Davina William looks at a snapshot of today's major stories, including the confirmed use of sarin nerve gas in Syria's civil war; changes in the Labour Party's top ranks; modified Government restrictions to the snapper catch; and Pope Francis' call for the Catholic Church to welcome remarried divorcees home.
From the Rhema news centre for Shine TV.
Pope Francis has called for another way of treating divorcees who remarry - a thorny issue since Catholics who wed a second time are currently not allowed to receive Holy Communion at mass.
The Pope says the Catholic faithful should feel at home in parishes and those who have remarried should be treated with justice.
However, two canon experts say this does not imply the church is overturning its laws or practice of denying communion to Catholics, who divorce and remarry.
In July, during his flight to Rome from Rio de Janeiro the Pope had told journalists that "the Orthodox have a different practice." They "give a second possibility; they permit" a second marriage, the pope had said, giving the impression that the Catholic practice could undergo modification.
However, Cardinal Raymond L Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, who spoke September 16th at a renewal course on marriage law, told Catholic News Service that talking about the differences between the way the Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church handle the breakup of marriages "is a discussion that's been going on for decades."
He said he took the pope's remarks to journalists in July to mean that "the Holy Father is simply saying that this discussion should be taken seriously."
According to Catholic Church teachings, divorced Catholics can receive the sacraments, whereas Catholics who have been divorced and remarried in a civil ceremony, cannot.
CNS says in the book, "Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio" by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, the future pope and then-cardinal of Buenos Aires said, while remarried Catholics cannot receive the sacraments, there were other ways they could be part of the church community that were in conformity with church teaching.
CatholicMatch Institute says divorced and remarried Catholics have in large part walked away from the Catholic Church - but the Pope is calling for them to be integrated back into parish life.
- RBG News/Newstalkzb
Davina William presents today's news, including the instalment of returning ALP leader and Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd; proposals to boost the NZ Defence Force's cyber capabilities; the US Supreme Court ruling on federal benefits for homosexual spouses; and the shock defeats of tennis greats at Wimbledon by lower-ranked players.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
A senior British Conservative MP has been accused of undermining marriage after she suggested it is not necessarily “important” for couples to remain faithful.
Baroness Stowell, who represents the Conservatives in the House of Lords on issues of equality, said it was “open to each couple” whether it was necessary to be faithful each other, according to the Telegraph.
Her comments came in defence of the Government’s call to abandon a clause in same sex marriage laws that would include adultery as legitimate grounds for divorce.
Stowell contended that law should not prescribe fidelity within marriages, but rather it should be up to couples to decide for themselves whether cheating matters.
However, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Cary critised the comments, saying they erode the basic understanding of marriage as a “committed union to the exclusion of all others”, according to The Telegraph.
“It fails to understand the hurt and damage which infidelity causes to husband or wife and, above all, children in marriage breakdown,” said Lord Cary.
The government’s decision to omit the notion of adultery from the bill, stems from legal difficulties in defining what acts constitute sex.
However, adultery remains the main reason for divorce in England and Wales, cited in 17,000 cases each year, according to a report by The Telegraph.
In New Zealand, the law is far less prescriptive since the passing of the Family Proceedings Act 1980.
Couples can now file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences after two years’ separation.
Prior to 1980, the grounds for legal divorce were far more specific and included, adultery, habitual drunkenness and cruelty.
Recent years have seen a steady decline in the number of divorces in New Zealand, with an average 8,737 per year.
Same-sex marriage will be legal from August the 19th.
The Marriage Amendment Act has received Royal assent after MPs voted in favour of the changes last Wednesday, allowing couples to marry regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery says from August the 19th, there will be new forms available for all couples who want to get married.
He says the Department has a lot of work to do in the intervening period before the Act comes into force, such as amending the various forms and certificates, altering the computer system, and training staff.
- Newstalk ZB
Richard Black, counselor for Strength to Strength in Christchurch talks about how to deal with the disappointment of the politicians not following the wishes of the church on the issue of Same-Sex Marriage.
Uruguay's lawmakers have just passed same-sex marriage legislation.
A clear majority in Congress voted to legalise same-sex marriage, making Uruguay the second country in South America to do so. Argentina was the first Latin American government to redefine marriage last July, with a narrow six-vote lead.
The controversial marriage legislation has been challenged in both countries by the Catholic Church; but Uruguay's bill sailed through the Lower Chamber with 71 out of 92 politicians voting in favour of it, compared to 21 against. It had already been endorsed by the Upper House, and is now awaiting a signature from the country's president to seal the deal.
BBC reports that is likely to occur within the next fortnight, as President Jose Mujica is known to have personally championed the bill legalising same-sex marraige.
Uruguay already provides for same-sex civil unions and same-sex adoption.
- RBG News
Labour's bill to legalise gay marriage is one step closer to becoming law.
Tonight MPs had the opportunity to ask for amendments to the Marriage Equality Bill - they included a referendum, and changes to provide more religious protection.
However - none of the amendments were passed, and the bill was voted through as it stood.
It will now go to a third and final reading.
Protestors both for and against the bill have been outside Parliament this evening. A prayer vigil was held but this was interrupted by chanting from supporters of the bill.
RBG News/Newstalk ZB
Davina William has today's top stories, including a wider privacy breach at the EQC; a last-minute bailout deal for Cyprus; and a social focus to the new Anglican Archbishop's ministry.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV. Catch our hourly bulletins every weeknight from 6:30-9:30pm, on Sky 111 or Freeview 25.
An inter-faith prayer vigil is being planned to pray for the Marriage Amendment Bill.
A group called 'New Zealanders for Marriage' is inviting people to gather at Parliament Grounds in Wellington next Wednesday evening. The intention is to pray that marriage will be upheld instead of being redefined to include same-sex unions by the private member's bill, which many opponents feel has been expedited through the Parliamentary process without a fair hearing.
Last week, Louisa Wall's bill garnered 77 votes in favour of redefining marriage, while 44 MPs voted against it - including four politicians who withdrew their earlier support. National's Tim MacIndoe has consistently opposed the Bill, explaining that he doesn't believe it is social change for the better, and that marriage is not a universal human right.
In the event invitation, vigil organisers present the view that the institution of marriage is not merely a legal contract but a spiritual covenant - "prescribed since the beginning of time which defines our very humanity... born of a father and of a mother..." - that must be respected and preserved.
They also point out that, despite the modification inserted by the Select Committee to protect celebrants attached to religious institutions from having to marry same-sex couples, the Bill could still compromise people's right to freedom of belief.
The prayer vigil will take place in Parliament Grounds, Wellington, on the evening of Wednesday 27 March 2013, from 6:45-8:45pm. Facebook users can get in touch with organisers via the 'New Zealanders for Marriage' group page.
- press rls/ RBG News