Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Pink News: Catholic leader claims Pope's homophobic outburst "misrepresented"
By Rachel Charman • December 30, 2008 - 12:57

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that the pope
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that the pope "wasn't condeming anyone or any person" with his comments
33 Comments on Catholic leader claims Pope's homophobic outburst "misrepresented"

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and Archbishop of Westminster, has defended Pope Benedict XVI's controversial comments about gay people.

The pope said at his end of year address to the Curia that the existence of gay people threatens humanity as much as the destruction of the rainforests does, and that "blurring" genders through acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race.

During an interview on this morning on Radio 4's Today programme, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said that the pope "wasn't condeming anyone or any person" with his comments.

The cardinal went on to say that the pope was only trying to emphasise the importance of the family, and the responsibility on humans to procreate.

He also said that Pope Benedict's comments were "quite difficult to interpret" and as a result of this that he had been "very much" misrepresented in the media.

The Pope said behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations is "a destruction of God's work."

He also said man must be protected "from the destruction of himself" and urged respect for the "nature of the human being as man and woman."

"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

The comments caused outrage within the gay community.

London Gay Christian Movement chief executive Rev Sharon Ferguson said:

"There are still so many instances of people being killed around the world, including in western society, purely and simply because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.

"When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way because they feel that they are doing God's work in ridding the world of these people."

The UK based gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust has described the Pope's statement as clear evidence of paranoia.

"This must be the most ourtrageous and bizarre claim yet made by the Pope who has already got a well-deserved reputation as one the most viciously homophobic world leaders on a par with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe," said PTT secretary and trustee George Broadhead.

"The Vatican has already reinforced its anti-gay reputation by strongly opposing a UN declaration calling for an end to discrimination against gays, but this latest Papal outburst is clear evidence of an obsession about homosexuality which is tantamount to paranoia."

Gay equality activist Peter Tatchell wrote on

"The suggestion that gay people are a threat to human survival is absurd and dangerous. It is poisonous propaganda that will give comfort and succour to queer-bashers everywhere."

P. Attard's Note: I must say I completely disagree with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor. The Pope's remarks were reported by BBC News, Reuters and other news agencies 10 days ago. If there was a genuine misunderstanding, the Vatican, using it's website, radios etc would have issued a statement apologising for the mis-understanding and offense caused to gay people and that this was never the Pope's intention. Since there is no such statement, then the original interpretation of the Pope's comments must be accurate.


I watched this short film in a Brandon-Gay Film Festival in Buenos Aires a few months ago.
In my opinion it is a brilliant movie.
More information can be found here:

Saudi Arabia: 2 gays beheaded - Accused of sexual violence [in French] [Facebook posting]
31.12.8; Translated to English by Dr. Ing. P. Attard

On the 26th December the Minister of Internal Affairs of Saudi Arabia announced the beheading of two gays who allegedly raped a man. They were accused of intruding in the victim's room during the night assaulting him and raping him. The information has not been verified, due to the wave of repression on gay people currently being enforced in Saudi Arabia. Since last March, accoring to, hundreds of people - presumable gay - have been arrested. The religious police interogated 55 men after a "gay dance night". Sodomy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, but thanks to International pressure the death penalty is applied only in cases of paedophilia or violence. [in Italian]
Arabia Saudita, due omosessuali decapitati
31/12/2008 di (fonte
Il 26 dicembre scorso il Ministro dell'Interno saudita ha resa nota la decapitazione di due omosessuali che avrebbero violentato un uomo. L'accusa è circostanziata: i due sarebbero penetrati di notte nella camera della vittima, lo avrebbero pestato e quindi violentato. Le informazioni non sono naturalmente state verificate, data l'ondata di repressione in atto in Arabia Saudita nei confronti delle persone omosessuali. Dallo scorso marzo, così come riportato dal sito, centinaia di persone presuntamente omosessuali sono state arrestate. La Polizia religiosa ha interrogato cinquantacinque uomini dopo una ''serata omosessuale danzante''. La sodomia è punita con la morte in Arabia Saudita, ma grazie alle pressioni internazionali la pena è applicata soltanto in presenza di crimini come la pedofilia o la violenza.

Journal of Pediatrics: Family rejection of LGB children linked to poor health in early childhood

San Francisco State University groundbreaking research published in the journal Pediatrics

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 29, 2008 - For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between family rejection of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and negative health outcomes in early adulthood. The findings will be published in the January issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a peer-reviewed article entitled "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young Adults."

The paper, authored by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project and her team at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, shows that negative parental behaviors toward LGB children dramatically compromises their health. The discovery has far reaching implications for changing how families relate to their LGB children and how a wide range of providers serve LGB youth across systems of care. The California Endowment, a health foundation dedicated to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, funded the study and development of resource materials.

"For the first time, research has established a predictive link between specific, negative family reactions to their child's sexual orientation and serious health problems for these adolescents in young adulthood such as depression, illegal drug use, risk for HIV infection, and suicide attempts," said Ryan, who is the lead author of the paper. "The new body of research we are generating will help develop resources, tools and interventions to strengthen families, prevent homelessness, reduce the proportion of youth in foster care and significantly improve the lives of LGBT young people and their families." (The Family Acceptance Project focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)

Major Research Findings:

Higher rates of family rejection during adolescence were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes for LGB young adults.
LGB young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse, compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
Latino males reported the highest number of negative family reactions to their sexual orientation in adolescence.
"This study clearly shows the tremendous harm of family rejection, even if parents think they are well-intentioned, following deeply held beliefs or even protecting their children," said Sten Vermund, MD, a pediatrician and Amos Christie Chair of Global Health at Vanderbilt University.

"In today's often hostile climate for LGBT youth, it is especially important to note that both mental health issues like depression and suicide and HIV risk behaviors were greatly increased by rejection," Dr. Vermund said. "Given the ongoing HIV epidemic in America, in which half of all new cases of HIV are found in men who have sex with men and there is growing concern about prevention messages reaching young people, it is vital that we share these findings with parents and service providers who work with youth in every way.

"When put to practical, day-to-day use and shared with families and those who serve LGBT youth, these findings will lead to healthier, more supportive family dynamics and better lives for LGBT young people."

The prevailing approach by pediatricians, nurses, social workers, school counselors, peer advocates and community providers has focused almost exclusively on directly serving LGBT youth, and does not consider the impact of family reactions on the adolescent's health and well-being.

Subsequent work with ethnically diverse families by the Family Acceptance Project indicates that parents and caregivers can modify rejecting behavior once they understand the serious impact of their words and actions on their LGBT children's health. In addition, even a little change in parental behavior appears to have a clear impact on decreasing LGBT young people's risk. This new family-related approach to working with LGBT youth being developed by the Family Acceptance Project engages families as allies in decreasing the adolescent's risk and increasing their well-being while respecting the family's deeply held values.

"The new family-related behavioral approach to care being developed by the Family Acceptance Project offers great promise to change the future for LGBT youth and their families by helping parents and caregivers learn how to support their LGBT children and to prevent these extremely high levels of risk related to family rejection," said Erica Monasterio, MN, FNP, in the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Family Health Care Nursing at UCSF. "Rather than seeing families as part of the problem, this approach engages them as an essential resource in promoting healthy outcomes for their LGBT children."

"We are using our research to develop a new model of family-related care to decrease the high levels of risk for LGBT young people that restrict life chances and full participation in society," said Ryan. "Our easy-to-use behavioral approach will help families increase supportive behaviors and modify behaviors their LGBT children experience as rejecting that significantly increase their children's risk. However, redirecting practice and professional training from not asking about family reactions to a young person's LGBT identity to engaging families in promoting their LGBT children's well-being requires a substantial shift on the part of both mainstream and LGBT providers, health systems and community programs."

The paper is the first of many research papers on outcomes related to family acceptance and rejection of LGBT adolescents, supporting positive LGBT youth development and providing family-related care to be released by the Family Acceptance Project.

The research sample included 224 LGB young non-Latino white and Latino adults, ages 21 to 25, who were open about their sexual orientation to at least one parent or primary caregiver during adolescence. These youth were recruited within California from 249 LGBT-related venues. Family rejection measures in the survey were developed based on a prior in-depth qualitative study of LGBT adolescents and families throughout California from 2002-2004.

The Family Acceptance Project is a community research, intervention and education initiative that studies the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Results are being used to help families provide support for LGBT youth; to improve their health and mental health outcomes; to strengthen families and help maintain LGBT youth in their homes; to develop appropriate programs and policies; and train providers to improve the quality of services and care these youth receive in a wide range of settings. For more information, please visit

YouTube: Middle Sexes - Experiment on homophobia

YouTube: "West Wing" - Biblical Quotes

Key words: President, Leviticus, Exodus, Bible.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Times: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
Tuesday, 30th December 2008 by Daniel Bartolo, Qawra

December 2008 will be remembered as the Pope's month of shame when Pope Joseph Ratzinger decided to increase his dose when speaking about the gay community around the world.

First, the EU declaration at the United Nations calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality was strongly opposed by the Vatican, on the grounds that this would open the way for "states that do not allow gay marriages to be persecuted".

That is, the Pope would rather have gay individuals persecuted in more than 80 countries worldwide than have states face up to gay relationships. Malta signed up to the declaration, along with all other 26 EU states and more than 30 other self-respecting democracies, where homosexuality has been decriminalised for decades now.

Then in his Christmas message to the Church's Curia, the Pope decided he had to centre his message on what surely is the biggest joke of 2008, stating that saving humanity from homosexuality and transexuality was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. If this were not a direct and aggressive attack on lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people around the world, I don't know what is!

I still have to see humanity destroy itself as it slowly turns to homosexuality. What with us humans already above the six billion mark, more than 90 per cent of whom are heterosexual, and homosexuality being an integral part of human nature (has been so for thousands and thousands of years), the Pope's position is absurd and grotesque, to say the least.

I have also become convinced that the Pope still does not quite understand that controlling reproduction is an essential part of human civilised behaviour.

And what about transgender people who are born in a male or female body but who feel it in their skin (with all the mental, physical and emotional pain) that they were born another sex? Is the Pope so insensitive to their plight? What would Jesus have said? Would He have said they were intending to destroy the human race?

