Ethical Code of the Sisters of Charity Health Service
This week John Hamill obtained a copy of the Religious Sisters of Charity Health Service Philosophy and Ethical Code under the Freedom of Information Act. As well as explicitly forbidding abortion, this Code is couched in anachronistic language such as couples ‘being united in the covenant of marriage’ and ‘bypassing the normal marital act’.The Saint Vincent’s Hospital Group says that this Code is no longer active and will not apply to the new National Maternity Hospital. But the Code says that, with respect to any partnership of co-operation or source of funding that will affect the Sisters of Charity healthcare mission, the ethical identity and the catholic ethos of our services must be respected and not compromised.
The State should not cede even indirect control or influence over essential public services to a charity associated with the Catholic church, which has an appalling record of human rights abuses and an ethos that opposes reproductive rights for women. The State should remove, not reinforce, the traditional privileges that religious bodies have in our healthcare provision.
You can help us to campaign on this and other secular issues by joining Atheist Ireland as a member, or by asking anybody who you think may be interested in joining us to do so. We are an entirely voluntary body with no paid staff, and we depend on our members to continue our work. You can join Atheist Ireland here.
– Secular Sunday Editorial Team
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To broaden and strengthen our campaigns, Atheist Ireland have undertaken to make more use of the Irish language.
We are looking to assemble a group of volunteers, to help with:
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We are in the process of translating policy documents at the moment, and we need some help with translating and proofreading. If you would like to assist with this effort, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Atheist Ireland News
Revealed: The Philosophy and Ethical Code of the Religious Sisters of Charity Health Service
This week John Hamill obtained a copy of the Religious Sisters of Charity Health Service Philosophy and Ethical Code under the Freedom of Information Act. The Saint Vincent’s Hospital Group had refused to give it to him, but John appealed and the Office of the Information Commissioner overruled the hospital.
As well as explicitly forbidding abortion, this Code is couched in anachronistic language such as couples ‘being united in the covenant of marriage’ and ‘bypassing the normal marital act’.
The Saint Vincent’s Hospital Group says that this Code is no longer active and will not apply to the new National Maternity Hospital. But the Code includes the following statement:
“We hold that with respect to any partnership of co-operation or source of funding that will affect our healthcare mission, the ethical identity and the catholic ethos of our services must be respected. Our healthcare services will participate and co-operate insofar as our Philosophy, Mission, and Ethical Code are not compromised.”
So what are these principles that must not be compromised? They include:
“We respect the sacredness of human life… This belongs to all persons from conception to their natural end… We believe that each and every person is unique and made in the image and likeness of God…” (page 1)
“All those who choose to work in our healthcare facilities are made aware of and asked to comply with the core values as expressed in this Mission Statement and Ethical Code” (page 2)
“In our Healthcare Service, healthcare is provided in the context of a Catholic ethos, and is interpreted in accordance with its teaching tradition…” (page 4)
“Direct abortion is never permitted since it constitutes the intentional killing of the unborn. Also any procedure, the direct purpose of which is to destroy the embryo at any stage of its development, either by preventing it from implantation, or removing it from the womb before it is viable, or by any other procedure is never permitted.” (page 11)
“Direct sterilisation of either men or women is not permitted in our healthcare service when its sole immediate objective is to prevent or eliminate fertility. These are procedures which our healthcare institutions may not promote.” (page 11)
“We recognise the dignity of a man and woman as spouses, who united in the covenant of marriage are called to be parents of equal dignity to them… We consider that any means of assisting conception which cannot correct the condition of the couple’s infertility and which bypass the normal marital act in which conception occurs are not acceptable in our healthcare services.” (page 11)
The State should not cede even indirect control or influence over essential public services to a charity associated with the Catholic church, which has an appalling record of human rights abuses and an ethos that opposes reproductive rights for women.
Whatever assurances it might seem to give, the Catholic church simply cannot be trusted. State tribunals found that its Bishops positively lied to and deliberately misled them to cover up crimes.
We should not trust any deal approved by the Vatican, which is the headquarters of a global religion that poses as a quasi-State when it suits its purposes. Its primary mission is not to provide healthcare, but to evangelise people into Catholicism.
The State should remove, not reinforce, the traditional privileges that religious bodies have in our healthcare provision.
You can read the full Philosophy and Ethical Code here
This week Atheist Ireland had a letter published in the Irish Times
Letter to the Irish Times – Schools and preparation for sacraments
Sir, – Reports that the Catholic Church in Dublin is to start moving the preparation of children for sacraments out of the classroom are welcome, but they are exaggerated when compared to the full policy document published by the archdiocese (“Church set to move children’s preparation for sacraments from classroom to parish”, News, September 17th).
The full policy document says that schools will continue to “educate children for the sacraments”, with “content specific to” each sacrament being “a two-year process”. Whatever this means, it seems to have quite an overlap with preparing children for sacraments.
The policy document also contains a statement that highlights the double standards of the Catholic Church with regard to the role of parents. It says: “Parents have an irreplaceable role as primary agents in their children’s faith life. Parish and school seek to support the primary role of the parents in partnership with them.”
State-funded schools should also apply this principle to parents who are atheists or are members of minority religious faiths, but of course they don’t. Atheist Ireland continues to campaign for secular State-funded schools that treat everybody equally regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs. Schools should teach, and churches should preach. – Yours, etc, Read online…
Six years ago this week, Atheist Ireland addressed the UN Human Rights Council. We raised blasphemy, abortion, and religious discrimination in schools. Ireland has changed a lot since then. The blasphemy and abortion bans are gone. We are still campaigning for secular schools.
