Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Times: Divorce debate must focus more on effects on children, PM insists


Tuesday, 1st September 2009 by Claudia Calleja

The divorce debate should focus more on the repercussions any decision may have on children born in a failed marriage, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said.

The point of departure of such an important debate, he added, should be consensus that the family was the most important structure in Malta.

"We must recognise some families are under pressure caused by today's modern society. It is our duty in this debate to identify what is causing these pressures and any issues endangering the family structure," he said.

Dr Gonzi was speaking after he was presented with a report entitled For Worse, Not For Better, published by Proġett Impenn. It was issued in reply to another report by a think tank arguing for the introduction of divorce in the interest of those who want to remarry.

When Dr Gonzi was presented with the think tank's report last July his message was the same: to keep family values at the centre of the debate.

The report For Worse, For Better: Re-marriage After Legal Separation, compiled by The Today Public Policy Think Tank, concludes that divorce legislation has become an urgent necessity and laws to regularise cohabiting couples are no substitute.

The report by Proġett Impenn, which groups together the Diocesan Family Commission, Caritas Malta and the Cana Movement, argues the Church can never accept divorce because God's spiritual authority to unite people in marriage cannot be transferred to man to dissolve.

The Church said it was concerned that introducing divorce would lead to the breakdown of more marriages.

Mgr Charles Vella, founder of the Cana Movement, which prepares couples for marriage, does not share such fear. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said that if marriages were strong then divorce did not pose a threat. He insisted the Church should focus on better preparing couples for marriage and dedicating more resources to the Cana Movement.

In 1995, there were 5,098 individuals in Malta whose marriage had been annulled, were divorced or became legally-separated. The total number of married individuals at that time stood at 181,875, meaning that those who were divorced or separated or had their marriage annulled amounted to about three per cent. By 2005, this figure had risen to 13,354 out of 195,523 married individuals, a proportion of seven per cent.

Discern, the Institute for Research on the Signs of the Times, is forecasting that the number of individuals who would be separated, divorced or have their marriage annulled in 2015 would amount to about 17 per cent of all married people.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times'website.]


Times: PM presented with anti-divorce report


Monday, 31st August 2009 - 16:13CET

The debate on divorce should keep children and the repercussions that divorce could have on them in mind, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said.

He was speaking this afternoon after he was presented with ProgettImpenn’s report on divorce “For worse not for better”.

ProgettImpenn came up with its report in reply to that which had been published by the Today Public Policy Institute.

Dr Gonzi told ProgettImpenn that a debate on this very delicate subject was very. Such a debate had to take into consideration that the family was Malta’s most important institution, he said.

Photo: Clodagh Farrugia O’Neill, DOI

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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