There were so many pressing issues the Pontiff could have talked about: from the poverty brought about by the credit crunch, the millions of unemployed people, the pitiful state of human rights, the rights of children and women abused and beaten around the world... but priority number one for Pope Ratzinger was the condemnation of homosexuality and transexuality in a style that is eerily reminiscent of the condemnation of Jews, astronomers etc. and all those whom the Church found as convenient scapegoats during its history.

I therefore strongly appeal to all Maltese Catholics and to the Maltese Church, in particular, to speak up against this attack on our fellow brothers and sisters. I, for one, no longer feel part of this homophobic machine that the Pope has turned the Catholic Church into.

I have heard comments in the same sense from scores of friends, gay and not gay. We are ready to protest, to move out of this Church if there is no stop to this madness!

[Click on hyperlink above to view the comments.]

Comments by Bernard Muscat which have been censored by the Times Website. Only the black bold text was posted:
'It is high time that people within the church who want nothing to do with this hatemongering start speaking up and making it clear that they dissociate themselves from what the bureaucratic hierarchical institution they form part of occasionally decides to blurt out.'

Comment #2:
Joseph Aquilina: You seem to derive great pleasure in speaking about other people’s sexuality, which mesmerizes me particularly since your words clearly and repeatedly show you have not the slightest grasp of what you write about. Most people would be very embarrassed speaking about a subject they have no clue about, but you charge on valiantly. But do not worry, we forgive you, and so does the god in whose name you speak so confidently, because as he was dying on the cross he did ask for forgiveness for those who knew not what they were saying or doing.

As I wrote to another person who shares your name and your views on the subject, I suggest you channel your energies to write against greed, corruption, terrorism, violence, rape, ostracism, xenophobia, hostility, famine, prejudice and a plethora of other social ills which are indeed - contrary to gay couple's love for one another - at the centre of what makes today's world a very sad one.

A very pleasant new year to you too, Joseph – hoping you haven’t passed out from the ‘stink’ of my gayness.

P. Attard's Note: I thought only my comments were censored (and my letters shortened or not published at all) on the Times' website because I was in Alternattiva Demokratika.

This letter was also published on Malta Today on Sunday 28.12.8:

Times: Blog: Fr. Joe Borg: Is Pope Benedict anti-gay?
Monday, 29th December 2008

Aldo Gatt’s postings under my blog “Christmas: a subversive feast” shows how hurt he is by what Pope Benedict said during his annual state of the world address to high officials of the Vatican on December 22. Like many people who are hurt Mr Gatt is also very angry. I empathise with him. People who feel hurt deserve our attention and love.

What did the Pope say?

Several media reports said that by this speech the Pope was stoking homophobia and that he also was gay basher. Is he?

In an interview Cardinal Ratzinger gave to La Repubblica in 2004 he said: “Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living.” Does he now believe that gays do not deserve respect? Not at all.

There is perfect continuity between Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict. Both make a very important distinction between the human person and the acts committed by a human person. Even when the acts committed deserve one’s condemnation the human person should always be respected and loved. But on the other hand this love and respect should not preclude anyone from clearly stating that someone’s actions are to be condemned.

This distinction is very important to understand the substance and the spirit of the December 22 speech by Pope Benedict.

The Pope in his speech said, in other words: if we respect the environment and protect it we should respect the human person who crowns the environments; this respect includes the defense of human sexuality as expressed in marriage which by its very nature is a union between man and women.

The Pope said that the Church “ought to safeguard not only the earth, water, and air as gifts of creation, belonging to everyone. It ought also to protect man against the destruction of himself. What is necessary is a kind of ecology of man, understood in the correct sense.”

The Pope than outlines what the Church believes is this ecology of man:

“When the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman and asks that this order of creation be respected, it is not the result of an outdated metaphysic. It is a question here of faith in the Creator and of listening to the language of creation, the devaluation of which leads to the self-destruction of man and therefore to the destruction of the same work of God. That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender;, results finally in the self-emancipation of man from creation and from the Creator. Man wishes to act alone and to dispose ever and exclusively of that alone which concerns him. But in this way he is living contrary to the truth, he is living contrary to the Spirit Creator. The tropical forests are deserving, yes, of our protection, but man merits no less than the creature, in which there is written a message which does not mean a contradiction of our liberty, but its condition.”

No discrimination against gays

One can agree with what the Pope said and one can disagree. There is no problem there. But do the Pope’s words contain any hint of hate? Definitely not. The Pope’s words express the position of the church: gays should be respected but homosexual acts are to be condemned. When the church says this thing it is not discriminating against gays. The church’s teaching applies to gays and straights. Full sexual acts are to be left to the intimacy of marriage which can only exist between man and women. The church does not condemn only homosexual acts but it also condemns sexual acts of heterosexuals outside of marriage. There are heterosexuals who disagree with the teaching of the church on pre-marital and extramarital sex as there are homosexuals who disagree with the teaching of the church on homosexual acts. Should heterosexual feel offended when the church condemns heterosexual acts outside of marriage and says that these undermine marriage and the family and as a consequence undermine society? I can understand those who disagree but I cannot see how one can say that by teaching this thing the Church would be stoking hatred against heterosexuals. The teaching of the church is no discrimination.

The comparison the Pope made between the protection of the rain forest and the protection of marriage between man and women is a good and intelligent comparison. Alas it is also an example that can be caricatured and made to look grotesque. This speech, like the Pope’s speech in Regensburg, is logical and intellectually sound. But perhaps the comparison is not very media savvy and friendly.

Discrimination against heterosexuals

The 33-year-old German philosophy scholar Raphaela Schmid some years ago gave a speech explaining why denying marriage to homosexuals is not a form of injustice. Society has long given advantages to married couples for reasons of procreation and socialisation. A married man and woman typically produce, raise and educate children -- a vital process of social renewal that deserves preferential status. A homosexual union is just one of many types of stable relationships that do, and should, not enjoy the status or benefits of marriage. Schmid says that this is not unjust discrimination. On the contrary, she said, legalisation of gay marriage would represent a form of discrimination against all those who live in unmarried relationships of a nonsexual nature: sisters who share the same house, an unmarried woman who takes care of her mother, etc. To the objection that many marriages fail, with consequential damage to the couple and the children, Schmid said the proper response is not to give up on marriage but to take steps to strengthen it.

Schmid then turned the discrimination accusation around. She said those who believe homosexual acts are immoral deserve to have their views heard in the public debate on homosexual unions. To dismiss these views as "irrational" because they are based on religious faith would be discriminatory, she said. Finally, she said, the fight against gay marriage should not be seen as a Catholic battle. "The difference between homosexual relationships and marriage has not been invented by Christianity, nor is it upheld only by Catholics," she said.


I am sure that Aldo Gatt does not agree with this line of thinking. But I hope that he will not be offended by it as I will not be offended by his defence of homosexual marriage. I respect him though I do not agree with him and I am certain that he will return the favour.

Till next time I wish you all good bye and good luck.

[Click on above hyperlink to view the comments.]

Times: Blog: Fr. Joe Borg: Christmas: a subversive feast
Monday, 22nd December 2008 by Fr. Joe Borg

Ours is a consumer culture; that is, it is a culture based on having. The more you consume the better and the more you have better still. Our dignity is based on our possessions. As Archbishop Cremona explained in his short message during Milied Flimkien last Saturday, Christianity, on the other hand, is a religion which believes that our dignity rests on who we are and not on what we have: we are the children of God. Christmas is the basic proof of all this.

Vatican II in the Pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et Spes" clearly stated that: "It is what a man is, rather than what he has, that counts" (No. 35). History proves over and over again that a civilization that is purely materialistic will only lead to our enslavement. The essential meaning of our dominion over the world consists in the priority of ethics over technology, in the primacy of the person over things, and in the superiority of spirit over matter.

Having: not an end in itself

Undoubtedly having is important. The Church clearly recognises this. Economic progress has helped the human family, observed the Second Vatican Council pastoral constitution "Gaudium et Spes," (para. 63). It's worth noting that John Paul II has stated clearly: "It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed toward 'having' rather than 'being,' and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself" (Centesimus Annus, No. 36).

The Council fathers called upon Christians to let their lives "be permeated with the spirit of the beatitudes, notably with a spirit of poverty" (No. 72).

In "Populorum Progressio," Pope Paul VI warned against regarding "the possession of more and more goods as the ultimate objective" (No 19). In our growth as persons, having more material goods is "necessary," the Pope acknowledged, but they are not to be considered as the supreme good.

Paul VI explained that "the exclusive pursuit of material possessions prevents man's growth as a human being and stands in opposition to his true grandeur. Avarice, in individuals and in nations, is the most obvious form of stultified moral development."

The danger of excess

In 1987 John Paul II alerted the faithful of the danger of an excess of material goods that "easily makes people slaves of 'possession' and of immediate gratification, with no other horizon than the multiplication or continual replacement of the things already owned with others still better" (encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis." No. 28).

This type of consumerism, noted the Pope, leads to "in the first place a crass materialism and, at the same time, a radical dissatisfaction, because one quickly learns -- unless one is shielded from the flood of publicity and the ceaseless and tempting offers of products -- that the more one possesses the more one wants, while deeper aspirations remain unsatisfied and perhaps even stifled."

Error of consumerism

In his 1991 encyclical "Centesimus Annus," John Paul II once more the Pope asked Christians to avoid falling into the error of consumerism, where "people are ensnared in a web of false and superficial gratifications rather than being helped to experience their personhood in an authentic and concrete way" (No. 41).

"Centesimus Annus" explains that an authentic way of living is done by "obedience to the truth about God and man." In this way a person will "order his needs and desires" and "choose the means of satisfying them according to a correct scale of values, so that the ownership of things may become an occasion of growth for him."

John Paul II also recommended "a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity" (No. 49) and a simpler lifestyle. In his message for the World Day of Peace in 1993, the Pope called for more attention to the needs of the poor. The consumer society, commented John Paul II, makes more evident the gap separating rich from poor and can lead us to overlook the needs of others (No. 5).

