Friday, 30 April 2010 Remembering an Angel "Joshua Melo" [Gay Suicide Prevention]

by Kevin Caruso

Joshua Melo Memorial

"I had to cut my son down from the tree," said John Melo, father of 15-year-old Joshua Melo, who died by suicide after being relentlessly bullied because some students thought that he was gay. "I told the kids at the funeral that if you don't get together and confront the bullies, it will be your parents cutting you down. You guys have to stick together, stand up to the bullies, take away their power and they will back down. If you guys don't do it, the system won't."

"All I could hear was John's screams," said Maria Melo, Joshua's mother."He came in like a madman. Joshua was already so stiff. John couldn't pull him down. He was cold and John was hugging him. I started to scream."

"[After Joshua was cut down from the tree], I just went outside and hugged him...I just hugged him," Maria said. "I told the coroner that I needed time to hug and kiss Joshua before they took him away."

John has since removed the tree. "The tree is already gone," said Maria. "John cut it down and burned it."

Joshua Melo was a sensitive, shy, polite, caring, talented, and intelligent 15-year-old 10th grader who attended Strathroy District Collegiate Institute in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada.

Joshua hanged himself on November 26, 2004; he was suffering from severe depression after enduring endless bullying because some bullies at the school believed that he was gay.

"Last Friday, Joshua couldn't take it anymore and took his own life," said John Melo. "Something went really bad and he just snapped. He couldn't take it anymore. Joshua was the type of boy to bottle everything up inside and this had been going on for a long time...It's more than heartbreaking."

"He had been harassed daily," said John. "He had been subjected to constant homophobic slurs."

"Joshua couldn't walk down the hall without someone laughing and teasing him," said one student.

"It's like they were trying to torture him," said another student.

"This situation makes me sick, real sick," said another student. "Joshua was a good guy. Many things have to change at our school. How could this have happened? How? This is horrible, and I think that the people who did this to Josh should be in jail. I am so sad about all of this."

And another student said: "They hated Joshua because they said he was gay, so they called him every 'gay hate name' that they could. It just didn't stop. They never left him alone. And now I know they are happy he's dead."

"Words can hurt as much – if not more – than violence, and here's the proof," said Joshua's aunt.

Joshua was actually quite strong physically, and was close to receiving his black belt in Tae Kwon Do when he passed away. But Joshua did not believe in violence, so he never used his fighting skills against any of the bullies.

And Joshua was a gentle, extremely shy, and very sensitive young man who did not like to argue or confront others. So he did not say a thing in response to the relentless verbal assaults.

"Joshua was an easy target," said Shelley Carrier, whose daughter was close friends with Joshua. "Although he was an accomplished martial artist, he wouldn't fight back. He was one of the sweetest young guys you'd ever meet. He's the type you'd want to marry your daughter. He was full of compassion and caring and wouldn't hurt a fly."

Unbelievably, some of the students continued to badger and disrespect Joshua even after he passed away.

"Some teens wouldn't stand when the school held a moment of silence for Joshua," said Carrier. "And others said that he 'deserved to die.'"

Amberly Carrier, Shelly Carrier's daughter, wrote a poem in memory of Joshua. It is called "Words and Rumors." And here it is:


Words and Rumors

In Memory of Joshua Melo

You said they were making fun of you,
Making up rumours and calling you names...
Mean words can hurt, which they never knew.

They never stopped.
It just got worse.

Then came the day
You couldn't take any more.

There's shedding of tears
As you are missed so very much,
By your family and peers.

Those students at school,
They were in the wrong.
They pushed you to the edge.

The words that cut you so deep...
Your life has ended
Because the rumours
Couldn't be taken back.

God help his family and friends.

Keep strong.

Rest in peace Joshua David Melo.

Joshua Melo Memorial


Many parents and students believe that the Strathroy District Collegiate Institute could have prevented Joshua's suicide if they stopped the bullies. And many believe that school administrators have not responded to Josua's death properly.

"Nothing was done [to stop the bullying], and now it's too late," said Natalie Moniz, Joshua's aunt.

"I was angry," said Shelley Carrier. "I was very angry – that someone could reach this point in their life that they thought this was the only way out. Bullying has got to be stopped and it can't be unless teachers get more rights and programs are brought into the school... When you hear more and more kids teasing you, you can't conquer a whole school."

"The system won't [stop the bullying]," said John Melo, Joshua's father.

And speaking about the lack of response from the school after Joshua's suicide, John Melo said: "All we've got is political stuff from the principal. They say they couldn't control what was happening in the hallways. What kind of a system do we have?"

And Joshua's aunt said: "Even if they were aware of what was going on, there's nothing in the school system to suspend kids for bullying."

School principal Ron Newnes said that he would not comment until "internal probes" were completed.

Josua's family and friends, and the community at large, certainly deserve a more sensitive, thoughtful, and meaningful response than what the principal has offered.


Josua's suicide has caused tremendous tension among students and has divided Strathroy District Collegiate Institute.

"Some kids have tried to retaliate against the bully," said Shelley Carrier.

"The situation [at school] was getting ugly," said Joshua's aunt. "Some students were being 'hunted down' by others and the police were needed."


Many parents and studens were hoping that the bullies would legally be held accountable for their actions.

But Strathroy Police have investigated Joshua's death and have closed the case.

And although the police will not charge anyone with a crime, there is a word for what happened to Joshua – bullycide.

It may not be a legal word...but it is a powerful, dangerous, and real word, for a horrible act – bullying someone to the point where he feels he needs to kill himself to stop the bullying... bullying someone to the point where he becomes severly clinically depressed and cannot go on. Bullycide is real. Very real.

And the sick, cowardly losers who bullied Joshua committed bullycide.

No, they did not kill Josh with a gun or a knife, they used something more insidious – hate.


I have received numerous e-mails about Joshua, and it is very clear that Joshua was loved by almost everyone at Strathroy District Collegiate Institute.

So let us focus the blame on those who really caused Joshua's death.

And that blame should be placed on the weak shoulders of the punks, the pathetic lowly losers and cowards – the bullies – who committed the bullycide.

And the blame should be placed on the administration, which was completely lacking in appropriate anti-bullying and suicide prevention policies and actions.


Joshua Melo was a very talented young man. He was an excellent artist, an outstanding athlete, and a great student (he recently received an award for academic achievement).

He loved animals, especially birds; enjoyed listening to music and going to concerts; and loved to dance.

And Joshua Melo was a great person. "He was a good boy from day one," said Maria, Joshua's mother.


Joshua Melo is survived by his parents, John and Maria; brothers, John Jr. and Chris; and his sister, Jenny-Lee.

We miss you Joshua.

You are an angel now.


If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered and are suffering from depression or are suicidal, please immediately read the following pages:

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Suicide HOME PAGE

Teen Suicide and Youth Suicide

Bullying and Suicide

And please call The Trevor Hotline, which is a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention line aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning youths:


And if you are depressed please make appointments with a medical doctor and a therapist so you can be evalutated.


