Vatican considers atheism: Monopoly of virtue refuted

It is an unfortunate fact that religious extremism, anti-religious extremism too, has been at the root of tremendous bloodshed.

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Man charged over graffiti at Scottish mosque

The vandalism at Elgin Mosque happened at around 11pm on Monday.

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Knife crime leading the young down disastrous blind alley – archbishop

Diarmuid Martin said he was shocked and saddened by recent stabbing incidents in Ireland.

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Online dating blamed for closure of Knock Marriage Introductions service after 50 years

The Knock Marriage Introductions service, which helped form almost 1,000 couples, is closing after 50 years.

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Former mayor says plans for Kilkenny mosque rejected over traffic management, not religion

A former mayor of Kilkenny has said that opposition to the planned mosque and Islamic centre in the city was not an issue of religion, but one of traffic management.

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Banned American preacher calls Charlie Flanagan 'a wicked and evil person'

The controversial preacher who has previously expressed extreme anti-gay and anti-Semitic views has become the first person ever banned from Ireland by exclusion powers dating from 1999.

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Extremist atrocities: Religion can be used to mask hatred

When Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was released from a Californian hospital on Sunday, he said it was a miracle he was not dead and that “senseless hate” killings provoked by religious differences must stop.

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Why Christians are still being persecuted

The principle of religious tolerance or liberty has only been acknowledged by the Catholic Church since 1965. It is not even an aspiration outside the West, says TP O’Mahony

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Bust of Pope Clement XIV by Kilkenny sculptor to be auctioned in New York

The work is estimated to fetch up to 180,000 dollars at auction.

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Dalai Lama back home after treatment in hospital for chest infection

Hundreds welcomed him home as he described the ailment as ‘a little bit serious’.

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Vatican darkened for poignant Easter ritual

Pope Francis led faithful on a procession symbolising Christians’ belief that Jesus triumphed over death by resurrection.

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Life of Brian at 40: an assertion of individual freedom that still resonates

This year is the 40th anniversary of the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The film met with instant controversy in 1979 and was banned in Ireland, Norway and parts of Britain. In the US, protesters gathered outside cinemas where it aired.

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Retired pope Benedict wades into clergy sex abuse debate

Retired pope Benedict XVI has published an analysis on the Catholic Church's clergy sex abuse scandal, blaming it on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and church laws that protected priests.

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Dalai Lama recovering fast from chest infection

A spokesman said the Tibetan spiritual leader is likely to return soon to his HQ in the the north Indian hill town of Dharamshala.

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Stranger things: Looking back at the year the statues moved

In 1985, statues around the country began ‘moving’. The maker of new documentary says the phenomenon was a welcome diversion in tough times, reports Áilin Quinlan

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Dalai Lama in hospital with chest infection

The 83-year-old was said to be feeling better now.

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It’s funny how the markers of a childhood steeped in religion still emerge occasionally

As a child growing up in Ireland, being Catholic was as much a part of my identity as being Irish was. I didn’t give either a great deal of thought, nor felt the need to interrogate my Irishness or my Catholicism. I accepted it as the cultural landscape in which I lived; the road signs marked as Gaelige, the grottos dotted throughout the countryside — both were given equal importance.

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Secrecy law on abuse provokes suspicions

One of the reasons that the Catholic Church no longer enjoys the influence it once did is that it, as an institution and as individuals, routinely protected paedophiles to avert scandal.

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Taoiseach: Ethos of public funded hospital should reflect society as a whole not just one religion

Church-run hospitals are being told to remove crucifixes if a patient asks.

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Australian Cardinal George Pell to spend his first night in prison

A judge revoked his bail and said he will deliver his sentence on March 13.

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Vatican says cardinal Pell's abuse convictions are ‘painful’ and shocking

The verdict was handed down in December but publication about the trial was banned until now.

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I turned to new age spirituality to appease my need for something sacred

I WAS a religious child, convinced the devil was watching my every move, eager to entice me into the greatest sin I could conceive of at that time — stealing penny sweets. (I never did, by the way. A jelly snake didn’t seem worth spending an eternity hanging out with Satan.)

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In God’s name? The politicisation of religion and potentially deadly consequences

TP O’Mahony charts the politicisation of religion and the potentially deadly consequences.

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Baptist group refused permission to use shed as chapel

Members of a small Baptist church in west Clare will have to seek a new place of worship after being refused planning permission to use a shed attached to a residential home to assemble for prayer.

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A New Year message from church leaders

One of the major themes of the Christmas season is the message of the coming of Light into the darkness of our world.

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Holy water flown from Clare well to ill child in America

Holy water from a tiny well in Clare was transported across the Atlantic Ocean in the cockpit of an Aer Lingus flight on Sunday, to help a sick child in America.

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Letter written by Albert Einstein doubting God's existence auctioned for $2.9m

A letter written by Albert Einstein in which he doubts the existence of God has been auctioned for $2.9m in New York.

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Tribunal to decide if veganism is religious belief

Jordi Casamitjana said he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns about its pension fund investments.

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Founder of UCD could be canonised next year

The founder of University College Dublin looks set to become a saint.

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War between science and religion is far from inevitable

In his 2015 book Faith versus Fact, the biologist and polemicist Jerry Coyne launched one of his many attacks on religion in the name of science: science and religion, he wrote, are “incompatible in precisely the same way and in the same sense that rationality is incompatible with irrationality”.