The Pope called for the creation of "lifestyles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments." Developing this way of life is by no means easy -- applying the principles of Church social doctrine to particular circumstances is a delicate exercise.

Looked from this perspective Christmas becomes a subversive feast. It subverts the dominant consumerist culture showing its grave short comings. Christmas though proposes an alternative way of life that gives greater dignity to each and every one of us. Balancing the spiritual meaning of Christmas with its more-worldly celebration is no easy task. The Church by no means condemns having a good time, but it does warn against excessive materialism. But this is the season to try.

Gejtu’s riveting story

Gejtu Vella, the Secretary General, writing in The Times of Saturday gave a riveting story of a 26 year old man living in poverty. The piece is called Christmas with dignity and can be accessed from

In this piece, Gejtu, as a very good trade unionist, gave a voice to the voiceless. The voice that we could read and almost hear as a result is a very powerful one. It is a dignified denunciation of a culture that is not helping the poor as much as it should partly because of the paternalistic stance it takes. The poor are the object of programmes aimed at helping them not the subject of the same programmes.

Gejtu added very few comments of his own. His piece was an appeal to respect the dignity of the poor and to really help them.

Gejtu’s trade union career has always been characterised by a very strong social conscience and whole hearted dedication to help others even at great personal sacrifice.

Well done Gejtu.

I wish all my readers and their families a Happy Christmas.

Till next time I wish you all good bye and good luck.


Aldo Gatt (6 days, 16 hours ago)
Excuse me if I hit out at you Fr Borg, at anyone that condones and supports the church of the poisoned minds, the saver of forests himself - for I am angry.

I would not normally react to such hatred and bile. I had learnt to keep calm as you can't reason with hatred and prejudice. But the hurt I felt when I saw my mother's pain at listening to her 'sheperd' (so apt a word to describe the followers) talk of her son as one that the good people of the world need saving from. To witness her agony at coming to terms with news that her son's marriage (I refuse to call it civil partnership) is evil was the last straw.

I give up with going on with this facade of celebrating the birth of such loathing. In a country where all radio stations, all media force religion down my throat, I declare myself anti-Christmas. I will shout across the roofs - my love is better than your prejudice.

[There are more comments on the original website . Click on hyperlink above to view them]

Monday, 29 December 2008

It-Torċa: Ġenna jew Infern? Divorzju jew Ċelibat? Fidi jew Superstizzjoni?

Dan l-artiklu mhux fuq il-website tat-Torċa s'issa
Għalkemm ma jissemewx nies gay f'dan l-artiklu, naħseb li hu interessanti għal dan il-Blog.
28.12.8 mistoqsija għal Fr. Colin Apap

Għażiż Father Colin,
Jiena xettiku ħafna u ħafna mill-"after Life". Jiena nemmen li meta tmut jispiċċa kollox u la hemm Ġenna u lanqas Infern, u dan skont it-tagħlim li jiena ħadt kemm mill-Museum u anke mill-Iskola li tgħallmet u li tani ċ-ċans li naħseb b’moħħi. Aħna mgħallmin li Alla jaf kollox minn qabel ma nitwieldu sakemm immutu u li jaf eżatt x’se jiġri minna.

L-Iben t’Alla ġie fid-dinja ħa l-passjoni biex isalva l-erwieħ, u dan għamlu għax ried hu. Issa jiena naħseb li persuna li lesta li tieħu l-mewt għalik żgur mhix se tħallik tiġi fid-dinja biex finalment tispiċċa l-Infern. Aħna ningħataw żewġ għażliet jew triq għall-Ġenna jew għall-Infern u l-għażla nagħmluha aħna. Però l-Mulej, għax jaf kollox, jaf liema triq ħa nagħżel, allura Dan se jippermetti li nitwieled biex finalment immur l-Infern, għax bħalma għedt Dan qabel twelidt jaf x’se jsir minni.

Apparti dan, jekk id-dnub ġej mix-Xitan għax il-Mulej ma jneħħilux is-saħħa kollha li dan jgħidu li għandu u b’hekk ħadd ma jidneb u żgur kulħadd li jmur il-Ġenna.

Xi ħaġa dwar id-divorzju. Jiena ilni miżżewweġ 42 sena u kont u għandi kuntent però naqbel ħafna mad-divorzju għal dawk li huma sfortunati u li m’għandhomx ċans li jerġgħu jibdew familja ġdida u dan għax il-Knisja Maltija hija kontra totalment kontra dan id-dritt u forsi l-Parlament minħabba l-voti u l-poter qiegħdin forsi joqogħdu lura. Int taf aktar minni li dan hu Sagrament però anke l-Ordni Sagra hija Sagrament imma hemm diversi qassisin li telqu u setgħu jiżżewġu u dan hu li forsi lill-poplu qed iħawdu.
Il-knisja għandha diversi proprjetà li kienet imħollija lilha mill-poplu (qabel minħabba l-injoranza li kien hawn kienu jgħidulhom fuq l-għatba tal-mewt biex taħseb għal ruħek) u mbagħad tmur tixtri biċċa art mingħandhom u tħallas il-belli Liri. Miniex qed ngħid li ma tagħmilx ġid però hija materjali wisq, jien għax kont ngħix barra nista’ forsi nara aktar id-differenza.


Ġenna jew Infern? Divorzju jew Ċelibat? Fidi jew Superstizzjoni?

Li tkun xettiku u tagħmel mistoqsijiet ifisser li qed tuża t-talenti u l-intelliġenza li Alla tak. Hekk għandek tagħmel! L-intelliġenza tgħallimni wkoll li hemm realtajiet li ebda intelliġenza ma tista’ tifhem. Ebda intelliġenza ma tista’ tifhem l-eżistenza t’Alla u min Hu Alla.

Imma l-intelliġenza umana tgħinni niskopri l-attributi ta’ Alla u b’hekk b’xi mod, nifhmU aħjar. Għoġbitni din ix-xbieha: immaġina kamra kollha sewda, b’ħitan suwed, art sewda. Hemm żewġ żeffiena jiżfnu. Mara bjonda liebsa l-abjad u raġel iswed liebes kollu iswed. Inti tara l-mara tiżfen, tinduna li hemm xi ħadd li qiegħda tiżfen miegħu, li qed jagħtiha l-pass u r-ritmu. Imma lilu ma tarahx. Taf li qiegħed hemm; taf li jeżisti; qed tara l-konsegwenzi tal-preżenza tiegħu imma lilu ma tarahx. Hekk ukoll hafna drabi Alla. NiskopruH minn għemilu; mill-konsegwenzi tal-preżenza tiegħU. Inti tħoss li wara din il-ħajja m’hemm xejn; jispiċċa kollox: il-bniedem jispiċċa bħall-annimal. Jitwieled, jgħix, imut. U jispiċċa kollox. Hija viżjoni riduttiva tal-bniedem u d-destin tiegħu. Inti tħoss li la Alla jaf kollox, jaf li persuna se tagħmel għażliet f’ħajjitha li tiċħdu. Allura la jaf minn qabel ifisser li Huwa Alla stess li qed jibgħatu l-"infern" jew il-"ġenna".

L-ikbar rigal li Alla tana hija l-libertà. Iva, jaf li se nabbużaw minnha din il-libertà u jaf li se nużawha tajjeb. Din bħal missier li jaf li jekk jagħti l-karozza f’idejn ibnu ta’ 18-il sena jista’ jkorri bħalma ġieli korra qabel. Jgħidlu biex joqgħod attent. Jgħallmu. Imma jħallih ħieles anki jekk jaf li jabbuża mis-sewqan, jew mid-droga jew mis-sess... Allaħares kull abbuż li wieħed jagħmel ikun ifisser li Alla jaqtagħlu kull libertà li jabbużax

Il-fatt li persuna tkun taf minn qabel x’se jiġri ma jfissirx li għandu jneħħi valur iktar importanti li huwa l-libertà. Min jaf kemm-il darba ngħid lil xi koppja li qed narahom immaturi għaż-żwieġ u li dak iż-żwieġ se jfalli. Imma xorta waħda l-għażla hija ħielsa li jagħmlu li jħossu. Anki jekk wara sena jiġu jibku biex iħassru ż-żwieġ. Għax Alla ta l-libertà lill-bniedem meta dan tant jabbuża minnha huwa misteru. Ara kemm saru gwerrer, ġenoċidji, qtil, abbużi għax il-bniedem hu ħieles li jagħmilhom. Kieku Alla ipprogramma lill-bniedem bħala robot li jagħmel biss dak li hu programmat kien ikollna umanità ta’ robots u mhux ta’ bnedmin.

Kristu miet għall-bnedmin kollha minkejja li bħala Alla jaf li mhux kulħadd se jilqa’ s-sagrifiċċju suprem li għamel. Din hija l-imħabba infinita li Alla, li Huwa mħabba, biss kapaċi jagħmel. Ix-xitan għandu saħħa daqskemm il-bniedem fil-libertà tiegħu jagħtihielu. Ma nistax noqgħod inwaħħal fix-xitan ta’ kull abbuż li nagħmel mil-libertà tiegħi.

Dwar id-divorzju u l-indissolubbiltà taż-żwieġ: il-Knisja ma tistax tgħallem għajr it-tagħlim ta’ Kristu. Huwa Kristu li jgħallem kontra d-divorzju. Il-Knisja qiegħda ttenni t-tagħlim tiegħU. L-istat, li hu awtonomu mill-knejjes, ifittex il-ġid komuni taċ-ċittadini tiegħu kollha. L-istat hu ħieles li jilleġiżla liġijiet li jħarsu d-drittijiet tal-indivdwu u tas-soċjetà. Fejn tidħol ir-realtà taż-żwieġ u l-liġi f’Malta għandna rebus sħiħ li l-istat qed jabdika milli jiċċara. Artiklu ta’ Anna Mallia fil-Malta Today tal-Ħadd 14/12/08 jelenka l-abbużi dwar divorzji ta’ Musulmani, ta’ Maltin jgħixu Malta li jġibu d-divorzju minn barra u jirreġistrawh hawn Malta, eċċ., eċċ. L-istat irid jafferma l-awtorità tiegħu u jagħmel ħażin ħafna li jagħlaq għajnejh għal din il-ġungla ta’ legiżlazzjoni. Jekk il-partiti politiċi jibżgħu li jitilfu l-voti, allura ma jistħoqqilhomx jiggvernaw. Il-kriterju tal-azzjonijiet tagħhom għandhom ikunu l-ġid komuni u d-drittijiet ta l-individwu u mhux kemm se jakkwistaw voti.