And please read the following articles for more information on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered suicide:

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Suicide

Alan Keyes: A Case Study in Ignorance, Intolerance, and Hate Against Gays and Lesbians; and How His Hate and That of Others Like Him Can Lead to Suicide

Hate Against Gays and Lesbians can Lead to Murder and Suicide – Remembering Matthew Sheppard and John French


Students, parents, school administrators, and teachers all need to work together to stop bullying.

All schools should have a ZERO-TOLERANCE bullying policy in place.

Please click below to learn more about bullying and find out what you can do to prevent bullying.

Bullying and Suicide


And remember that all bullies are cowards.

Make sure that your school has a ZERO-TOLERANCE anti-bullying policy in place.

Administrators, teachers, parents, and students – contact your principal and ask him or her what the anti-bullying policy is at your school. And if no policy exists, make sure that a strong, serious, zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy is implemented immediately.

And do not take "no" for an answer – because bullying can kill.

End bullycide. Make our schools safe. TAKE ACTION.


And ALL schools should have a suicide prevention program. Period.

If your school does not have a suicide prevention program, then you need to start one as soon as possible.

You can get a FREE suicide prevention program from by clicking below:

Free School Suicide Prevention Program

Whether you are an administrator, teacher, parent, or student, please make sure that your school has a suicide prevention program.

Contact you principal as soon as possible and let him or her know that a suicide prevention program is IMPERATIVE and URGENT.

Be persistent.

And there is NO valid excuse not to implement a suicide prevention program. It is FREE.

Get started TODAY...because suicide is always urgent.

Independent: Stay out of the pigeonhole, Karl [Gouder]

29.4.10 by Daphne Caruana Galizia

“The logical conclusion of everything gay rights activists are supposed to be fighting for is to be treated no differently to anyone else. If the sexuality of heterosexuals is completelyignored as a non-issue, then the sexuality of homosexuals should be ignored too.”

I’ve just been reminded of one of the reasons why I prefer the Nationalist Party to the Labour Party (the other reason is that the Labour Party is rubbish and getting worse by the day). It’s not all mouth and no trousers, which is precisely the phrase that springs to mind when I see the comic Labour trio – Joseph, Anglu and Toni – performing on some Sunday meeting stage.

The Labour Party blathers away, telling us that it is progressive while the Nationalist Party is conservative, while tackling homosexuality with all the tact of a blunderbuss in the hands of Colonel Blink, and corralling the queers, pufti, homos, lezzies, nisa-rgiel and trannies (I use those words deliberately as they reflect the thinking of Labour’s core vote) into a special cage in its party HQ zoo. Meanwhile, the Nationalist Party doesn’t mention the word ‘gay’ and ignores people’s sexuality as it promotes them through the party ranks. Whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual, all that matters is that you’re trustworthy and can do the job you’re paid to do.

This is the way it should be. The logical conclusion of everything gay rights activists are supposed to be fighting for is to be treated no differently to anyone else. If the sexuality of heterosexuals is completely ignored as a non-issue, then the sexuality of homosexuals should be ignored too. It’s just not relevant. This attitude was summed up by another Nationalist politician, Sliema councillor Cyrus Engerer, who is also homosexual, who told the press: “The Prime Minister said he has no problem with his candidates being gay, as long as they have no problem with it.”

To make an issue of ‘gay rights’ in 2010, as the Labour Party’s official line has it now, is atavistic – but not anywhere near as atavistic as the homophobia and contempt for ‘pufti’ and ‘nisa-rgiel’ manifested everywhere else in the Labour Party, which accurately reflects how their very non-progressive, ultra-conservative electors feel about shameful freaks and sexual deviants, as they see it.

So while the Labour Party blusters on about the Nationalist Party being anti-gay – something it is able to do because its audience doesn’t know just how many gay people are promoted through and by the Nationalist Party without any trumpets being blown because their sexuality is a non-issue, the Nationalist Party takes one of its promising information office people and co-opts him to Parliament to replace Michael Frendo. The man happens to be homosexual. The Nationalist Party says nothing about it, for the very same reason that it wouldn’t issue a press statement announcing the co-option of a ‘heterosexual MP’. Malta Today trumpets a front-page headline: ‘PN chooses Gouder, first openly gay MP’, setting the stage for the young politician to be defined by his sexuality. Meanwhile, a cheesed-off Labour Party says nothing, having had the rug smoothly whipped from beneath its feet on this one.

The newsroom irritants have begun to circle Karl Gouder already with their questions about gay rights, gay issues and gay votes, revealing that they cannot see beyond his sexuality and that, to them, he is the token homosexual in our All Sorts parliament. If I might offer some advice to Gouder by means of this column, it would be this: be emphatic in your refusal to allow yourself to be classified as a homosexual politician. Do not lend yourself to anything that begs your participation primarily as a homosexual. Politely refuse to be pigeonholed as the politician to whom journalists resort when they need an opinion about gay rights. Stand your ground on this or you will in the end be undermined and moved out of the mainstream.

Women have been through this already and many have defeated their own aims by allowing themselves to be defined primarily as women: women politicians, women columnists, women artists, women bankers, women lawyers, women this and women that. Get on the minority treadmill and you’re stuck there for good, spinning in circles.

If you’re going to join the race at all, join the main race – the one in which the (straight) men are running. I learned this lesson a long time ago, when I was just starting out, from Ena Cremona who went on to become a judge at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. I rang her sometime in the late 1980s and asked whether I could interview her for an article about women and work, and she said no. “I never pigeonhole myself as a woman lawyer,” she told me, “and I avoid participating in seminars, interviews and articles that pigeonhole women as special cases. It implies that men are the mainstream and women are not, and it is self-defeating.”

I didn’t abandon the feature article – I had been commissioned to write it, so write it I did as there were other women to interview – but I certainly changed my outlook. From then on, I decided I was going to run with the men, and if that meant I was going to be seen as a token man, then so be it. I can tell you that it’s a hell of a lot better than being a token woman or the habitué of some perceived minority ghetto. I believe I read somewhere that Dolores Cristina, too, avoids specific ‘women’ questions and nobody has ever suspected Giovanna Debono of being a token woman.

It is in the Labour Party that this obsession with tokenism and quotas and special treatment manifests itself so utterly. Labour politicians play up the fact that they are women as though they are stuck in the early 1970s. Marlene Mizzi made use of a really silly motto recently – I forget where, but it was probably on Facebook: ‘Whatever men do, women can do backwards and in high heels.’ Such rubbish – what sort of mind would divide the abilities of the human race according to gender rather than, say, intelligence quotient and aptitude? There are legions of incompetent women and legions of incompetent men, and it just so happens that I know far more incompetent women than I know incompetent men, but that’s almost certainly because most Maltese women have been out of the workforce since the age of 25. They’re not incompetent because they’re women, but because they have little or no training and experience.

