Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Times: Let God say what's right or wrong

Wednesday, 28th October 2009 by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca

I was happy to see the title Majority Of Students Oppose Abortion (October 15). Unfortunately, however, when I went through the text of the same news item I could not help feeling disappointed and sad.

The report referred to the findings of what statistician Vincent Marmarà described as a scientific survey wherein 395 Maltese University students, randomly chosen, were asked to share their opinion about a number of hot issues.

The survey shows that the large majority of students interviewed, 78.7 per cent, reject abortion. However, 14.4 per cent express themselves in favour and another 6.8 per cent said they don't know.

Moreover, it turns out that, as regards divorce, 55 per cent of the students believe divorce should be introduced, as opposed to 33 per cent who were described as adamantly against.

We also read that the "progressive" student organisation MOVE disagreed with abortion but supported the introduction of divorce, gay marriage, cohabitation rights and condoms on campus and is still discussing its position on the morning-after pill.

This organisation encourages progressives to discuss issues "our conservative society" has been afraid to discuss.

The report quotes MOVE president Godfrey Galea saying: "Progressive is when you believe everyone has every right to live freely and equally without discrimination. Progressives believe everyone should have the right to choose and make their own decisions without anyone or anything imposing what should or should not be done. Progressives do not accept the status quo and believe change serves to renew".

During a debate it was also stated that the condom machine on campus was not only important to promote safe sex but was a symbol of the distinction that had to be made between the Church and the University, which was a secular education institution.

A view of the beliefs as pronounced by MOVE shows that this could be interpreted as an incorrect and wrong appreciation of the Church's views on sexual health education. In fact, MOVE spokesman Byron Camilleri said: "It was worrying Malta still had no sexual health policy and that the Church's views on sexual health education did not respect today's realities when, on average, people lost their virginity at 16".

Yet, it needs to be stated that what progressives appear to understand when they speak about the right to choose and decide what should or should not be done is a gross moral blunder.
However, these progressives bring to light an interesting side of the picture of our times: many young people are today passing through a new phase of social life. They are witnessing quick and deep changes in the milieu they are living; besides they feel they are the product of a more intelligent and creative mind and experience a deep sense of liberty as never before.

Many young people of our day have such a high sense of the dignity of the human person that they feel prompted to act more and more on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty.

This demand for freedom in human society regards chiefly the quest for the values proper to the human spirit; it regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society.

Yet, it does not rarely happen that this kind of freedom is greatly and very often abused, as when people feel they can do everything that is pleasing to them notwithstanding that it is morally wrong.

It is dangerous to state that I have the right to do what my conscience tells me to do simply because my conscience tells me to do it or to act in this way. It is dangerous because, this way, in the end it is my conscience, and not the objective truth, which determines what is right or wrong, true or false.

In the presence of such beliefs, as upheld and proposed by the progressives, it would be very useful that these views of theirs be reconsidered in the light and the context of what we Christians hold that Almighty God declared openly to all mankind.

When Almighty God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and forbade them from eating fruit from a specific tree upon punishment of death, God made it clear that no person on earth has the power to decide what is wrong and what is right.

Indeed, no person on earth can ever usurp this power that belongs solely and exclusively to Almighty God.

By straying far from God's will our first parents fell into sin, that is, the wrong use of freedom. Yet, the heavenly Father did not forsake us; he sent his son Jesus to heal our wounded freedom and to restore the disfigured image, making it even more beautiful.

Victorious over sin and death, Jesus affirmed his lordship over the world and history. He is alive and invites us not to submit our personal freedom to any earthly power but only to him and to his almighty Father.

One's conscience must remain in obedience to the law of God, which is not always the easy way. One recognises the weight of the sacrifices and the burdens it can impose.

Heroism is sometimes called for in order to remain faithful to the requirements of the divine law.

I make my own Pope John Paul II's appeal way back in 2002 in Rome: "Young people of the new millennium, do not misuse your freedom! Do not lose the great dignity that God has conferred on you as his sons and daughters! Submit only to Christ, who wants your good and your true joy (cf. Mt 23, 8-10); to him, who wants you to be men and women who are perfectly happy and fulfilled! In this way you will find that only by following God's will can we be the light of the world and the salt of the earth!"

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

No comments:

Post a Comment