Li saċerdot kattoliku jista’ jakkwista d-dispensa miċ-ċelibat u jiżżewweġ ikun qed isegwi proċedura li tolqot id-dixxiplina tal-Knisja Kattolika Rumana. Ma jkunx qed imur kontra xi ħaġa essenzjali mis-saċerdozju li Kristu waqqfu u tah lill-Papa u l-ewwel isqfijiet li kollha kienu miżżewġa. Id-dixxiplina taċ-ċelibat, li qassis kattoliku ma jiżżewwiġx, ġiet wara ħafna. Hi dixxiplina li tista’ titbiddel jekk il-Papa jew il-Konċilju jiddeċiedu li jerġgħu jaffirmaw is-saċerdozju bħal tal-ewwel żminijiet tal-Knisja. Iċ-ċelibat tas-saċerdot Kattoliku jinftihem daqskemm wieħed jifhem li s-saċerdot huwa Kristu ieħor; Kristu li kien ċelibi biex ikun kollu ta’ Missieru. Huwa mod ta’ għażla t’Alla. L-ewwel Papa u l-ewwel appostli għamlu l-istess għażla b’mod ieħor. Iċ-ċelibat tal-qassis kattoliku u d-divorzju huma żewġ realtajiet li m’għandhomx x’jaqsmu.

Dwar il-proprjetà tal-Knisja: m’għandix dubju li bosta mill-kattoliċi ħallew u jħallu proprjetà lill-Knisja (artijiet, dehbijiet, flus, eċċ., eċċ.) għax huma konvinti li bil-proprjetà tagħhom huma ħielsa li jagħmlu dak li jħossu l-aħjar li jagħmlu. Jekk xi ħadd iġiegħel lil xi ħadd jagħtih proprjetà bilfors jew bit-theddid jew b’wiegħdi fiergħa ikun qed jabbuża, ikun min ikun. Imma jiena ċert li missirijietna żejnu l-knejjes tagħna, taw u sebbħu statwi fil-parroċċi bħala espressjoni ta’ mħabba u fidi lejn il-Knisja u l-qaddisin protetturi tagħhom. M’għandix dubju wkoll li ħafna minn missirijietna ħal-lew ġidhom lill-Knisja għax fehmu li fil-Knisja se jkunu ta’ iktar ġid milli tawhom lil xi neputijiet jew familjari li l-unika mħabba li għandhom għalihom hija daqskemm jirtu mingħandhom.

It-Torċa: Reliġjon organizzata u awtorità ċivili

Dan l-artiklu mhux fuq il-website tat-Torċa s'issa
28.12.8 minn Alfred Sant

F’dan l-istudju maqsum fuq erba’ partijiet, Alfred Sant jagħti ħarsa lejn ir-relazzjoni bejn ir-reliġjon b’mod istituzzjonalizzat u l-awtorità ċivili; kunflitti, eġemonija, tensjonijiet u bilanċi fl-istorja ta’ pajjiżna u lilhinn.

Il-bilanċ li għandu jinżamm fis-soċjetà bejn il-poter tar-reliġjonijiet organizzati (l-aktar fi knejjes) u l-poter tal-awtorità ċivili jibqa' jqanqal kontroversja u diskussjoni. Forsi ma jistax ikun mod ieħor. Iż-żewġ poteri jieħdu s-saħħa u l-leġittimità tagħhom mit-twemmin tal-bnedmin dwar dak li jorbothom flimkien f'ħajja komuni. Jiħduhom ukoll mit-twemmin l-ieħor, dwar it-tifsira "vera", "fondamentali", għidilha li trid, tal-ħajja tal-bniedem fuq din il-pjaneta, li ż-żewg poteri jirriflettu fl-eżistenza stess tagħhom.

Kien hemm żminijiet u soċjetajiet fejn iż-żewġ poteri kienu magħquda flimkien fi struttura waħda. Fi żminijiet u soċjetajiet oħra, kienu mifruda minn xulxin bl-aktar mod skjett. Anzi, għad nistgħu nixhdu sal-lum l-eżistenza ta' dawn iż-żewġ fasliet f'ċerti nħawi tad-dinja. Barra minn hekk, bejn iż-żewg poli ta' kif il-poteri tar-reliġjon organizzata u tal-awtorità ċivili jieħdu l-pożizzjoni tagħhom, hemm varjetà sħiħa ta' bilanċi, li tapplika għal għażla kbira ta' strutturi differenti, kemm ta' organizzazzjoni reliġjuża u kemm ta' awtorità ċivili.

Tipi differenti

ħafna fatturi jikkontribwixxu għall-iżvilupp ta' dil-varjetà wiesgħa. Min-naħa tar-reliġjon, fost l-aqwa fatturi hemm ix-xeħta stess tat-twemmin li r-reliġjon ixxandar - jekk dan jirrekjedix manifestazzjonijiet materjali estensivi u popolari, jekk il-prattiċi tal-kult jitolbux impenn kollettiv qawwi, jekk il-ġerarkija ekkleżjali li tmexxi jew tiggwida l-ħidma tkunx burokratika u dixxiplinata, jew tkunx aktar mistika u spezzettata fil-metodi kif tirregola ħidmietha.

Dan kollu jorbot imbagħad mal-istorja tar-reliġjon partikolari, kif żviluppat fost il-ġnus, u kif it-tradizzjonijiet u l-aspettativi marbuta magħha xxettlu matul is-snin ta' din l-istorja. ‘aġa ta' min jistenniha wkoll hi li l-mod kif reliġjon organizzata tirrelata ma' l-awtorità ċivili se jiddependi mis-saħħa tal-preżenza li jkollha r-reliġjon organizzata f'kommunità: jekk ir-reliġjon tkun dominanti u esklussiva - mod; u jekk il-kommunità tkun pluralista, fejn ir-reliġjon taħbat biss waħda minn numru ta' reliġjonijiet imħaddna fis-soċjetà - mod ieħor.

Bl-istess loġika, ma jistax jonqos li t-tip ta' stat li qed jipprovdi qafas għall-ħajja flimkien tal-kommunità, bl-istrutturi ta' awtorità ċivili li jsawruh, se jkollu effett qawwi fuq kif jispiċċa l-bilanċ bejn knisja u gvern. Fi stat konfessjonali jew li formalment jirrikonoxxi l-ħidma reliġjuża, il-bilanċ żgur se jkun differenti minn wieħed fejn l-awtorità ċivili tiddikjara ruħha lajka, billi tiskarta kull kriterju reliġjuż mill-prinċipji li fuqhom tibbaża ħidmietha.

Għandna mbagħad il-profil li tieħu l-awtorità ċivili: tagħmel żgur differenza jekk l-istat ikunx awtoritarju jew fondamentalista, b'kuntrast ngħidu aħna, ma' stat post-industrijali u demokratiku.

ħaġa oħra li se tinfluwixxi bil-kbir fuq l-iżvilupp tal-bilanċ bejn iż-żewġ poteri li jinteressawna, hi l-qagħda tas-soċjetà ċivili. Jekk tkunx dgħajfa jew tkunx organizzata tajjeb, jekk tkunx immodernizzat ruħha jew tkunx għadha b'orjentament tradizzjonali, huma fost oħrajn, fatturi li se jaffettwaw b'mod qawwi l-bilanċ. Bl-istess mod wieħed irid iqis kemm fil-komunità, ikunu żviluppati l-mezzi ta' komunikazzjoni soċjali, speċjalment f'rabta mal-media awdjo-viżiva u elettronika, ġewwa l-komunità nnifisha u fil-kuntatti tagħha ma' barra.
L-ippożizzjonar tal-istrutturi tal-poter ċivili lejn ir-reliġjon organizzata u viċi versa, jiddetermina ruħu u jiżviluppa skont kif dawn il-fatturi u oħrajn magħhom, jixxebilku flimkien. Kemm min-naħa u kemm mill-oħra, hu ippożizzjonar li jibqa' fluwidu sa min-natura stess tiegħu. Kif kiteb Max Weber, "kull reliġjon etika jkollha b'kejl li jixtiebah u għal raġunijiet li jixtiebhu, iġġarrab tensjonijiet mal-qasam tal-ħidma politika. It-tensjoni toħroġ fil-beraħ malli r-reliġjon tkun ipprogrediet lejn xiħaġa li tqarreb għal statut ta' ugwaljanza mal-qasam tal-assoċjazzjonijiet politiċi".
Biss l-istess tensjoni sservi biex tingħata sura lill-parteċipazzjoni tar-reliġjon organizzata fil-proċessi li bihom l-awtorità ċivili tasal għad-deċiżjonijiet li jorbtu lis-soċjetà kollha kemm hi.
Naraw dil-ħaġa tiġri tista' tgħid mad-dinja kollha. Fl-Istati Uniti fost dibattiti pubbliċi oħra li jibqgħu għaddejja b'parteċipazzjoni massiċċa ta' knejjes differenti, hemm dawk li għandhom x'jaqsmu mar-riċerka fuq iċ-ċelloli stemma, mal-abort, maż-żwiġijiet bejn individwi tal-istess sess, u ma' jekk l-evoluzzjoni għandhiex tiġi mgħallma fl-iskejjel.