Karl Gouder starts off with an inestimable advantage. He is a man and doesn’t have to elbow his way into the men’s race while the women cling to his ankles and try to drag him down into their self-consoling ghetto. But he’s got to avoid being given the ‘women’ treatment. He will be besieged by pests asking him for his views on gay rights, just as back in the early to mid-1990s when a woman in the forum was a novelty, I was endlessly harassed by requests for participation in women’s seminars and women’s talk-shows and interviews about women and juggling work and family and all the rest of that annoying tosh.

I said ‘yes’ to some requests just to help out and invariably regretted it. Five years in an all-girls convent school have given me a lifelong horror of large groups of women, but mainly it’s because I don’t like ghettos of any sort. Homosexuals of both genders shouldn’t make the mistake that many heterosexual women made: they should stay in the mainstream and refuse to countenance any attempt at pigeonholing. Nobody can pigeonhole you without your compliance.

[Click here to read the comments about this article.]

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Zenith: Catholic Psychology and Sexual Abuse by Clergy (Parts 1 & 2): Interview With Gerard van den Aardweg

Note: Gerald van Aardweg Ph.D. advised Cardinal Bertone on homosexuality and paedophelia.
27.4.10 By Genevieve Pollock

HAARLEM, Netherlands, APRIL 27, 2010 ( Pedophiliac behavior -- as in cases of child sexual abuse by clergy - cannot be equated with homosexuality, but research reveals that the two are not disconnected either, says a Catholic psychotherapist.

Gerard van den Aardweg has worked as a therapist for almost 50 years in his homeland of Holland, specializing in cases of homosexuality and marital problems. He has taught worldwide and written extensively on homosexuality and pedophilia, as well as the relation of these issues to other topics: same-sex attraction in the priesthood, "Humane Vitae," and the effects of gay parenting.

The psychologist's published books include: "Battle for Normality: Self-Therapy of Homosexuality" and "On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality."
Van den Aardweg has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality since the organization was founded in 1992. He is also the European editor of the "Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior."
In this interview with ZENIT, he speaks about the ways the media may be distorting the facts about the sexual abuse of minors and the empirical data about pedophilia and homosexuality.
Part 2 of this interview will be published Wednesday.

ZENIT: Recent news stories in Europe have focused on cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests. In your opinion as a psychologist, why has there been such an outbreak in the priesthood?

Van den Aardweg: The idea of a more or less recent outbreak of sexual abuse of minors by priests may be suggested by the media, but we should not buy it.

The real outbreak we witness is one in media attention for the subject. We must not trust the media in this matter, especially not the left-leaning and liberal newspapers and television channels, because they exploit these scandals for their own agenda.

No doubt, scandalous sexual abuse of minors by priests and religious has occurred in the past, much too often, and more than many people have thought or believed; and it still happens. But the situation is clearly improving, and the peak of the abuses lies roughly between 1965 and 1990, so 20 years back.

That is not amazing; the sexual revolution in the secular world did not stop at the Church door. However, that does not mean that such behavior was typical of priests and friars, or that it occurred more frequently in Catholic parishes and institutes of education than elsewhere.
Without any attempt to check on their validity, accusations, ripe and unripe, are indiscriminately broadcast as proven truth, in an aggressive tone of righteous indignation, often commented upon in a Church-hostile way. Day after day the same message is hammered home.

It looks like a Pavlovian conditioning of public opinion: The association between "Catholic priest" and "child abuser" is reinforced in the mind of the reader or listener, and implicitly, too, the association between "Catholic moral doctrine on sexuality" and "hypocrisy."

ZENIT: How reliable do you think is the information the media divulge at present on abuse of minors in the Church?

Van den Aardweg: The truth lies in the middle.

It is true that too many serious cases have been played down or covered up in the past.
On the other hand, the present black picture of the media is quite exaggerated, a portion of the accusations has more the character of rumors than of concrete facts; in Holland accusations are being made of events that would have happened more than half a century ago -- will the majority of people wait all that time if they suffered serious injustice?

And no distinction is made between grave abuse, such as priests or religious who physically or psychologically coerced a vulnerable boy into a sexual relationship for a longer period of time and which often has deep effects on the victim, and an occasional contact or attempt that left no such traces.

As an example of the latter category, a rather popular priest who taught at a secondary school repeatedly tried to impose himself sexually on a series of adolescents, but these simply did not take him seriously; some even slapped him in the face when he became too obtrusive, and he was the object of jokes.

In one British study with adolescent boys, 35% of them said they had been approached homosexually by an adult (family member, teacher, youth leader, etc.); only 2% of them had given in.

This is also an aspect of the problem. The behavior of the teacher-priest I just mentioned was of course very reproachable, but it may not be equalized with that of a priest or religious in a boarding school who plays the affectionate father role to a lonely young boy from a disrupted home and then abuses his position of power to make his affection dependent on the boy's complying to his filthy desires.

In Holland, one or two boarding schools had a bad name in this respect, it was evident that some influential staff members were no good (and they tend to attract others of their ilk), but in many -- probably most -- of the others, sexual molestations were the exception.

ZENIT: You mention the relationship between people with homosexual tendencies and people who abuse children. Some Church leaders have been criticized for making a connection between the two groups and others have come out with public statements about how the two are completely separated and unrelated. As a psychologist, what would you say about this?

Van den Aardweg: The data on complaints of sexual abuse by priests in the United States, where this type of scandal has best been researched, indicate that 14% of the complaints were about children up to 11 years old, 51% involving preadolescents, and 35% about adolescents 15-17 years old. We could say that roughly 20% of the complaints in general concern children, or if we want to be more liberal in our definition, we may estimate that a third of the cases technically involve pedophile behavior. In any case, they are not the majority.

For European countries, these statistics are not yet available, but whatever partial information we have points to a similar pattern. Besides, this pattern is confirmed for other groups of molesters of same-sex children and adolescents, in other words, for teachers, youth leaders, or personnel of educational institutes.

Now seduction and abuse of adolescent boys is normally not the trade of "pedophiles."
Pedophiles are on average no more interested in boys after these enter the phase of puberty and develop their first masculine traits; it is the childlike body and psyche that attracts them.
Suppose also in Europe about 20% or more -- which is not very likely -- of the victims of molestation by priests were clearly under the age of adolescence and that all of these molesting priests were real pedophiles. Even then the bulk of the crimes must be accounted for by priests and religious who were not "pedophiles," but indeed persons with an ordinary homosexual "orientation."

That is not surprising. For it is a universal fact that many self-identified homosexuals are focused on adolescents -- the term is ephebophiles -- and if they act out their feelings, many of them are tempted to seduce an adolescent if the occasion presents itself.

ZENIT: You said your impression is that only few priests are homosexual pedophiles, that is, directed to young boys, 8-11 years old. How do these few men account for the estimated 20% of the cases of sexual abuse of male children?

Van den Aardweg: One active pedophile may make many victims, so cause many complaints.
But then, coming back to the relationship between "normal" homosexuality and homosexual pedophilia, many men who identify themselves as practicing homosexuals may occasionally also be interested in a boy who is still a child, or a pre-adolescent.

