship with God, as well as pieces of the most sublime love poetry ever written, such as the Song of Songs and those great pieces of description of the human drama in relation to God – the psalms. Such a move on the part of Travelodge is likely to do little to bolster its budget image , displaying as it does a corporate view and appreciation of strictly secular values, over the more human and emotional aspects of its clientele and others”.

ZENIT, the Online Catholic Newswire Service published a report on this issue, following the Catholic Union’s statement.

Guidelines for Hospital Chaplaincies – a response from the Catholic Union

Following the recent announcement of proposals for guidelines across the NHS in England & Wales, regarding the role and status of hospital chaplains, CU Chairman Robert Rigby has written to the Health Secretary, below:

Catholic Union Letter to Secretary of State for Heath Aug 14

Readers may also be interested in the enclosed article from the Tablet (7th August 2014), by Bishop Tom Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool.

 

Catholic Schools Admissions Policy Debate in the House of Commons April 2014

Members and others may be interested in the following extract from Hansard, which covers a recent debate in the House of Commons on the admissions policy for Catholic (and other faith) Schools.

Catholic Schools admission debate 30 Apr 2014

The information and exchanges within the debate will provide useful material for anyone involved or interested in the provision of Catholic education in this country.  School Governors in particular are being asked to take on an increasingly visible role within the admissions and administrative processes of schools which they govern and will find the debate useful as additional source material.

Catholic Union says Religious Education Council report “inadequate”

The following press release was issued by the Catholic Union today, Wednesday 18th December 2013

A report on religious education by the Religious Education Council was criticised as “unrepresentative” and “inadequate” at a meeting of religious organisations and parliamentarians at the Palace of Westminster today.

The meeting consisted of those representing the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical and Free Church faiths.

“Very few mainstream faith groups were properly consulted for this report and yet it claims to be representative and to influence the RE curriculum”, said James Bogle, Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.

“Clearly the minister, Michael Gove, was misled into thinking otherwise, since he claims that it has been endorsed widely. As our meeting today shows, that is not so and there is considerable dissent from the report’s view.”

“The 1944 Education Act and the Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education have provided an excellent framework for providing an education that families and communities can support and that promotes harmony and tolerance,” said Mr Bogle, “yet, without properly consulting the statutory bodies, this report claims to speak for mainstream faith communities whilst largely excluding them.”

The new working group will be producing an alternative report to submit to the All Party Parliamentary Group which will receive it in the New Year.

The new report is expected to say that Religious Education must be informed by the actual faith and practice of faith communities and should not be confused with a museum or “gold-fish bowl” approach that looks at religion as one might look at animals in a zoo rather looking at religion as a living faith.

“Religion is fundamental to the development of a young person’s culture and identity, their character and their ability to relate to others and wider society” said Mr Bogle.

He added “those who think that secular humanism is simply a neutral approach to religion overlook the fact that secularism is, itself, a belief system. To impose this belief-system upon faith communities is neither tolerant, nor respectful, nor just. Moreover, religious education is not merely religious studies.”

The new working group expects to produce an interim report in the New Year and then, later, a final report. The group will also be writing to the Secretary of State to express its dissatisfaction with the Religious Education Council’s report.

CU Vice Chairman becomes President of The International Federation of Una Voce

Jamie BogleWe offer our hearty congratulations to Catholic Union Vice Chairman, Jamie Bogle, on his election as President of Una Voce.  The International Federation of Una Voce works to uphold the living Tradition of the Church especially through the the Traditional Liturgy of the Roman Rite.  Further details can be found here

Catholic Union Chairman Robert Rigby commented “I offer my heartiest congratulations to Jamie on this important appointment.  I know he will bring to Una Voce, the same spirit and enthusiasm, he shows in his work with the Catholic Union and I hope that in due course the two organisations might work on related topics, which seek the furtherance of the Common Good in today’s society.”

Summary of the Parliamentary & Public Affairs Committee 22nd October 2013

Chairman’s Announcements

The Committee for 2013-2014 was announced.  The Officers of the Committee remain as before, although Angela Gracey has retired and Rosalind Bearcroft, together with Stuart Sexton, is vice chair.  There are presently three vacancies and names were sought to fill these.

Lord Falconer is now in the Shadow Cabinet so will not be advancing an assisted dying bill for now, although something akin to it might be put forward in Scotland.

Same Sex Marriage

C4M intend to keep the fight alive on this issue and not let politicians off the hook.  The Committee’s view was that this issue is now behind us.

End of Life Care

The Catholic Medical Association has put out a statement on end of life care and Dr Tony Cole was congratulated by the Committee for all his hard work in helping to bring about the demise of the Liverpool Care Pathway.  NHS Trusts are looking at end of life procedures.  An end of life care Bill of Rights is now under considerations by such groups as Living & Dying Well.  There was a discussion on gender-based abortion – in the majority of cases these are undertaken given the supposed unstable mental state of the mother.  Failure to prosecute for such abortions was felt to be an ethical, rather than a judicial matter.

All Party Group on international freedom of religion or belief

This group has written a letter signed by a number of MPs, asking the Government to appoint an ambassador for international freedom of religion or belief.

Proposed anti-slavery Bill

This welcome proposal seeks to disrupt gang trafficking amongst men and women and also to offer some form of help to the victims.  The Bishops would be meeting with Frank Field MP to discuss this further.

Parliamentary Lobbying Bill

“Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-14”. It was intended to limit the ability influence elections. It would limit spend and increase the scope of activities covered.

The Bill:

  • introduces a statutory register of consultant lobbyists and establishes a Registrar to enforce the registration requirements;
  • regulates more closely election campaign spending by those not standing for election or registered as political parties ;
  • Strengthens the legal requirements placed on trade unions in relation to their obligation to keep their list of members up to date. It could have a chilling effect on some charities.

“One of Us” Campaign

This campaign aims to acquire a million signatures with a view to opening a debate in the European Parliament on ending funding from research using embryonic stem cells (we can’t destroy embryos because they are “one of us”).

“The Narrow Gate” – A Reflection by the Archbishop of Westminster

Following the passing of legislation regarding same sex marriage, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev’d Vincent Nichols, has published a reflection on marriage and its true meaning, as well as the Church’s view on civil partnerships and the consequences of same sex marriage.

 

The full text is available here