Saturday, 3 January 2009

Independent: 2009: the year of intolerance?
3.1.9 by Prof. Arnold

[Excerpt from the article]


Unfortunately, the end of the year also brought with it some dubious episodes of possible intolerance on the part of the Vatican. First we had the Vatican permanent observer at the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, opposing the political declaration brought up by France, Malta and 25 other EU countries before the General Assembly of the United Nations calling for the depenalisation of homosexuality worldwide. Luckily, following world wide uproar at Migliore’s unbelievable discriminatory stance, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi remedied his colleague’s gaffe by declaring that “The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons should be avoided and urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them.” Well done to Fr Lombardi for clarifying things.

However, not even a few days had passed that Pope Benedict himself came up with another quite controversial declaration: he actually stressed the necessity of saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour and specified that behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations was “a destruction of God’s work”.

Now I have great respect for the Pope’s teaching, but in this day and age when we Europeans are ratifying the EU Lisbon Treaty that entrenches the “Charter of fundamental rights” of EU citizens, that clearly states that there should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation, I find Pope Benedict’s words not really conducive to spreading tolerance amongst peoples.

During 2009 we must pay great attention to these new problems that are arising out of our stressful lives and see how to handle them. We must ensure that as one people we isolate all those who favour violence, intolerance, and lack of respect for diversity amongst peoples, races and religions. The Maltese people should remain vigilant and ensure that the spirit of respect of diversity and of others remains the hallmark of our population, today and in the future.

We at AD look forward to the future with courage and trust because we are convinced that the Maltese and Gozitans are capable of overcoming the economic and political challenges facing us, as also this ugly spectre of violence that has reared its head at the end of the year.

2009 should be the year that brings out the pride and self respect of our people who, with the greatest sense of dignity, overcome the negative challenges the world is posing us and look forward to a future that is just and equitable with everybody, in the respect of the differences and diversity of others.

No comments:

Post a Comment