About a quarter of practicing homosexual men have reported sex with boys of 16 years and younger, including with boys before puberty. About half of homosexually active men in one study reported some interest in youngsters as young as age 12. This percentage may also be assumed for practicing homosexual priests.

This is a gray zone, also because for understandable reasons men who are mainly focused on adolescents -- technically ephebophile homosexuals -- do not like to admit they may occasionally have feelings for younger boys.

If the taboo on such contacts would become less strict, I would expect much more "borderline pedophile" and pedophile behavior on the part of adolescent-directed men.

This is also suggested in the declarations by an official gay organization known as the Dutch COC (Club for Culture and Leisure). In 1980 it proclaimed that "by acknowledging the affinity between homosexuality and pedophilia, the COC has quite possibly made it easier for homosexual adults to become more sensitive to erotic desires of younger members of their sex, thereby broadening the gay identity."

Therefore, it stated, "liberation of pedophilia must be viewed a gay issue," and "the age of consent must be abolished."

Part 2:

HAARLEM, Netherlands, APRIL 28, 2010 ( If we want to address the problem of sexual abuse by clergy, we need to go back to the teachings of "Humanae Vitae," says a Dutch Catholic psychotherapist.

Gerard van den Aardweg has worked as a therapist for almost 50 years, specializing in cases of homosexuality and marital problems. He has taught worldwide and written extensively on homosexuality and pedophilia, as well as the relation of these issues to other topics: same-sex attraction in the priesthood, "Humane Vitae," and the effects of gay parenting.

The psychologist's published books include: "Battle for Normality: Self-Therapy of Homosexuality" and "On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality."

Van den Aardweg has been a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality since the organization was founded in 1992. He is also the European editor of the "Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior."

In this interview with ZENIT, he speaks about the role of psychology in cases of sexual abuse by clergy, and the origin and resolution of these problems.

ZENIT: Going back to the problems in the clergy, would you say that the abuse arose more because men with pre-existing tendencies were admitted to the priesthood, or were there factors that contributed to this type of behavior over time?
Van den Aardweg: A young man who is psychologically and emotionally mature when he is admitted to the seminary will never become homosexually or pedo-sexually interested. If he feels sexually aroused and gives way to his feelings, he will seek a woman.
The "orientation" toward boys or adolescents in priests who have molested youngsters has never originated during their seminary or priesthood years.
In some cases it may initially have been more or less latent, weak; but then, there was always this obvious gap in his feelings, the absence of normal heterosexual feelings.

In certain circumstances, confronted with some youth, or during a period of disillusionment or loneliness, the slumbering homosexual longing may be inflamed.
Another priest may always have been aware of his attraction to males, but managed to live with it without acting out. However, when he increasingly feels unable to cope with the demands or disillusionments of his profession, in a bad moment he may start either looking into pornographic magazines -- in our day, into a porn site on the Internet -- or start drinking, to comfort himself; and indulging in sexual fantasies, he goes from bad to worse.

Homosexuality is more than a sexual problem.

It is part of a rather specific variant of personality immaturity, and among its most frequent symptoms are a lack of character strength, inner loneliness, difficulties in forming mature bonds of friendship, anxiety and depression. Thus stress, in all its forms, can weaken the man's resistance to surrendering to his desires.
Other important factors that lower the threshold of resistance are the absence of much needed personal support and regular spiritual guidance; laxity in interior, spiritual life; neglect of regular confession; the bad example of other priests in the environment who lead a double life; and being exposed to permissive moral theories on sexuality in general and on the normality of homosexuality.

In this regard, the critical attitude of many theologians and prominent priests toward celibacy and above all toward "Humanae Vitae" has been an efficient factor in undermining the resistance of many priests to sexual acting out, assuredly in the case of many with homosexual desires.

As Pope Paul VI himself expected in this encyclical, dissociating sexuality from propagation in the relationship between man and woman would entail the approval of other sterile forms of sex such as homosexuality.

Many sex scandals that finally ignited the publicity wave in the United States, which is presently being continued in Europe, and which provides such abundant material for anti-Catholic propaganda, are a logical consequence of decades of openly rejecting and tacitly ignoring "Humanae Vitae" and the Christian view of sexuality behind it by prominent priests, moral theologians and bishops.

You cannot expect that many priests and religious with weaknesses such as homosexual -- and occasional pedophile -- desires will persevere in their inner battle for chastity when they constantly hear and notice that almost everything is OK in heterosexual life, married or not: "Why should I be the only one who is not allowed to only occasionally give in to an innocent sexual pleasure if I don't hurt anyone?"
ZENIT: The media seldom focus on the role of psychology in these sexual abuse cases, but haven't therapists generally been involved in either the treatment of offending priests or in the advising of Church authorities on how to deal with these problems? What would you say about the role of psychology in these cases?

Van den Aardweg: In spite of all present criticism, there is no evidence that the majority of the cases of sexual misbehavior by priests in the more remote past, and even many during 1960-1980 were handled badly and irresponsibly.

Often a prudent compromise was sought between the need to protect minors, the "resocialization" of the offender, and damage control for the parish, diocese, institute and order or congregation.

Therapy -- or, at any rate, a series of conversations with professionals -- was one of the standard measures. This approach was not different from the one used in similar cases in secular institutes, save that punishment was ecclesiastical, and more sporadic.

Looking back, this handling may have been adequate in many cases, but often it was not. One of the reasons of the inadequacy of such procedures was the naïveté of Church authorities with respect to sexual deviations.

The tendency was to underestimate the seriousness of offenses, and to believe that a well-intentioned offender who, moreover, had gone to confession and promised to correct himself, deserved charity and confidence more than anything else, and had to be given a second chance.

On top of that, Church authorities -- no less than secular judicial authorities -- shared an over-optimistic trust in the upcoming psychological and psychiatric sciences. Relegating a case of sexual abuse to a psychiatrist or psychologist was seen as a rather solid guarantee against recidivism.

Which it decidedly was not, and still is not. The long-term effect of psychotherapy or medication in many cases of sexual offenders is minimal, also because the motivation of a person to fight the hard battle with himself can be rather artificial and dependent on the pressure of the circumstances.

On the other hand it seems that, roughly since the end of the '60s, the response to these offenses became in many sections of the Church -- not in all -- ever more inadequate, weak, negligent.

The secular psychological trend was to emphasize the mental sickness aspect of delinquents in general -- their being patients, victims of upbringing etc. -- rather than their responsibility for immoral behavior.

The element of discipline and punishment -- in the case of priests and religious: penance -- was not popular, and this went along with an often glaring lack of consideration of the sufferings and needs of the victims of crimes.
Psychology bears much responsibility for this distorted, in fact, ideological view, and it has no doubt deeply affected the way Church authorities reacted to sexual abuses or accusations that came to their attention, their conduct in regard to sex offenders in the clergy, and the attitude of many prominent Church people and theologians toward homosexuals in general and homosexual priests in particular.
A powerful factor in this was also fear of the media, of public opinion; not demonstrating "liberal" views on this issue and being "intolerant" could prompt hostile reactions within the media and within sections of the Church itself.
Anyhow, not seldomly, authorities looked away when "pedophile" or other homosexual behaviors of priests were brought to their attention, and if measures were taken, it was often too much with "the cloak of charity:" no punishment, perhaps placement in a center for therapy, and then without checking the effect.