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Pope Francis denounces gossiping as he says tongues ‘kill like a knife’

The pontiff made his remarks as he discussed the commandment not to bear false witness.

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Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

The European Parliament has made an offer to protect Asia Bibi’s family.

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Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan to leave country

The country’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned Asia Bibi’s 2010 conviction for insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

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'We're grateful to God,' says husband of woman who escapes death penalty over blasphemy

Asia Bibi had been held at an undisclosed location for security reasons and is now expected to leave the country.

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Priest claims that Holy Communion is being taken from churches for Satanic use

Ireland's only self-confessed 'Ghostbusting' hermit priest has claimed that consecrated hosts are being stolen from Irish churches for use in Satanic rituals.

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'Current article is from another era' - Sinn Féin urge 'Yes' vote in blasphemy referendum

Sinn Féin are calling for a 'Yes' vote in the upcoming blasphemy referendum.

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Priest: Communions 'often more like a pantomime than a sacrament'

Holy Communion is being used as an excuse to party, according to a Portlaoise priest.

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Atheist Ireland: Referendum on blasphemy about freedom of speech

Irish Atheists will today launch their campaign for a Yes vote in October's referendum on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution.

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Russian Orthodox Church threatens to sever ties with worldwide community

The Russian church has opposed a decision to give greater autonomy to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.

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Update: Carlow priest reverses decision to scrap communion day after parents' anger

A Carlow parish has scrapped the communion day for children in three schools, sparking anger amongst parents.

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Referendum Commission urges people to register to vote ahead of deadline

The Referendum Commission has launched a campaign, urging people to ensure they are registered to vote in the upcoming referendum on blasphemy.

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Pope wraps up Baltics trip with visit to secular Estonia

Pope Francis is wrapping up his pilgrimage to the Baltics with a stop in Estonia, often considered one of the least religious countries in the world.

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Legacy of Pope Francis will be inaction, not reform, if he fails to tackle abuse

TP O’Mahony warns that a papacy that promised Church reform will remain mired in controversy unless Francis ensures accountability for the mishandling of abuse cases.

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Pope summons bishops to talks on tackling sex abuse by priests

The February 21-24 meeting at the Vatican is believed to be the first of its kind.

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'Time to opt out of the charade that is communion and confirmation'

As the dust settles from the Pope’s visit and children head back to school, it's time for more parents to have the courage of their convictions and opt out of the charade that is communion and confirmation. Otherwise, we will never achieve a secular Ireland, suggests Susan O'Shea.

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Donohoe wants less religion in health and education

The Government wants to further reduce the role of religion in health and education systems, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

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In Pictures: Muslims across the world mark Eid-al-Adha festival

Prayers were mixed with treats and toys for children.

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Readers blog: If the Catholic faith is not to your satisfaction ... leave

The 2016 census reports that 78% of Ireland's population identify as Roman Catholic.

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Harris: Religion will not determine health policy

Increasing access to and availability of contraception is and will remain public health policy, insisted Health Minister Simon Harris, responding to a bishop’s comments about birth control.

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Can you be Christian and support the death penalty?

Pope Francis has declared the death penalty “inadmissible.” This means that the death penalty should not be used in any circumstance. It also alters the Catholic Catechism, a compendium of Catholic doctrine, and is now binding on Roman Catholics throughout the world.

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How the Catholic Church came to oppose birth control

July marked the 50th anniversary of the landmark “Humanae Vitae,” Pope Paul VI’s strict prohibition against artificial contraception, issued in the aftermath of the development of the birth control pill.

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Reader's Blog: Education in faith is an imperative for Christians

In her letter denouncing the Catholic ethos governing hospitals and schools — ‘Time is now to separate Church and State’ (Irish Examiner, July 27) — Bríd Smith TD loses sight of their value.

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What Richard Dawkins doesn’t get about the Muslim call to prayer

“Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval [sic] cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding ‘Allahu Akhbar.’ Or is that just my cultural upbringing?”

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More than 15,000, some bare foot, expected for Reek Sunday Croagh Patrick pilgrimage

The Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary is leading the annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage which has been a feature of the Irish Catholic Calendar for the last 1,500 years.

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Pope accepts resignation of US cardinal after sex abuse claims

Theodore McCarrick has been ordered to conduct a ‘life of prayer and penance’ even before a church trial is held.

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First female president elected to International Federation of Catholic Universities

A woman has been elected as president of the International Federation of Catholic Universities for the first time.

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50 years on, we still live with fall-out of Church’s anti-contraception doctrine

On the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s publication of ‘Humanae Vitae’ — which opposed all form of artificial contraception — TP O’Mahony looks back at an ill-conceived document which not only has caused enormous harm to papal authority itself but has also been the source of worry, stress, and misery for millions of Catholic couples around the globe.

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Mary McAleese brands Catholic teaching on homosexuality 'evil'

Former Irish President Mary McAleese has warned that the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is "evil."

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Parish priest sees the Church 'dying' and praises Minister Madigan for 'taking leadership'

"I see [the] Church dying...I mean all we have to do is look at the statistics - most men, and it's an exclusively male order, are now in their 70s."

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