Judge refuses to bar children from becoming Catholics
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
A judge has refused to make an order barring five children - who have links to Suffolk - from formally becoming baptised into the Catholic faith.
Mr Justice MacDonald heard that the children, who are aged between four and 11, had been taken from their Protestant mother's care and placed with their Catholic aunt, who has been caring for them for more than three years.
The court heard that their aunt wants them to formally become Catholics, and they have been informally attending Catholic services and events for some time.
The children's mother objected as she said they should be "able to choose their own religious path" when older.
She asked the judge to make an order which would bar their aunt from having them formally initiated into the Catholic religion until the age of 16.
Mr Justice MacDonald, who is based in London, has refused the mother's application.
His conclusions were published online following private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court.
- 1 The places with the highest and lowest levels of Covid in Suffolk
- 2 'I'll never shut up shop' - Cook on 2-2 draw at Cambridge United
- 3 Stu says: Six observations following Town's 2-2 draw at Cambridge
- 4 Ratings: How the Ipswich Town players performed in their 2-2 Cambridge draw
- 5 2,000 patients visit A&E because they are feeling depressed
- 6 Covid vaccine boosters now available at walk in sessions
- 7 New fishmonger shop opens in Suffolk market town
- 8 Four men arrested after man dies at Felixstowe lorry park
- 9 Town get home draw in FA Cup First Round as ex-Blues head to Sudbury
- 10 Jailed in Suffolk: J Block gang members and man who attacked train station staff
Salford City Council, in Greater Manchester, had responsibilities for the children's welfare, he said.
Mr Justice MacDonald also said the family had links with Suffolk and Norfolk, but the children could not be identified.
He concluded that it would be wrong to deny them "the option of participating in formal rites of passage".
The judge said evidence showed that if such a bar was imposed the children might see themselves as "different" to the community in which they were living and feel "segregated" or "excluded".
He said he was deciding what was in the best interests of the children, and was not pronouncing judgment on the "relative merits" of the Catholic and Protestant religions.