ZENIT: Some criticize the Church because in the past sexually abusing priests were allowed to return to ministry while undergoing psychotherapy. Do you think the therapists believed that this priest could effectively be cured, therefore once again be trusted with children or youngsters?

Van den Aardweg: This criticism is justified. The responsible authorities in such cases are to blame that they did not have the prudence to wait a couple of years, check the results of treatment, and that they did not personally and critically follow up the case. Their too weak reaction was sometimes the easiest way out.
It is also true that in general, psychotherapists had -- still have -- too much confidence in their insights and methods.

Indeed, psychotherapy can help a minority of people with aberrant sexual penchants such as homosexuality to change radically and a higher percentage to improve, in so far that their feelings lose most of their intensity and obsessive nature, and their overall emotional stability has sizably increased. But that often takes years, and the best results are with those who enter therapy out of their own initiative and not forced by the external situation.

Also, a therapy client may fare better during therapy for a period of time, and that may occasion a therapist to prematurely consider him fit for returning into his former situation; however, under renewed inner and outer stress the chances are not slim that he will slide back in his old pattern.

We see this not only with persons with sexual problems, but with a variety of other neurotics and delinquents as well. Therefore, prudence prescribes never to place someone with these former behaviors back in the old situation for many years at least, as he remains vulnerable.

ZENIT: What is the current relationship between Church authorities and psychologists in working with pedophile/homosexual priests? Has this changed over time?
Van den Aardweg: It depends on the individual authority, but also on the availability of qualified Catholic psychologists. The European reality is that only few psychologists work therapeutically with same-sex attractions, for this branch of therapy is almost outlawed in the European Union that has officially embraced the gay ideology.

Therapy of sexual deviations is short of being treated as a violation of human rights; universities do not transmit knowledge on homosexuality other than the politically correct ideological slogans, let alone would or could they give therapy courses for professionals. Only a few Christian therapists specialize in this subject.

As for the Church, the interest in cooperating with these Christian/Catholic psychologists and psychiatrists is growing on the part of especially those bishops, prominent staff members of seminaries, individual priests and theologians who endorse the sexual morality of the Church.

Others, who are insecure in their opinion on this issue, or afraid of confrontations with the media, liberal priests and faithful, or with their own theologians, prefer to keep psychiatrists and psychologists who treat homosexuality as a disorder at arm's length. But I think something is changing for the better in this area, however slowly.

On the one hand, more younger psychologists and psychiatrists are interested in what we may call "Christian, or Catholic psychotherapy," that is, methods based on the Christian view of man, marriage and sexuality, and sexual disorientations, and which recognize the therapeutic value of "the religious factor," conversion, the importance of an interior spiritual life, and of the exercise of the virtues and fight of the vices, for mental health and character stability.

On the other hand, as more bishops, theologians, and priests turn to the wholehearted propagation, explanation, implementation, and defense of the full Catholic doctrine on sexuality and marriage -- or to put it simply, making "Humanae Vitae" a substantial part of their re-evangelization activities -- they naturally seek more of the advice and assistance of Christian/Catholic psychologists, and this is already here and there leading to a lively and mutually fruitful cooperation.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

MaltaToday: [Karl] Gouder – ‘wait and see’ stance on cohabitation, gay rights
25.4.10 by Gerald Fenech

The Nationalist Party’s executive committee yesterday elected the first openly gay MP to Parliament to replace Michael Frendo, who was appointed Speaker to replace Louis Galea, who in turn took up a post with the European Court of Auditors.
Karl Gouder, 31, from St Julian’s, told MaltaToday he was looking forward to the challenge of being the youngest MP on the government side, whilst also thanking his family and friends who assisted him in his campaign for the 2008 general election.
Asked what would his stance be with regards to gay rights and co-habitation, Gouder said he would adopt a ‘wait and see’ stance for the time being.
“However my position on these issues is clear and when the time comes I will make my voice heard in the appropriate fora,” Gouder said.
The coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Gabi Calleja, welcomed news of an MP who was honest about his sexual orientation.
“We have to wait and see if he will be effective in changing the government’s stance on gay rights although I am sceptical that the official policy will change. However we hope to meet him shortly and discuss how our agenda can be put forward and also hope that if there are other MPs who are silent about their sexual orientation, this move will encourage them to go public too,” Calleja said.
Gouder, co-opted from the 10th district, easily fought off the challenge of Pippo Psaila, the other candidate who was seen as his major challenger, garnering 31 votes to Psaila’s 19.
Gouder was until recently the PN’s assistant information officer, working closely with chief information officer Frank Psaila. Well-positioned inside the party, Gouder was seen as a natural choice to take up the seat vacated by Frendo on his appointment as Speaker.
Whether or not Gouder’s co-option to parliament will mark a turning point in the PN’s approach to gay rights is yet to be seen: Gouder forms part of a new generation of Nationalist politicians which have been keen to see the party take a more progressive stance on gay issues.
PN Sliema councillor and gay rights activist Cyrus Engerer recently criticised the government for not doing anything about cohabiting rights for heterosexual and homosexual partners.
A law regulating cohabitation is in the works after being first included in the Nationalist Party’s electoral programme of 1998. The party has often been criticised for dragging its feet on it.
Speaking at a debate on homosexuality in Malta, organised by student group Move on the University campus, Engerer criticised his own party for not having clear policies on the issue.
“We can’t keep on speaking about discrimination, marriage and adoption as if gays were any different,” the Malta Gay Rights Movement activist said after commending Alternattiva Demokratika for being the only party that was clear in its policies on homosexuals.
Engerer said the party had members who were homosexual and he had no problem contesting the local council elections, even though he was openly gay. “The Prime Minister had said he had no problem with his candidates being gay as long as they had no problem with it,” Engerer said.

See also:

Independent: Stay out of the pigeonhole, Karl [Gouder], by Daphne Caruana Galizia

Sunday, 25 April 2010

KullĦadd: L-istess drittijiet, xejn iktar xejn inqas

18.4.10 minn Randolph Debattista

Jekk tistaqsi mitt persuna, probabbli kollha jgħidu li huma kontra l-omofobija. Ħadd ma jaqbel li persuna jista’ jiddiskrimina ma’ xi ħadd minħabba s-sesswalità tiegħu. Iżda għalkemm dawn l-affarijiet jistgħu jinstemgħu bażiċi, mhumiex daqstant fil-pajjiż Ewropew ta’ Malta. Dwar dan is-suġġett, RANDOLPH DE BATTISTA tkellem ma’ ALBERT GAUĊI CUNNINGĦAM mill-fergħa l-ġdida tal-PL, LGBT Labour. Fl-intervista, Gauċi Cunningħam jiddikjara li l-persuni gay jippretendu l-istess drittijiet daqs min hu eterosesswali, xejn iktar u xejn inqas. Kellu kliem iebes ukoll għal dawk il-politiċi li filgħodu jivvutaw kontra l-interessi tal-gays, u filgħaxija jixorbu magħhom. Jiddikjara li kieku hu jivvota kontra l-gays, ma jersaqx daqs mitt metru viċin ta’ gay bar.