Fir-Renju Unit, il-gvern Laburista kellu jiffaċċja l-inkwiet ta' uħud mid-deputati tiegħu meta ressaq leġiżlazzjoni li tippermetti esperimenti xjentifiċi fuq embriji, bit-taħlit ta' materjal ġenetiku tal-annimali ma' dak tal-bniedem. Kontroversja oħra kienet meta l-Arċisqof ta' Canterbury fisser il-fehma li ċ-ċittadini musulmani kellhom jingħataw il-jedd li jkollhom il-ħajja familjari u soċjali tagħhom regolata skont il-liġi iżlamikaŠ jew talanqas, hekk inftiehem li qed jgħid.
Fit-Turkija, il-qorti suprema ddikjarat bħala kontra l-kostituzzjoni liġi ġdida li biha n-nisa studenti jistgħu jmorru għall-klassijiet fl-università b'rashom imgħottija, kif titlob ċerta prattika iżlamika. Fil-Polonja mal-waqa' tal-kommuniżmu, il-Knisja Kattolika ħadmet b'suċċess biex l-abort jiġi projbit. Fil-Ġermanja, iċ-ċittadini għandhom id-dritt li jitolbu li parti mit-taxxa fuq id-dħul li jħallsu, tingħata lill-knisja li tagħha jkunu membri, bħala kontribuzzjoni finanzjarja. Meta l-Unjoni Ewropea kienet qed tiddiskuti test għall-Kostituzzjoni Ewropea, il-Knisja Kattolika għamlet sforzi kbar, li ma rnexxewx, biex fil-preambolu tat-test tidħol referenza għall-karattru Kristjan tal-kontinent.
Fil-fatt, meta wieħed iqis sew il-fond tal-kwistjoni, hi ħaġa ta' min jistenniha, hi ħaġa naturali, li se tqum tensjoni bejn il-proċessi tar-reliġjon organizzata u dawk tat-tmexxija ċivili. Anzi, tkun ħaġa tal-iskantament kieku dit-tensjoni kellha ma tispuntax. Li jsir kruċjali allura, hu kif din it-tensjoni tiġi regolata b'mod "kostruttiv", li jirrispetta l-aqwa valuri umani skont il-mument storiku li tkun għaddejja minnu soċjetà.

F'Malta wkoll teżisti din it-tensjoni. Tirriżulta bħal f'soċjetajiet oħra, mill-bidliet dejjem għaddejja fostna, soċjali, ekonomiċi u kulturali, li jċaqilqu bla waqfien il-bilanċ qadim jew ġdid milħuq bejn iż-żewġ poteri.

Mhix tensjoni li qiegħda twassal, kif għamlet fis-snin tletin jew sittin, għal konfrontazzjoni politika qawwija. Anzi llum, ħafna drabi ninnotaw li t-tensjoni tinsab fostna mhux għax tiġi esternalizzata bi storbju u daqq ta' trombi, imma għax isir sforz ċar kważi minn kulħadd ħalli tiġi injorata, ħalli nippretendu li kollox miexi tajjeb, li l-ebda tensjoni serja ma teżisti, u li m'hemmx bżonn ta' djalogu għax diġà qed isir, u m'hemm l-ebda ħtieġa ta' aktar riflessjoni u azzjoni dwar l-iżbilanċi li jkunu qegħdin jikkargaw.

Fatturi Maltin

‘aġa li tiftiehem hi li kull pajjiż għandu profil li hu tiegħu biss, tat-tensjonijiet miġmugħa, skont l-istorja u l-karatteristiċi partikolari tal-komunità nazzjonali. Bħala komunità ċkejkna u insulari, fil-periferija tal-Ewropa, fl-iżvilupp tal-istituzzjonijiet tagħna rajna x-xejra Ewropea lejn modernizzazzjoni politika u ekonomika u t-tħaddim ta' istituzzjonijiet demokratiċi rappreżentattivi, jitrikkbu fuq proċessi oħra li ssenslu mill-qagħda kolonjali u post-kolonjali tal-pajjiż. Matul is-sekli, iċ-ċokon tagħna fisser li konna marġinali għall-forzi politiċi u ekonomiċi kbar li ddominaw ir-reġjun tagħna: kellna nissottomettu ruħna u nadattaw għalihom. Minħabba f'hekk, sal-lum, is-sens ta' identitaċ nazzjonali għadu fraġili - fis-sens ta' identità li hi fiduċjuża fiha nnifisha u lesta twettaq deċiżjonijiet li jirriflettu perspettivi mħassla f'Malta, aktar minn perspettivi importati minn barra.

Fl-istess ħin, dejjem eżistiet fostna qalba ta' strutturi tradizzjonali ta' poter u prestiġju, li kienu jirriflettu l-interessi ta' oqsma tradizzjonali tas-soċjetà u li baqgħu jiġbdu lejhom l-aqwa deċiżjonijiet soċjali u jiddeterminaw l-istili ta' ħajja. Il-kattoliċeżmu, bħala reliġjon organizzata safa matul is-sekli, l-akbar fil li madwaru ntrabtet l-identità nazzjonali, anki jekk ma kellux għalfejn bħad-din Ortodoss fil-Greċja, isir il-mutur ta' xi ġlieda għall-ħelsien nazzjonali.

Ir-reliġjon organizzata f'Malta dejjem fittxet it-trankwillità fil-kuntatti tagħha mal-awtorità ċivili sakemm din iggarantitilha sovranità effettiva fuq il-materji li hi qieset bħala "tagħha". Sakemm il-prattika tal-kult Kattoliku, sakemm il-valuri tal-kult, u sakemm il-poter soċjali ta' min imexxi l-kult, kienu garantiti mid-diriġenti tal-gżira, allura l-Knisja wriet kull dispożizzjoni biex tappoġġa lill-awtorità ċivili fl-oqsma li min-naħa tagħha, din kienet tqis bħala ta' priorità.
L-aħjar eżempju ta' dan kien x'ġara fi żmien l-Ingliżi matul is-seklu għoxrin, meta l-Knisja kkollaborat bla wisq problemi mal-awtorità ċivili, anki dwar kwistjonijiet li setgħu kienu kontroversjali, sakemm deher ċar li l-eġemonija "spiritwali" tagħha (jien ngħidilha aħjar, eġemonija "kulturali") fost il-popolazzjoni lokali baqgħet salvagwardjata. Dan kellu jsir kontra forzi "Protestanti" ġejjin mir-Renju Unit. Sar ukoll kontra forzi Maltin li riedu jdaħħlu f'Malta ideat progressisti, l-ewwel ta' natura illuminista, aktar 'il quddiem ta' xeħta soċjalista. Dwar tal-ewwel, l-awtorità kolonjali kienet lesta tagħmel kompromess fl-interess tat-tisħiħ tas-sigurtà militari tal-gżira, mitqiesa bħala fortizza siewja tal-Imperu. Dwar tat-tieni, dehret konverġenza ta' interessi bejn l-awtorità ċivili kolonjali u l-Knisja.

Bidliet minn barra u minn ġewwa

Matul is-snin, il-bilanċ fit-tensjoni bejn knisja u stat li nstab b'dal-mod, ġie mminat minn żewġ żviluppi kbar li seħħew f'Malta, bħal ma seħħew f'pajjiżi oħra. Hawn ġraw b'dewmien imqabbel ma' barra. Min-naħa, kien hemm il-pressjoni mad-dinja kollha favur id-drittijiet tal-bniedem u drittijiet oħra "ġodda" taċ-ċittadin; min-naħa l-oħra, kien hemm il-kisba tal-ħelsien nazzjonali minn għexieren ta' soċjetajiet l-aktar fl-Afrika u l-Asja, li kien ilhom snin jifformaw parti minn imperi Ewropej.
Wara t-Tieni Gwerra Dinjija, infirxu u twettqu ideat ta' demokrazija avvanzata: mal-ispazju ewro-amerikan, xterdu b'mod konkret valuri favur id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, marbuta mal-ħarsien ta' drittijiet soċjali ewlenin bħal edukazzjoni b'xejn għal kulħadd, servizzi tas-saħħa li jilħqu idealment liċ-ċittadini kollha, sigurtà soċjali għal kontra l-qgħad u għall-wens fix-xjuħija. Biex inkunu għedna kollox, id-drittijiet soċjali kienu effettivi aktar fin-naħa Ewropea, milli fin-naħa Amerikana.
Bl-istqarrija li d-drittijiet tal-bniedem bħala valur jirkeb fuq ħafna valuri oħra, il-kunċett ta' stat sovran kif imħaddem mid-diplomazija klassika Ewropea beda jinħall. Qabel, it-tmexxija interna fi ħdan ta' stat wieħed jew federazzjoni ta' stati, kienet materja li taqa' barra mil-limiti ta' x'jistgħu jkunu l-esiġenzi diplomatiċi. Issa, id-drittijiet tal-bniedem u l-valuri demokratiċi 'l ġewwa mill-fruntieri ta' stat saru materja li setgħet b'mod leġittimu titqanqal bħala esiġenza diplomatika sħiħa.

Ġara wkoll matul l-aħħar kwart tas-seklu għoxrin, li d-dinamika li xerdet dan l-etos, iċċentrata kif kienet fl-ispazju politiko-ekonomiku ewro-amerikan, spiċċat maħkuma mill-ideoloġija neo-liberali tas-suq ħieles "akkost ta' kollox". Il-ftuħ tal-fruntieri għad-dixxiplina ta' valuri li jpoġġu l-individwu u l-ħtiġiet tiegħu fuq quddiem nett, spiċċa li aktar minn hekk, irid jirrispetta d-dixxiplina tas-suq imsejjaħ ħieles, ħaġa li aktar ma jgħaddi ż-żmien, aktar kellha ssir fuq livell globali.

Fit-tieni lok, waqt li kien qiegħed iġarrab dawn il-bidliet, pajjiżna bħal pajjiżi oħra, għadda mill-bidliet li ġabet magħha d-dekolonizzazzjoni li seħħet wara t-Tieni Gwerra Dinjija Din ukoll, f'parti minnha, kienet rifless tad-dinamika favur il-ħarsien tal-libertà individwali li ħadet ir-rankatura mis-snin erbgħin tas-seklu l-ieħor. Imma l-proċess tad-dekolonizzazzjoni ġab miegħu effetti separati u distinti minn dak li nqala' biċ-ċaqliq l-ieħor.