Calling concerned teachers
If you are a teacher and concerned about unwanted religious influence contact Chris at email@example.com
List of Atheist Ireland Submissions
Buy this book “Is My Family Odd About Gods?”
**Schools Special Offer**
Atheist Ireland are offering the book ‘Is my family odd about gods‘ free (excluding postage and packaging). This means that you can get this book for the total price of 10 euro. This offer is aimed at families with school going children, who would like to read this book. This offer is limited to one book per family unit and for postage within Ireland only. Read more…
Have you noticed that your school and your teachers may tell you one thing about religion, while some of your friends and family may have different ideas about god?
If you think that this is a little odd, then this book is for you. Buy this book here.
Lessons about Atheism
Atheist Ireland has published a set of free lesson plans about atheism for children aged 8 and up. We welcome feedback, which we will use to develop the lessons. You can download the lesson plans
Be Good without Gods
Atheist Ireland ‘Good Without Gods’ Kiva team members have made loans of $37,650 to 1315 entrepreneurs in the developing world. You can join the team here. Before you chose a loan, make sure you do not support religious groups. You can check the loan partner’s social and secular rating here.
Atheist Ireland’s ‘notme.ie‘ is a place where people can publicly renounce the religion of their childhood. Currently there are 1949 symbolic defections. Many share their reasons for making a public symbolic defection which you can read here.
Petition on Schools Equality PACT
Atheist Ireland currently runs one petition – The Schools Equality PACT. This seeks to reform religious discrimination in state-funded schools. Currently this stands at 4,112 Help us reach it’s target of 5000. Please sign and share this petition if you haven’t already done so. Thank you.
Tell us what you think
Have you any feedback that you would like to give us on the Secular Sunday newsletter. What are we getting right? What could we improve on? Is there something you would like to see included? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider joining or re-joining Atheist Ireland
Atheist Ireland is an entirely volunteer run organisation. We receive no grants or government funding to continue our campaign work. We rely entirely on membership fess and donations.
Annual membership is nominal; €25 waged, €10 unwaged/student and €40 for family membership. Please consider becoming a member. Membership means:
- You can help to build an ethical and secular Ireland.
- You have a say in determining policy and electing officers.
- You can attend members meetings and our AGM.
- You will have access to our members only Facebook group
- Your membership fee will go towards supporting our many campaigns.
You can join Atheist Ireland here.
Thank you for your continued support
Atheist Ireland Committee
Opinion and Media
Material on atheism, secularism, human rights,politics,science etc. collected from media and the blogosphere from Ireland and beyond; used without permission, compensation, liability, guarantee or implied endorsement. We aim to include a variety of diverse opinions and viewpoints.
Blogs & Opinions
Mixed-raced people had ‘childhood stolen’ in Irish institutions & redress must be extended, UN says
By Órla Ryan
HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS from the United Nations have criticised the Irish Government’s response to the “systemic racism” faced by mixed-race people who passed through State and religious-run institutions between the 1940s and 1990s. Read more…
Northern Ireland’s atheists: ‘We’re a sizeable section of the population’
By Freya McClements
Catholics and Protestants often make headlines in Northern Ireland but atheists rarely do. “I heard it on the news about these Protestants who were becoming non-religious, and I am one of those, I fit that profile,” says Sheena Bradley.. Read more…
McAleese calls on pope to remove ‘offensive sexist’ document from Vatican website
By Patsy McGarry
Former president Mary McAleese has called on Pope Francis to remove “awful material” from a Vatican website set up in 2016 which she said “offends all women and the creator who made them”. Read more…
NI Census shows one in six are non-religious – nearly doubling in just 10 years
By Humanists UK
The 2021 Northern Ireland Census, released today, shows the number of people identifying as non-religious has almost doubled. When asked ‘What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?’, 330,983 ticked None, compared to 183,164 in 2011 – an 80% increase. That represents a growth in the share of the population from 10% to 17%. Read more…
Blasphemy laws, not books, belong on the bonfire
By The National Secular Society
During Banned Books Week, Helen Nicholls examines the impact of blasphemy laws on those who write about religion – both in the past and today. In the Middle Ages, it was not only books that were burnt but also authors and publishers. Anyone connected with a heretical or blasphemous work could potentially be burned at the stake. Read online…
Non-religious are hardline, easygoing or spiritual, says UK thinktank
By Harriet Sherwood
People who are not religious tend to fall into three groups: hardline, easygoing, and those who are spiritual while rejecting organised faith, according to a study. Its findings come ahead of new census data on religious identity due this autumn, which is expected to show a further jump in the proportion of the population that describe themselves as non-religious. Read more…
Iran protests: Mahsa Amini’s death puts morality police under spotlight
By BBC News
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by Iran’s so-called morality police has sparked angry protests, with women burning their headscarves in a defiant act of resistance against the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code and those enforcing it. Read more…
America’s Christian majority is on track to end
By Michael Levitt
Eliza Campbell had spent her entire life as a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was born in Utah, a state in which the majority of residents belong to the church, and attended Brigham Young University, a private institution owned and operated by the church. Read more…
If you are a blogger or vlogger writing or talking about atheism, secularism, ethics, skepticism, human rights etc. and would like us to include your work here please email the link to email@example.com
Podcasts, Videos and Interviews
Do you host an Irish-based podcast on atheism, secularism, science, skepticism, human rights etc.? Let us know and we will link to it here.
News and views from Ireland and around the world. Sharing is not an endorsement.