Fil-bidu jispjega li din kienet inizjattiva tal-Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti, flimkien mal-mexxej tal-PL, Dr Joseph Musċat. Gauċi Cunningħam jispjega x-xogħol li għaddejja bih din il-fergħa l-ġdida fi ħdan il-PL, filwaqt li jgħid li dawn il-fergħat huma komuni fil-partiti soċjalisti fl-Ewropa.

“Din l-inizjattiva ma ħolomx biha Joseph Musċat biex jiġbor erba’ voti tal-komunità gay f’Malta.” Huwa semma’ li jeżistu diversi fergħat fi ħdan partiti soċjalisti madwar l-Ewropa, fosthom fl-Ingilterra, Spanja, l-Iżvezja u Franza.

“L-LGBT Labour mhix il-vuċi tal-PL mal-komunità gay, iżda l-vuċi tal-komunità gay fil-PL. Jekk il-PL ma jaqbilx ma’ xi proposta, aħna mhux se noħorġu nikkonvinċu lin-nies gay li dik mhix proposta tajba. Iżda rridu naraw li l-messaġġ tal-persuni gay jasal għand il-PL kollu kemm hu, kif inhu, u li jkun hawn viżibbiltà ċara tal-komunià omosesswali fil-PL.”

Hawnhekk jagħmel referenza għal dak li qal Dr Joseph Ċhetċuti, l-awtur ta’ “Queer Mediterranean Memories”, fejn faħħar din l-inizjattiva, u qal li jekk xejn, din tkompli tkabbar il-viżibbiltà tan-nies gay.

Staqsejtu jekk hux se jkunu fergħa cliché u vagi minħabba li huma parti minn partit, jew inkella bi ħsiebhom jidħlu fil-kwistjonijiet jaħarqu.
“Jekk inti temmen f’xi ħaġa ma tistax tkun vag fuqha. Din il-fergħa se tkun suċċess, kemm in-nies gay iriduha tkun suċċess. Jekk il-komunità gay, fil-maġġor parti tagħha tħoss li m’għandhomx bżonn drittijiet ugwali, jew li laħqu l-livell ta’ ugwaljanza, jew li m’għandhomx bżonn struttura li tiddefendi l-interessi tal-persuni gay, allura ma jkunx hawn lok, la għal-LGBT Labour u lanqas għall-MGRM.”

“Sfortunatament f’Malta hawn it-tendenza li kulħadd irid jagħmel kollox u ħadd ma jrid jagħmel xejn. Kulħadd igerger għax il-kontijiet għoljin u mbagħad issir protesta u ssib min jibqa’ d-dar għaliex jibża’ jidher. Anke fuq l-interessi tal-gays, inħoss li għalkemm l-issue qegħda hemm, ma narax li hemm biżżejjed sforz għaliha. Mhux faċli ssib in-nies li lesti joħorġu u jitkellmu fil-pubbliku.”

Pressjoni fuq il-politiċi

Kont pront nistaqsih, “Ma stajtux tiftħu għaqda li tkun indipendenti, u mhux fergħa ta’ partit?” “Ma naqbel assolutament xejn. Sakemm id-deċiżjonijiet fuq l-omosesswali jieħduhom il-politiċi, u mhux Ċikku l-Poplu, allura rridu nagħmlu l-lobby tagħna mal-politiċi u nżommu lilhom responsabbli. Ma nistgħux nibqgħu sejrin f’sitwazzjoni li kull fejn hemm kwistjoni li tolqot lill-gvern, noqgħodu ngħidu li m’għandniex indaħħlu l-politika.”

“Għax hekk sejrin f’dal-pajjiż. Jekk jinqata’ d-dawl jgħidulna ma ndaħħlux politika, l-istess fuq kwistjonijiet ambjentali u tal-MEPA. Fuq l-interessi tan-nies omosesswali wkoll jgħidu l-istess ħaġa, imma jien ngħid li iva l-politika tidħol sakemm il-gvern u l-partiti jiddeċiedu li jieħdu l-pożizzjoni ċara tagħhom.”

“Aħna mhux qegħdin hawn biex malli jiżloq xi żelqa deputat tal-PN, immorru niġru ħalli noħorġu stqarrija, u mbagħad jekk jiġri l-istess mill-PL, noqgħodu nġibu l-iskużi. Il-ħażin huwa dejjem ħażin.”

Hawnhekk spjega li bħalissa qed iħejju manwal li għandu jispjega dak li l-fergħa temmen fih.
X’inhi l-ikbar kwistjoni li LGBT Labour se taħdem fuqha?

Dikjarazzjoni ċara kontra l-omofobija

“L-ikbar kwistjoni hija d-diskriminazzjoni. F’dan il-pajjiż, kull mexxej ta’ partit, għaqda jew istituzzjoni influwenti jrid jieħu pożizzjoni ċara u jgħid li huwa kontra l-omofobija. Li toqgħod iddur magħha jew li tgħid li hija ovvja mhix aċċettabbli. Le mhix ovvja.”
“S’issa fl-istorja politika moderna ta’ dan il-pajjiż, l-ewwel mexxej li għamilha ċara kristall fil-pubbliku mingħajr tidwir, li min hu omofobiku m’għandux postu fil-partit li qed imexxi, kien Joseph Musċat.”

“Issa r-reazzjoni naturali ta’ ċertu nies kienet li din hija ovvja, u għall-ewwel anke jien kont se ngħidha. Imma tant mhix ovvja, li l-PN qatt ma qalha din. Sfortunatament, għalkemm il-Knisja wkoll hija kontra l-omofobija, qatt ma qatgħet linja ċara u qalet li min hu omofobiku ma jistax ikun parti mill-Knisja. Skużi, jekk fratell jew xi ħadd li jġorr il-vara tal-festa, biex ma nsemmix qassisin, huwa omofobiku, jew qed ixerred mibgħeda abbażi ta’ sesswalità, ma jistax jfforma parti mill-Knisja.”

“Il-PL, dik il-pożizzjoni diġà ħadha, u l-LGBT Labour kuntent ħafna li ttieħdet din il-pożizzjoni. Issa nistennew li ħaddieħor jagħmel l-istess. Imma din il-pożizzjoni trid tkun inekwivoka, u mhux tintqal bejn erba’ ħitan, għax il-politiċi għandhom ħabta ma jirrepetux fil-pubbliku, dak li jkunu qalu fil-magħluq.”

Koabitazzjoni mingħajr divorzju

Jekk hemm kwistjoni li se tolqot lill-persuni omosesswali hija dik tal-koabitazzjoni. Dwar din Gauċi Cunningħam jemfasizza li m’għandniex inħarsu lejha bħala s-soluzzjoni għall-persuni omosesswali.