Fost l-effetti kbar tiegħu, il-proċess ta' dekoloniżazzjoni bidel mill-qiegħ il-bilanċi li l-forzi soċjali fil-pajjiżi konċernati, l-aktar barra l-Ewropa, kienu draw jgħixu bihom. Per eżempju, f'ħafna pajjiżi Afrikani, fejn kellhom tmexxija Ingliża, s-sistemi ta' awtoritaċ ċivili ppernjati fuq il-kapijiet tat-tribuċ li l-Ingliżi kienu jagħtuhom għarfien qawwi, sabu li biex isostnu l-influwenza tagħhom ma setgħux iserrħu aktar fuq il-poter ċentrali, li sa ftit qabel kien wieħed kolonjali. Minflok, kienu daħlu sorsi ġodda ta' poter politiku u ekonomiku, mibni l-aktar madwar dawk li kienu ġġieldu għall-ħelsien nazzjonali, li fil-ħerqa tagħhom biex jimmoderniżżaw il-pajjiż, mhux bilfors kien jimportahom li jappoġġjaw il-forzi ta' poter tradizzjonali.

Il-Knisja Kattolika f'Malta, bħala reliġjon organizzata, baqgħet matul is-sekli l-aqwa prinċipju organizzativ fis-soċjetà ċkejkna Maltija. Tista' faċilment tiġi mqabbla mal-poter u l-influwenza tal-kapijiet tat-tribujiet Afrikani fil-qafas ta' soċjetajiet kolonizzati. Il-fidi reliġjuża nħasset għal żmien twil bħala parti essenzjali minn kif kienet tiġi kostitwita u leġitimizzata l-identità nazzjonali.

F'Malta, kif diġà għedna, b'kuntrast ma' x'ġara f'imkejjen oħra bħal Ċipru, il-Knisja ma kinitx xi protagonist fil-proċess tal-ħelsien nazzjonali. Minflok, rat kif tasal għal modus vivendi aċċettabbli mal-awtorità ċivili barranija, maħsub biex hi tkun tista' twettaq il-ħidma reliġjuża tagħha bla xkiel, skont kif tifhem hi li għandha twettaqha.

L-arranġament inkluda miżuri għall-kontroll eġemoniku tal-prattiċi reliġjużi fi ħdan is-soċjetà Maltija, liġijiet li jimplimentaw miżuri ta' moralità kif definiti mill-Knisja, u rikonoxximent sħiħ ċivili tar-rwol u l-istatus tal-ġerarkija ekkleżjastika. Il-leġittimità ta' dan il-qafas kien jinstab fil-fatt evidenti li l-popolazzjoni tal-gżira kienet tista' tgħid mija fil-mija, tipprofessa d-din Kattoliku. Effettivament, l-aktar aspett radikali tat-tilwima politiko-reliġjuża li seħħet bejn il-Partit Laburista u l-Knisja fis-snin sittin, kien jinsab appuntu fil-kontestazzjoni spjetata tal-eġemonija "spiritwali" tal-Knisja u l-leġittimità tagħha.


It-Torċa: No Sex Please - We're Maltese - L-aħħar parti

Dan l-artiklu mhux fuq il-website tat-Torċa s'issa
28.12.8 minn Gerald Fenech

F'din l-ahhar parti ta' dan il-feature se nittrattaw is-sess u religjon u x tghallem il-Knisja dwar is-sess specjalment mill-lat t'edukazzjoni sesswali. Gerald Fenech janalizza u jirraporta

Mhux facli li tikteb feature bhal dn minghajr ma taqbdek certu rabja ghall fatt kif il-poplu Malti ghadu ferm injurant dwar attitudnijiet u perspettivi dwar is-sess. Minhabba l-fatt li ahna gzira u ghal mijiet ta snin konna (u sa certu punt) ghadna iddominata mir-Religjon Kattolika li hijja ferm awtokratika fuq dan is-suggett u ghadu meqjus bahal tabu' anke fil-fatt kif certa nies ibaxxu lehinhom meta jitkellmu dwar is-sess, xi haga li ghada taffaxxinani sal-lum.

Il-Moviment ta' Kana
Dan il-Moviment nistghu nghidu li ghanda dominju totali fuq il-hsieb sesswali fil-Knisja Kattolika ta' pajjizna. Hawnhekk qisu kull haga li ghanda x taqsam ma' dan is-suggett huwa ttrattat u anke l-kors li jinghata minn dan il-moviment huwa essenzjali jekk wiehed irid jizzewweg bil-Knisja. Huwa nteressanti hawnhekk inharsu lejn silta partikolari mid-diskors li kien gie pprezentat f'konferenza nazzjonali dwar is-sess li saret fl-2001 mill movement u li giet ippreparata minn Rev Paul Galea.

"Meta nqisu s-sess semplicement bhala istint, qed nidhaddtu fuq xi haga li kienet determinata u mfassla bhala destin u li ghaldaqstant, ma tista' taghmel xejn biex tbiddilha, ghajr li tikkontrollha, tissoprimiha jew li ticcahhad minnha. Biex taghmel dan Izda, trid iddahhal forzi akbar, sew jekk morali, u sew jekk socjali, biex ipattu ghal din il-forza. Fil-fatt Izda, s-sess mhux bhall-istinti l-ohra li huma mehtiega biex tghix, bhall-guh jew l-ghatx, jew il-htiega ta' l-irqad u tal-mistrieh. Tant hu hekk li jekk ma tissodisfahx la timrad u l-anqas tmut. Is-sess huwa aktar mehtieg ghall-preservazzjoni ta' l-ispeci milli ghal dik ta' l-individwu. Barra min hekk, ix-xjenza illum kapaci tnissel trabi anki minghajr sess".

Ghalkemm hemm hafna sens f'dak li qed jghid Dr Galea xorta wiehed jista jiddibatti l-punt li bniedem jista jew ma jistax jghix minghajr sess. Meta tkun qed tghix minghajr sess tkun qed taqta parti mill-funzjonijiet bazici tal-bniedem - kwazi kwazi tkun qed tirrinunzjaha ghal xi haga li hijja essenzjali ghal hajja tajba. Dr Galea ikompli jghid hekk dwar l-edukazzjoni sesswali; "Edukazzjoni Sesswali ibbazata fuq kontroll ta'l-istint trid tkun meghjuna sew minn motivazzjoni qawwija biex tista' tasal ghal dan. Ghal hafna zmien dawn kienu l-valuri religjuzi jew l-idejali socjali gholja. B'dan il-mod, il-persuna kienet tasal biex taccetta s-sesswalita' taghha u tikkontrollha. Izda ma tasalx biex tintegraha".

F'dawn l-ahhar granet ukoll qam furor kbir minhabba d-diskors tal-Papa Benedittu Sittax li qal li l-glieda kontra l-omossesswalita' hijja wahda sagra u kwazi mportanti daqs il-prezervazzjoni tal-foresti. Dan id-diskors jorbot m'attitudni ta' ripressjoni sesswali fejn persuni li huma gay ma jistawx (dejjem skond il-Knisja) jaghmlu attijiet sesswali ghaliex dak huwa meqjus kontra n-natura u allura ghandhom jikkontrollaw l-istinti sesswali taghhom. Attitudni li ovvjament fid-dinja aktar liberal ital-lum tqajjem aktar mistqosijiet minn twegibiet.

Dan il-gurnal tkellem ukoll ma xi koppji li ghamlu l-maghruf 'Kors ta' Kana' fis-sebghinijiet u fit-tmenijiet. L-affarijiet li qalulna kienu pjuttost inkredibbli u difficli tifhem ghalfejn l-Knisja ghada daqsekk lura fil-metodi tat-taghlim taghha. Ibda biex kien jitqassam ktieb ta' kulur blu li kien ikun mimli stampi grafici hafna izda li kellu ukoll certa deskrizzjonijiet pjuttost ludikri. Apparti min hekk it-taghlim kien jinkludi diversi metodi ftit bizarre bhat tehid tat-temperatura tal-mara sabiex tara lit kun aktar fertili, il-maghruf 'coitus interruptus' kif ukoll diversi posizzjonijiet ghal sess li huma meqjusin tajbin u ohrajn anqas tajbin. Dan il-mod kif tghallem dwar is-sess illum huwa ikkunsidrat antikwat u jista johloq aktar problem psikologici u sens ta' ripressjoni ghaliex is-sess mhux ghal skopijiet ta' riproduzzjoni juwa kwazi kwazi meqjus bhala hazin mill-Knisja.

Perspettivi sesswali - inflwenza mill-medja
Dan il-gurnal tkellem ma' l-awtur Javier Vella Sammut li ghadu kif hareg il-ktieb li qajjem sensazzjoni; 'Xandru Mizzeweg u Gay' dwar perspettivi sesswali fuq il-medja u li ovvjament huma inflwenzati mill-hsibijiet taghna li ilhom jintghagnu matul is-snin mit-taghlim tal-Knisja. Saqsejna dwar ir-rwol tac-censura li "Min jaf x'manuvrar isir kieku kellu xi hadd jibda jitrasmetti stazzjon pornografiku jew erotiku li jkun accessibli fi djar Maltin jew fejn il-protagonisti jkunu atturi Maltin? Dan jista' jibqa' jaghmlu biss ma' dawk li jillimitaw rwiehhom li jaccessjaw il-kanali televizivi minn xi server li ma jixtieqx jurta lill-awtoritajiet. L-accessjar satellitari u digitali hataf it-tapit minn taht din il-forma ta' ripressjoni ukoll. Illum it-teknologija gabet fix-xejn ir-rwol ta' min ihossu privileggat billi gie mqieghed fuq xi bord irrelevanti tac-censura. Il-pornografija u l-erotizmu saru biss buttuna boghod minna u huma accessibli facilment specjalment permezz tal-internet. Hawnhekk wiehed ma jistax ma jfahharx ir-rwol ta' cyberpolice li, minkejja r-restrizzjonijiet ezistenti, jippruvaw jidhlu huma biex jilqghu kontra l-isfruttar tat-tfal u ta' kategoriji vulnerabbli ohra. Kritika gusta li hafna drabi ssir lill-media hija li din tipprezenta r-realta b'mod idilliku u ma tipprezentax il-konsegwenzi tal-ghemil. B'hekk l-atturi li jigu pprezentati waqt xi xeni hot rari hafna biex jispiccaw jinqabdu pregnant jew ilaqqtu xi infezzjoni trasmessa sesswalment. Dan ikun ovvju ghal adult matur izda ghal adulti immaturi dawn isibuha bi tqila biex jiddiferixxu bejn realta' u rectar. F'mumenti bhal dawn wiehed ihares lejn ir-rwol indispensabbli tal-edukatur, il-genitur u kulmin ghandu sehem mill-formazzjoni tal-karattru matul it-trobbija".

