People are very protective of the environment but they now need to become even more concerned about the "ecology of man", Archbishop Paul Cremona said yesterday.
He was echoing Pope Benedict's Christmas message, which had sparked outrage among gay rights activists and was described by some news organisations as offensive and homophobic.
The Pope's message was summarised in a number of news reports as being that the world needed to protect itself from homosexuality in the same way it needed to protect the rainforests.
Mgr Cremona steered clear of such controversy during the traditional New Year's meetings with the highest institutions in the country and instead he gave the examples of poverty and unstable families when explaining the destruction of the "ecology of man".
When pushed by Alternattiva Demokratika, who brought up the gay issue, the Archbishop said the Church was against gay marriage but it was also against any form of discrimination against individuals.
The first to visit the Archbishop at his palace in Valletta was the Cabinet, fronted by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who said that people in a position of power should always be guided by values. For him, the most important of these values was solidarity and the belief in the potential of people. Dr Gonzi said no one should be left behind, including unborn children, and illegal immigrants.
Mgr Cremona agreed and said that everyone needs to understand that "we are our brothers' keepers".
Next in line were a number of members of Parliament from both sides of the House.
Speaker Louis Galea thanked the Church for its work, especially with drug-addicts, illegal immigrants and disabled people. The Archbishop responded by saying that there were two important values that politicians needed to keep in mind: responsibility and fraternity.
Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat, who visited the Archbishop together with his wife Michelle, said 2009 would be an important and busy year, adding that we needed to retain a sense of optimism. The world had high expectations for this year, especially given the recent developments in US politics, Dr Muscat added.
The Archbishop emphasised that the rules of globalisation are not set in stone and that they could be revised. Those who are suffering should be placed in the heart of the globalised world. Dr Muscat said this was music to his ears. New Year's greetings were also conveyed to the Archbishop by the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, representatives of the four political parties, trade unions, and many other organisations and associations.
President Eddie Fenech Adami paid a courtesy visit to the Archbishop at noon, after they had exchanged greetings earlier at the President's palace.
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Independent: Data protection and family values
[Excerpt from the article]
Finally, Prof. Cassola noted that AD is the party for Civil liberties and therefore appreciated the fact that the Vatican had corrected the original statements by Cardinal Migliore regarding the criminalisation of gay persons. On the other hand, AD was quite concerned at the words pronounced by Pope Benedict on homosexuality, when he specified that behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations was “a destruction of God’s work”.
“We hope that the Church is in total agreement with the Charter of Fundamental Rights entrenched in the Lisbon Treaty, that states that there should be no discrimination based on sexual orientation”, concluded Prof. Cassola.