“Din il-liġi ġiet imwegħda mill-PN ħafna snin ilu issa. Tista’ tħares lejha minn diversi bnadi u ma tistax tiddiskutiha waħedha. Jekk tidħol din il-liġi, se tidħol f’pajjiż fejn id-divorzju ma jeżistix. Mela l-koabitazzjoni f’dan ix-xenarju tista’ taħdem kontra dak li l-gvern tallum dejjem ippriedka dwaru, jiġifieri l-familja bħala ċ-ċentru tal-politika.”

“Għax jekk se ddaħħal il-koabitazzjoni f’pajjiż fejn m’hawnx divorzju, allura lin-nies qisek qed tgħidilhom li akkost ta’ kollox minix se ntikom id-dritt li terġgħu tiżżewġu, imma se ntikom id-dritt li tgħixu flimkien, kważi ta’ miżżewġin. Dan jista’ jwassal biex speċjalment dawk li ma jemmnux f’relazzjonijiet twal, imorru għall-koabitazzjoni għax jaqbillhom iktar. Dan narah li jmur kontra t-tagħlim tal-PN stess.”

“Ħa nagħmilha ċara, il-liġi tal-koabitazzjoni mhix is-soluzzjoni għall-persuni omosesswali. Għax jekk se jkollna l-koabitazzjoni biss, allura qed niżvalutaw ir-relazzjoni bejn koppji tal-istess sess, u nkunu qed nirriduċuha għar-relazzjoni li għandhom żewġ aħwa li jgħixu flimkien. Hawn irrid ngħid li jekk tidħol dil-liġi se nkunu mxejna pass ‘il quddiem, imma jien ngħid, imbasta ma ssirx a skapitu tal-valur vera tar-relazzjoni bejn tnejn min-nies gay.

Għaddejt għaż-żwieġ bejn koppji tal-istess sess jew inkella civil partnership u hawnhekk bilkemm ma qlibniex l-irwoli u spiċċa jistaqsini mistoqsija hu dwar x’differenza nara bejn it-tnejn. Iżda kelli l-iskuża lesta li jien qiegħed hemm biex nistaqsi. Jgħid li l-persuni gay iridu drittijiet daqs iehor. Xejn iktar u xejn inqas.

“Anke jekk aħna rridu drittijiet daqs ħaddieħor, jiena ma nara l-ebda problema li tagħna ssejjaħlu partnership, u tal-eterosesswali ssejjaħlu żwieġ. Dejjem aħjar minn issa żgur, sakemm il-pass li nagħmlu llum ikun il-pass biex għada s-soċjetà tivvaluta r-relazzjoni tiegħi daqs ir-relazzjoni tal-eterosesswali.”

Għażla bejn iż-żewġ partiti

Apparti l-LGBT Labour, f’pajjiżna jeżistu għaqdiet oħrajn, bħall-MGRM u anke DRACHMA. X’inhi r-relazzjoni ma’ dawn l-għaqdiet? “Jien ngħid li wara kollox kollha kemm aħna gay u qed niġġieldu għall-istess interessi. Filfatt aħna wkoll membri tal-MGRM. Però forsi d-differenza hija li aħna la tasal elezzjoni ġenerali se nieħdu pożizzjoni ċara.”

“X’tip ta’ pożizzjoni?” staqsejtu. “Jekk inti trid tivvota fuq it-triq, fuq il-bozza, fuq l-ekonomija jew fuq liema mexxej jiġbdek l-iktar, għandek għażla lil min tivvota. Imma jekk id-drittijiet tal-gays huma l-priorità tiegħek u jekk se tivvota fuq l-interessi tan-nies gay, allura ivvota lill-Partit Laburista. Minix ngħid li jekk int gay, bilfors trid tivvota lill-PL, imma jekk se tivvota fuq id-drittijiet tal-gays, allura għandek tagħti ċans lill-PL.”

Semmejtlu l-kritika ta’ wħud li jgħidu li permezz ta’ fergħat bħal dawn, iktar qed titfa’ stigma u tikklassifika lin-nies gay. Iżda jgħid li dan l-argument ma jreġix.

“Min għamel din il-kritika? Żgur li m’għamluhiex in-nies gay. Jien naħseb li l-lezzjonijiet irridu nieħduhom minn pajjiżi li għandhom dawn l-istrutturi simili fil-partiti politiċi tagħhom, u waslu ħafna iktar milli wasalna aħna. Aħna rridu nitqabblu mal-kumplament tal-pajjiżi Ewropej.”

“Fuq livell politiku, allura jien nistaqsi, l-għaqdiet tan-nisa fi ħdan il-partiti politiċi qatgħu lin-nisa għalihom fis-soċjetà? L-għaqdiet taż-żgħażagħ qegħdin jitfgħu stigma u jikklassifikaw liż-żgħażagħ mill-bqija tas-soċjetà? Ma naħsibx, allura ngħid li huwa argument li ma jreġix. Lil dawn in-nies jien ngħidilhom ifittxu fuq dawn l-istrutturi fl-Ewropa u jaraw fejn waslu dawk il-pajjiżi u fejn wasalna aħna.”
Meta tara l-progress ta’ pajjiżna mqabbel mal-kumplament tal-Ewropa, taħseb li aħna Ewropej biżżejjed?

“Ħafna nies gay ivvotaw favur l-UE u għamlu dan għax ippretendew li ġaladarba nidhlu, se jkollna l-istess drittijiet bħal ma jeżistu fil-pajjiżi Ewropej. Ovvjament kemm aħna Ewropej, mhux se nkejjluha biss fuq l-issues tal-gays. Imma jien ngħid li waħda mill-modi biex inkejjlu kemm inħaddnu l-valuri Ewropej hija minn kemm niġġieldu għall-ugwaljanza fil-pajjiż.”

“F’Malta, kemm ilna li dħalna fl-UE, kemm imxejna ‘l quddiem? Kemm rajna tibdiliet u pożizzjonijiet ċari mill-gvern biex jara li, jekk xejn, id-diskriminazzjoni tiġi miġġielda? Jiddispjaċini li ma sar xejn. F’pajjiżi oħra, kien hemm oppożizzjoni b’saħħitha għal tibdil bħal dan, u m’għandix dubju li l-istess se jkun hawn f’Malta.”

“Imma għallinqas illum il-ġurnata dawn il-pajjiżi waslu. Aħna ma rridux ugwaljanza ta’ fuq il-karta. Jekk irridu naslu xi darba, rridu nibdew billi nieħdu pożizzjoni ċara kontra kull tip ta’ diskriminazzjoni u billi ndaħħlu leġiżlazzjoni li permezz tagħha nġibu lill-persuni omosesswali daqs min hu eterosesswali.”

Fuq nota aktar umoristika hawnhekk stqarr li l-persuni omosesswali m’għandux ikollhom aktar drittijiet mill-eterosesswali, għaliex imbagħad nispiċċaw b’xi fergħa oħra, “Heterosexual Labour”. “Iżda xi ħaġa inqas mid-drittijiet tal-eterosesswali jkun disservizz għall-għajta tal-ugwaljanza.”