Interessanti dan l-istatement. Ghaliex nistghu nghidu li l-edukazzjoni dwar is-sess b'mod personali tista ukoll tibda minn kmieni izda minhabba r-ripressjoni li biha s-socjeta taghna hijja mimlijja. Izda le ghandna bzonn ic-censura - li hafna drabi tkun maghmula minn xi qassissin jew xi lajki b' veduti mill-aktar ossifikati dwar is-sess. Qisha l-Knisja trid kontroll assolut fuq dak li jahsbu l-imhuh dwar is-sess u affarijiet ohra morali.

Tkellimna ukoll ma Gorg Peresso, eks patri Frangiskan kif ukoll persuna li ghamlet u ghada taghmel censura u li fl-ahhar ktieb tieghu 'Meta l-harifa Tiskot' hemm indikazzjoni ta' xena sesswali.

" Filwaqt li fit-televixin, it-telespettaturi jaraw li tagħtihom il-kamera, fir-radjudrammi tista' toħloq xeni ta' sess, tqanqal il-fantasija u tħalli l-bqija għal min jisma'. Fir-radjdramm tiegħi L-Infern jista' jistenna kont ħloqt dik li skont it-teknici ta' Radju Malta kienet l-ewwel xena ta' intercourse. (U kemm kien daħaq Johnny Marshall, it-tekniku, Alla jaħfirlu, u kemm daħlu fiha, bħala atturi, Josephine Mahoney u Peter Borg!)

Jekk verament irridu nsibu xeni ta' sess irridu nfittxuhom fil-letteratura tagħna. Uħud huma espliċiti, oħrajn aktar delikati. U dan mhux fenomenu reċenti kif qed jaħsbu uħud. Issa sar aktar imfittex. Imma dan suġġett ieħor. Ngħid għalija, waħda mill-isbaħ xeni ta' sess li ktibt ħallejtha għar-rumanz Meta l-ħarifa Tiskot (li għandu minn skript xeniku). Ktibt hekk :
Dak in-nhar il-kafè ħaduh wara.
Immaġina li trid!"

Saqsejna ukoll lill Gorg dwar kif jara r-relazzjoni bejn sess u Knisja u sibna bosta konnotazzjonijiet ferm interessanti.

"Ma nafx kif u meta dijn il-kelma "sess" Hadet fl-imħuħ ta' bosta konnotazzjoni negattiva. U ħafna jippuntaw subgħajhom lejn il-Knisja li tefgħet dell ikrah fuq din il-kelma. L-ironija hi li kienet il-Knisja li indirettametn ħolqot dan it-terminu. It-trattat tal-morali li jitratta is-sitt kmandament huwa msejjah De Sextu. Min hemm il-kelma Sess. Il-Knisja għandha ħafna ewfemiżmi, pozittivi u negattivi u saħansitra kontradittorji, biex tfisser din l-imġiba maħluqa min Alla fil-bniedem biex, fost l-oħrajn, jitkattar u ma jabbuzax minnha. Bħal ngħidu aħna: konkupixxenza, kastita, verġnita, astinenza, purita, imħabba karnali. Il-fatt hu li il-morali tal-Knisja dwar is-sess twieldet f'soċjeta edonista u għalhekk riedet li tnaddaf il-fidili tagħha mill-ideat imsejħa pagani. Il-bon ton eklleżjastiku dwar is-sess spiċċa biex sar kważi dixxiplina ħarxa u esklussiv fuq kmandament ewlieni ta' Alla: tkattru.

Personalment imma jsaħhruni fil-letteratura mistika nisranija (il-mistiċiżmu hu l-bazi essenzjali tal-Knisja) l-alluzjonijeit u s-simbolizmu u t-termni karnali u senswali li wirtet mill-"Għanja tal-Għanjiet". Hekk insibu dan is-simbolizmu senswali f'kitbiet ta' Santa Katerina da Siena, Santa Brigida, Santa Tereza ta' Avila u fuq kollox ta' San Ġwann tas-Salib. Is-senswalita hija l-ħajra għall-għaqda karnali u daqstant iehor għal-għaqda tar-ruħ ma' Alla".

Kollox ma kollox din hijja l-attitudni li nsibu dwar is-sess f'pajjizna speċjalment fejn tidhol il-Knisja. Ninhbew wara l-purtiera jew that it-tapit. Inhallu s-suggett ghal darba ohra jew sahansitra inbiddluh ghax jembarazzana. Ghalijja r-relazzjoni bejn Knisja u Sess hijja maqbuda bl-aktar mod car fir-rumanz li ghadu kif hareg ta' Paul P. Borg bl-isem ta' 'Bejn Mara u Qassis'. Hawnhekk ghandek il-gibda sesswali lit f taghti mara li hijja bil-guh u li tispicca iggennen lill qassis li mizmum mill-fidi u r-rieda tieghu jispicca icedi ghat-tentazzjonijiet. Hawnhekk ghandek maghguna l-ipokrezija kollha tas-socjeta' Maltija ta' dari li kienet tghix that xibka ta' ripressjoni u ta' hsibijiet imdallma ma dak kollu li ghandu x'jaqsam dwar sess. Ghadna nghixu hekk illum? Forsi le izda l-ahhar kelma hawnhekk xtaqt intiha lill Javier Vella Sammut.

"Minn dakinhar li kien hareg il-ktieb bl-istess isem li l-gurnalista Gerald Fenech ghazel li jaghti lil dan l-istess artiklu "No Sex Please,We're Maltese" (Zghazagh Taht l-Art, Layout Publications 1994), ghaddew madwar 25 sena. Xi tibdil lokali sehh ukoll bhall-wasla tal-Playboy, (ghaliex mhux tal-Playgirl ukoll?) fuq l-ixkafef tal-hwienet taghna. Izda hdejn dak li jezisti f'dawk il-pajjizi li ahna nharsu lejhom bhala pajjizi demokratici u li tassew jirrispettaw l-ghazla hielsa tal-individwu, dan it-tibdil mhu xejn ghajr passi ta' nemla".

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Pink News: Comment: Pope is wrong about "gay threat", gay sexuality is part of human ecology

By choosing to highlight homosexuality instead of hunger, war and homelessness, the Pope has lost his moral bearings and sense of priorities writes gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell

Free market capitalism, and its culture of greed and consumerism, is a far greater threat to the ecological survival of our planet than homosexuality or transsexuality.

Is the Pope ignorant or malevolent?

The suggestion that gay people are a threat to human survival is absurd and dangerous. It is poisonous propaganda that will give comfort and succour to queer-bashers everywhere.

Homosexuality is a part of human ecology. It has existed in all cultures in all eras. At a time of global over-population, by not having children gay couples contribute to population stabilisation and thereby reduce pressure on over-strained natural resources. We are an ecological asset to humanity.

The Vatican's continued rejection of a modern scientific understanding of homosexuality is a throw-back to the Dark Ages. It defies rationality and humanitarianism.

Why is Benedict so obsessed with gay sex? He seems to talk about it all the time, issuing an almost weekly tirade of denunciations that borders on a compulsive disorder.

This prejudice is par for the course. The Vatican recently opposed a United Nations statement condemning homophobic violence and the criminalisation of same-sex relations.

Without gay priests and bishops, the Catholic Church could barely function. I think that a considerable percentage of the clergy are gay, which makes this latest outburst by the Pope so hypocritical. If Benedict objects so strongly to homosexuality, why does he appear to surround himself with gay advisors and Vatican officials?

The Catechism, which sets out the basic doctrines of the Roman Church denounces same-sex relationships as a "grave depravity" "intrinsically disordered." It also states that lesbian and gay
relationships are "contrary to natural law … and do not proceed from genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Various other Papal pronouncements condemn homosexuality as a deep-seated personality disorder and psychological flaw; variously condemning same-sex acts as "grave sins….objectively disordered….(and)
intrinsically immoral." Even people who have a gay orientation but abstain totally from sex are condemned by the Pope as possessing a "tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil."

Despite the fact that 40 million people are infected worldwide with HIV, the Pope condemns safer sex and condoms. He has turned his back on a proven method of stopping virus transmission, and instead promoted the lie that condoms have tiny holes that HIV can pass through. This irresponsible scare mongering is tantamount to complicity with the needless deaths of millions of people who have died because they had unsafe sex.

Peter Tatchell campaigns with OutRage! and is the Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East

The Lisbon Treaty vs the Pope?
December 24, 2008 by Arnold Cassola

The Times reported that “Pope Benedict yesterday said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. (The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed”. The Pope said humanity needed to “listen to the language of creation” to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as “a destruction of God’s work”. He also defended the Church’s right to “speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected”.

I am afraid that the Pope’s positions differ strongly from those of the governments of the 27 EU Countries who, in the Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU citizen, have clearly stated and stressed that any sort of discrimination based on sexual orientation is a crime.

I believe that the Pope is treading on dangerous waters when he comes up with this type of arguments.

Tolerance and respect of diversity should be the hallmark of all.

Appeal to Maltese Catholics

25.12.8 by Daniel Bartolo

December 2008 will be remembered as the Pope's month of shame when Pope Ratzinger decided to increase his dose of aborrent homophobia to the detriment of the gay community around the world.

First the EU declaration at the United Nations calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality was strongly opposed by the Vatican, on the grounds that this would open up the way for "states that do not allow gay marriages to be persecuted". That is, the Pope would rather have gay individuals persecuted in more than 80 countries worldwide than have states face up to gay relationships. Malta signed up to the declaration, along with all other 26 EU states and more than 30 other self-respecting democracies, where homosexuality has been decriminalised for decades now. Talk about the Pope not living in the middle ages!

Then in his Christmas message to the Church Curia, the Pope decided he had to centre his message on what surely is the biggest joke of 2008: stating that saving humanity from homosexuality and transexuality was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. If this was not a direct and aggressive attack on lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people around the world, I don't know what is!

