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Fides has named the 37 Church workers, priests and religious killed in 2009.

Cardinal Walter Kasper says that the papal Mass at Coventry will not be “easy for a German Pope because Coventry is a symbol of the Second World War”.

More than two million people saw the Turin Shroud during its exposition from April 10 to May 23.

The Catholic world marked a day of prayer for the Church in China yesterday (video).

Benedict XVI received President Denis Sassou N’Guesso of the Republic of Congo on Monday (video).

The organisers of World Youth Day in Madrid next year are seeking 20,000 volunteers to support the expected two million participants (video).

A man who once locked a priest out of his own church is to be ordained a deacon.

The Maronites of Cyprus are eagerly awaiting Pope Benedict’s visit to the island next month.

Barrister Neil Addison courts arrest with his post on the arrest of Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine.

Peter Jennings is dismayed by John Cornwell’s controversial book on Cardinal Newman.

Fresh from a skirmish with Robert George, Michael Sean Winters finds something to praise in the Princeton professor’s work.

Carl Olson and Moyra Doorly debate the “hierarchy of truths”.

Edward Oakes SJ goes another round with the New Atheists.

Depaul UK, a charity with close links to the Church, has created a hit iPhone app giving users their very own homeless person to look after.

And the Vatican has apologised after its television channel wrongly identified a Bulgarian delegation meeting the Pope as Macedonian.

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The Foreign Office has ordered members of its papal visit team to undergo “urgent diversity training” following the leaking of a memo mocking the Pope.

Catherine Pepinster explains the background to the Foreign Office fiasco.

Andrew Brown, Neil Addison and Rob Vischer react to the Macfarlane ruling on religious discrimination. Simon Sarmiento has more reaction.

A 73-year-old priest has been killed in India.

The French Catholic Church is seeking candidates for priesthood on Facebook.

Philip Jenkins considers how the abuse crisis will change the Catholic Church.

Fr Raymond de Souza goes another round with Christopher Hitchens.

The Economist tours the Vatican Secret Archives.

Professor Eamon Duffy tries to define Anglican patrimony at a conference on Anglicanorum coetibus.

Joanna Bogle hails the new English translation of the Mass.

Matthew Archbold says ultrasounds will prove to be “the Rosa Parks of abortion”.

And the Church has finally done something to make Andrew Sullivan proud.

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Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican official in charge of abuse investigations, has given a rare and outspoken interview to the Times of Malta.

The bishops of Malta have issued a pastoral letter ahead of Pope Benedict’s visit to the island on Saturday.

Benedict XVI will visit Cyprus on July 4-6.

Richard Dawkins has distanced himself from a Sunday Times report claiming that he will arrest Pope Benedict during his September visit to Britain. Lawyer Neil Addison says he is relying on “a rubbish legal argument“. Law professor Kal Raustiala disagrees.

BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme says Archbishop Vincent Nichols is “taking legal advice” over an “unwarranted slur” in a Times report on Saturday (audio from 26:08).

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph has reported on an abuse case in the Diocese of Leeds.

AP claimed on Friday that the future Pope had delayed punishing a paedophile priest. Author Phil Lawler, lawyer Jeffrey Lena, journalist John Norton and priest Fr Joseph Fessio debunk the claim.

The PR guru who guided the US bishops out of their abuse crisis says he is “in agony” watching the Vatican fail to communicate effectively.

Ronald Goldfarb, a Washington attorney and expert on confidentiality law, argues that the Church must lift the seal of the confessional.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Alon Goshen-Gottstein says critics should have read Fr Raniero Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily more carefully.

Fr Z unveils a logo to mark biased coverage of Pope Benedict and the abuse scandal.

Fr Philip Powell, OP, explains what lay Catholics can do in response to the scandals.

And the Onion makes a refreshingly inoffensive joke about Pope Benedict.

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Pope Benedict’s landmark meeting with the Irish bishops got underway yesterday (video).

We are led to believe the Pope has done nothing about priestly abuse, says David Quinn, when, in fact, he has said and done quite a lot.

The Diocese of Middlesbrough has appealed against a ruling that it was responsible for physical and sexual abuse at a Catholic children’s home.

Neil Addison, a barrister and expert on religious freedom, names the best articles to have come out the Pope Equality Bill furore.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster received an honorary doctoral degree from Birmingham City University yesterday.

The theologian Fr Aidan Nichols OP answers the critics of the Catholic Church in his new book.

John Smeaton of SPUC urges the English and Welsh bishops to “cease their collaboration on pro-life/pro-family issues with the Government“.

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has issued some “important clarifications” of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Radio Prague profiles the city’s new archbishop, while the Prague Daily Monitor says he hopes to settle long-running Church-state disputes.

Established missionaries in Haiti are suspicious of the wave of newcomers, the New York Times reports.

Bishops from across the Americas are gathering in Canada to discuss the challenges of priestly life.

American Catholics of all ages believe moral values are in decline, a new survey says.

Michael Sean Winters hails the creators of a new billboard campaign in Georgia linking abortion and race.

The Church is to advise priests not to perform weddings on cruise ships.

David Blackburn of the Spectator says L’Osservatore Romano’s list of “pop milestones” is surprisingly hip.

And Yahoo! Sports hails the champion speedskater who became a nun.

Catholic barrister: Crucifix ruling ‘an extraordinarily wide decision’

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Neil Addison, a British barrister, has made the following comment on the Italian crucifix ruling:

There is at present no judgment in English concerning the European Court of Human Rights decision in the Italian crucifix case however the ECHR has issued a press release which I reproduce below. This seems to me to be an extraordinarily wide decision which could be used, for example, to prevent state schools putting on nativity plays or even preventing Muslim teachers wearing hijabs in Schools, in the case of Dahlab v Switzerland in 2001 the ECHR defined the hijab as a “religious symbol” so there are a lot of implications in saying that religious symbols cannot be displayed in schools. What is most surprising is that the ECHR did not apply its own concept of ‘Margin of Appreciation’ and recognise that this type of question should be left to individual countries to decide. In effect the ECHR has extended to the whole of Europe the French concept of strict separation between religion and state schools which is contrary to the different educational traditions and systems in the separate nations of Europe.

We will have to see whether the ECHR may overrule itself on an appeal but it would have been interesting if this case had occured before the Irish voted on the Lisbon Treaty. Before anyone emails me pointing out that the ECHR is not part of the EU, yes I know, however the Lisbon Treaty contains a Charter of Fundamental Rights Articles 10 and 14 of which conform to the provisions considered by the ECHR in this case. Article 52.3 of the Lisbon Treaty Charter of Rights says that where the Charter is equivalent to the ECHR it shall be interpreted in acordance with the ECHR decisons so this decision on the Crucifix is, in effect now part of EU law which is binding on the 27 members of the EU. I will be interested to see how Cyprus, Malta, Greece and Poland react when they realise the implications of this case. Incidentally the Lisbon Treaty Charter of Rights has 50 separate rights, the USA has managed reasonably well for 200 years with a Bill of Rights of 10 articles but thats the EU for you.

Addison is an expert on religion law and national director of the Thomas More Legal Centre.

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Written by Luke Coppen

November 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Posted in secularism

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