I still have to see humanity destroy itself as it slowly turns to homosexuality. What with us humans already above the 6 billion mark, more than 90 % of whom are heterosexual, and homosexuality being an integral part of human nature (has been so for thousands and thousands of years), the Pope's position is absurd and grotesque to say the least. I have also become convinced that the Pope still does not quite understand that controlling reproduction is an essential part of human civilised behaviour. And what about transgender people, who are born in a male or female body but who feel it in their skin (with all the mental, physical and emotional pain) that they were born another sex? Is the Pope so insensitive to their plight? What would Jesus have said?

Would he have said they were intending to destroy the human race? There were so many pressing issues the Pontiff could have talked about: from the poverty brought by the credit crunch, the millions of unemployed people, the pitiful state of human rights, the rights of children and women abused and beaten around the world...but priority number 1 for Ratzinger was the condemnation of homosexuality and transexuality, in a style that is eerily reminiscent of the condemnation of Jews, astronomers etc and all those whom the Church found as convenient scapegoats during its history.

I therefore strongly appeal to all Maltese Catholics, and the Maltese Church in particular, to speak up against this cruel and absurd attack on our fellow brothers and sisters. I, for one, no longer feel part of this homophobic machine that the Pope has turned the Catholic Church into. I have heard comments in the same sense from scores of friends - gay and not gay. We are ready to protest, to move out of this Church if there is no stop to this madness! Stop attacking gay people - NOW!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ratzinger's finest Christmas Message

24.12.8 by Dr. Ing. Patrick Attard
Published on Malta Today on 28.12.8:

It wasn't enough that The Vatican opposed the UN Resolution for the universal decriminalisation of gay relationships a few weeks ago, an outrageously obscene act. Now the Pope said that the world should be saved from homosexuality as urgently as we must save the rain-forests from destruction. If this is the finest Christmas Message Pope Ratzinger can deliver us, then things can only get better!

Dear Pope, What is your problem?

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Gay groups angry at Pope remarks

Pope Benedict XVI (file image)
Pope Benedict made his remarks in an end-of-year speech

Gay groups and activists have reacted angrily after Pope Benedict XVI said that mankind needed to be saved from a destructive blurring of gender.

Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was as important as protecting the environment.

The comments were "irresponsible and unacceptable", the UK's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) said.

Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender former Italian MP, called his words "hurtful".

The row erupted as news emerged that the pontiff is to pay his first visit to the Holy Land in May next year.


Pope Benedict made the comments in an end-of-year speech to senior Vatican staff.

Defending God's creation was not limited to saving the environment, he said, but also about protecting man from himself.

Rainforests deserve, yes, our protection, but the human being ... does not deserve it less
Pope Benedict

It was not "out-of-date metaphysics" to "speak of human nature as 'man' or woman'", he said. It came from the "language of creation, despising which would mean self-destruction for humans".

Gender theories, he said, led to man's "auto-emancipation" from creation and Creator.

"Rain forests deserve, yes, our protection but the human being... does not deserve it less," he said.

LGCM head Rev Sharon Ferguson said the Pope's remarks justified "gay bashing" and bullying.

Mark Dowd, strategist for Christian environmental group Operation Noah, said the comments betrayed "a lack of openness to the complexity of creation".

Derek Munn of the UK based gay rights group Stonewall criticises Pope Benedict XVI's comments

And Ms Luxuria, who recently lost her seat in the Italian parliament, said suggesting people like her were destructive was very hurtful.

"I'm someone who was born as male and has a spiritual and female soul, and it's contradictory that a Pope just thinks of people just made as flesh and not made of a spiritual aspect."

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

Earlier this month, the Vatican said that a proposed United Nations resolution decriminalising homosexuality went too far.

"Unjust discrimination" against gay people should be avoided, but the use of wording such as "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in the text would "create serious uncertainty in the law", it said.


Pope attacks blurring of gender

Pope Benedict XVI blesses cardinals at Vatican 22/12/2008
Pope Benedict has called for "an ecology of the human being"

Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

He explained that defending God's creation was not limited to saving the environment, but also about protecting man from self-destruction.

The Pope was delivering his end-of-year address to senior Vatican staff.

His words, later released to the media, emphasised his rejection of gender theory.

Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI warned that gender theory blurred the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race.

Gender theory

Gender theory explores sexual orientation, the roles assigned by society to individuals according to their gender, and how people perceive their biological identity.

Rainforests deserve, yes, our protection, but the human being ... does not deserve it less
Pope Benedict

Gay and transsexual groups, particularly in the United States, promote it as a key to understanding and tolerance, but the Pope disagreed.

When the Roman Catholic Church defends God's Creation, "it does not only defend the earth, water and the air... but (it) also protects man from his own destruction," he said.

"Rainforests deserve, yes, our protection, but the human being ... does not deserve it less," the pontiff said.

It is not "out-of-date metaphysics" to "speak of human nature as 'man' or woman'", he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican's sumptuous Clementine Hall.

"We need something like human ecology, meant in the right way."

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of Britain's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, described the Pope's remarks as "totally irresponsible and unacceptable".

"When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way," she said.

'Rock festival'

The pope uses his traditional end-of-year speech to offer his Christmas greetings and say a few words about what he considers the important issues of the day.

This year, Pope Benedict also deplored the tendency to depict the Catholic church's World Youth Day, which he attended in Sydney earlier this year, as mere spectacle.

He stressed that the event should not be considered a "variant of modern youth culture, as a kind of ecclesiastical rock festival with the Pope as the star," but as the fruition of a "long exterior and interior path".


Zenith: PONTIFF CALLS FOR "ECOLOGY OF MAN"; Warns Against New Theories of "Gender"


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2008 ( While protecting nature is an essential mission of the Church, it's no more important than protecting the nature of the person, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke today of what he termed an "ecology of man" during his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with prelates and members of the Roman Curia.

"Given that faith in the Creator is an essential element of the Christian creed, the Church can not and should not limit itself to transmitting to the faithful only the message of salvation," he affirmed. "It also has a responsibility with creation, and it has to fulfill this responsibility in public."

The Pontiff added that while the Church needs to "defend the earth, water, air, as gifts of the creation that belongs to all of us [... ], it must also protect the human being from his own destruction."

"It is necessary that there be something such as an ecology of man, understood in the proper manner," he said.

This human ecology, he affirmed, is based on respecting the nature of the person, and the two genders of masculine and feminine.

Always current

"It is not outmoded metaphysics," Benedict XVI affirmed, "when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

He said it has more to do with "faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, the contempt of which will lead to the self destruction of humanity."

The Pope warned against the manipulation that takes place in national and international forums when the term "gender" is altered.

"What is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender,' is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator," he warned. "Man wants to create himself, and to decide always and exclusively on his own about what concerns him."

The Pontiff said this is man living "against truth, against the creating Spirit."

"The rain forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as creature indeed deserves no less," he added.

Benedict XVI explained that great theologians have "qualified marriage, that is to say, the link for life between man and woman, as a sacrament of creation, instituted by the Creator."

"This forms part of the announcement that the Church should offer," he concluded, "in favor of the creating Spirit present in all of nature, and in a special way in the nature of man created in the image of God."

Guardian: Our kind of loving
23.12.8 by Mark Vernon

When you are gay, you learn to handle the pontifications of religious leaders on homosexuality with care. The thing to watch is that it doesn't get under your skin. If, unwittingly, you do take it too much to heart, it can ruin your day. And if it ruins too many days, then it ruins your life.

Being gay is about your love life. Gay men and women aren't people who perform certain acts; they are people who love in certain ways. The L-word is never mentioned by those who condemn homosexuality. I suspect that they don't talk about homosexuality as a form of loving because if they did, their arguments would fall away. For what is life without love? No life. And that is, in effect, the no-life they are asking gay men and women to lead. To declare love as a whole section of humanity experiences it as simply deviant (or worse) is about as fundamental an attack on a human being as there can be.

The paradox is that you'd think that Christian leaders, above all others, would realise that. After all, it is they who declare that God is love: "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." (1 John 4:16.) They may excuse their opinions by saying they are challenging the sin not the sinner, or the practice not the orientation, or by some other such sophistical formula. But the truth is that writing off all gay love makes about as much sense as writing off all heterosexual love.

Sure, some attempts at loving are not healthy. That is the case for everyone, and gays arguably know it more than most, since we have to work at our loving. We receive precious little help in that, and we make our mistakes. But we do it as part of that lifelong effort called learning to love ? which is also called learning to be human.

It's not entirely clear what the pope actually said this time: some of the reporting of his comments seems rather overblown. That's the Christmas silly season for you. However, it's pretty clear he thinks homosexuality nothing less than a calamitous disaster for the human race. It is as if homosexuality were as infectious as the common cold. Soon everyone will be sneezing. What kind of fantasies about homosexuality does that imply?

It's also pretty clear that he thinks homosexuality unnatural. He paints a monochrome picture of the relationships between man and woman. Man looks like this; woman looks like that. Together they should look like the Joseph, Mary and Jesus on a million sentimental Christmas cards ? putting to one side the fact that they weren't married and he was illegitimate. But if the pope won't take a lead from the Bible, in which I don't think there is a single example of a stable nuclear family, he might actually turn to nature and read about our evolutionary cousins, the bonobos. The primatologist Frans de Waal describes their loving in moving tones in his book Our Inner Ape.

"The French kiss is the bonobo's most recognizable, humanlike erotic act. Whenever I show an undergraduate class a film of my bonobos, the students get very quiet. They will watch all sorts of sexual intercourse, but invariably the deepest impression is made by a video clip of two juvenile males tongue-kissing."

If only De Waal could show that clip in the Vatican. I'd love to be a fly on the wall.

Talking of living naturally, it is tempting to wonder whether the pope reflects on his own lifestyle. He lives in a small city-state, ruled and in large part populated by celibate men. That hardly seems natural. I suspect that this is why most Catholics take virtually no notice of his teaching on sexual matters. Would you take advice on how to cook your turkey from a strict vegetarian?

So my advice to my fellow homosexuals who today pick up their paper, or go online, and read that the pope has aligned their gayness with nothing less than the destruction of the human race, is this: hand him the rope. To be frank, he just looks silly. Don't let his silliness get under your skin.