Problema jew marda

Sfortunatament fl-2010 għad għandna persuni, u saħansitra politiċi li jemmnu li persuna gay huwa marid, jew għandu problema. Staqsejtu r-reazzjoni tiegħu għal dawn id-dikjarazzjonijiet.

“Kulħadd għandu dritt għall-opinjoni tiegħu imma ppermettuli nistaqsi minn fejn ġabuha din? Jien ngħid li ġabuha minn snin twal ta’ preġudizzju, anke sfortunatament mill-forzi reliġjużi. Hawn ma rridx noħloq argument mal-Knisja.”

“Imma fil-passat kien hemm sitwazzjonijiet fejn omm tieħu lit-tifel tagħha għand qassis, biex ‘ifejjaqulha’ għax huwa gay. Jew agħar minn hekk, għand psikjatra biex jibdilu t-terapija riparattiva. Allura mhux bilfors in-nies jaħsbu li għandu marda?”

“Jiddispjaċini ngħid li hawn ħafna nies, li mingħajr ma jafu, jgħidu ċerti affarijiet li jweġggħu. Kull min jgħid li hija problema jew marda, qiegħed iweġġa’ l-emozzjonijiet tal-persuni omosesswali, u juri li mhux informat. Kellu bżonn li kull marda tħalli l-ġid, is-sabiħ u l-kreattività li ħallew in-nies omosesswali fid-dinja f’dawn is-snin kollha. Għax sfortunatament il-mard biki u dwejjaq iġib.”

Il-voti kontra u l-gay bars

Kellu kliem iebes ukoll għal dawk il-politiċi li jivvotaw kontra l-interessi tal-gay, anke jekk huma stess ikunu jixorbu magħhom filgħaxija.
“Jekk politiku qiegħed f’familja politika li dejjem jivvotaw kontra l-gays, bħal m’huma l-partiti tal-Lemin, allura ma tantx se neħodha bi kbira. Jien nifhem li politiku jrid jimxi mat-twemmin tal-partit tiegħu.”

“Iżda ma naċċetta qatt lil min jivvota kontra l-gays filgħodu, u mbagħad jissoċjalizza magħhom u jtaptpilhom fuq dahrom filgħaxija. Jekk inti ma taqbilx mad-drittijiet tal-gays, għandek kull dritt. Imma mbagħad m’għandekx dritt tagħmel il-ħajja tiegħek pubblika, dieħel u ħiereġ fil-gay bars, imbagħad tivvota kontra l-interessi tiegħi.”

“Dik tista’ biss tissejjah ġakbiniżmu, jew biex tagħmel hekk trid tkun kodard jew mingħajr sinsla. Kieku jien nivvota kontra l-interessi tal-gays, lanqas immur daqs mitt metru viċin ta’ gay bar, għax lanqas itini wiċċi.”

Min-naħa l-oħra saħaq miegħi ukoll li jippretendi li l-politiċi min-naħa tax-Xellug, jivvotaw kontinwament favur l-interessi tal-komunità gay.

Fl-aħħarnett tlabtu jispjegali kif persuna gay iħares lejn l-istat u l-gvern, meta dan ma jagħtix kas tal-interessi tiegħu. Tħoss ‘sense of belonging’ fl-istat?

“Fl-ebda poliċy tal-gvern ma jingħataw importanza l-interessi tal-persuni omosesswali. Anzi l-linja ta’ ħsieb tal-PN dejjem kienet li jekk persuna jiddikjara pubblikament li huwa gay, allura għandu problema. Skużi mhux vera.”

“Illum il-ġurnata dawn l-issues tfajnihom taħt it-tapit biex taparsi ma jidhrux. Billi tinjora s-sitwazzjoni mhux se tgħin lil nies omosesswali. Tgħinhom biss billi taqbad il-barri minn qrunu bħal m’għamlu pajjiżi oħra, nammettu li għad irridu nimxu, u mbagħad naslu biex kull poliċy tal-gvern illum u għada se tinkludi l-interessi tagħhom.”

L-aħħar kliem tiegħu kienu, “ejja naslu f’sitwazzjoni fejn ma jkunx hemm bżonn iktar l-LGBT Labour.”

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Illum: L-akbar biża’ tiegħi: li l-Knisja ma tinbidilx [Fr Renè Camilleri]

Bejn żjara ta’ Papa u kriżijiet fi ħdan il-Knisja u l-pajjiż
18.4.10 minn Julia Farrugia

“X’inhi l-akbar biża’ tiegħek?” nistaqsieh jien u nimla l-kaxxa bil-mistoqsijiet fil-ġenb ta’ din l-intervista.
Saret bħal rutina li qabel nidħlu għall-intervista proprja flimkien mal-mistieden ngħaddu sett ta’ mistoqsijiet personali li jitfgħu dawl fuq angoli differenti ta’ ħajtu.
Is-soltu din il-fażi tieħu ftit minuti u barra bid-daqq. Imma b’differenza mill-persuni li ntervistajt f’din il-paġna, Fr Renè Camilleri jirnexxielu jibgħat messaġġ anke minn dawn is-sempliċi linji żgħar.
It-tweġibiet jiġu kollha b’ħeffa, ħlief din. Jitbissem u jagħfas iż-żewġ pali ta’ jdejh flimkien. Jaħseb fit-tul u t-tweġiba ma titfaċċax.
Niddeċiedu li naqbżuha sa ma naslu għal ħin ieħor fl-intervista u nkomplu nitħaddtu fuq mitt suġġett.
Fi kliemu li kieku kellu jmexxi l-pajjiż l-ewwel deċiżjoni li jieħu tkun li jipprova jikkalma lin-nies.
“Qed insiru poplu bla paċenzja u mimlijin nervi. Jien naħseb għax aħna bqajna pajjiż tradizzjonali u fl-istess ħin irridu nkunu pajjiż modern. Żammejna l-antik u daħħalna l-ġdid kollu. Biex inkun evanġelist ngħidlek: nippruvaw indaħħlu l-inbid fid-damiġġjani l-qodma.
“Din il-problema ma narahiex biss fuq livell ta’ Knisja imma naraha fuq livell anke politiku.”
Jagħmel numru ta’ dikjarazzjonijiet li fihom x’tomgħod: “Bħala pajjiż irridu l-bidla imma meta tiġi nirreżistuha. Naħsbu b’kategoriji antiki anke jekk ngħixu fl-2010.”
Nitolbu jagħtini eżempji.
“Meta tħares madwarek tinduna li f’Malta għadna naħsbu fuq refurbishment u mhux f’bidla. Dan hu biss patching up. Għadna naħsbu f’kategoriji qodma.”
Isemmi lista ta’ passi storiċi li għadda minnhom il-poplu bħala nazzjon fejn dan is-sintomu kien dejjem preżenti, fosthom: l-Indipendenza, il-Ħelsien u d-dħul ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea.
“Din hi sintomatika ta’ poplu li jibża’ jitlef dak li rċieva u fl-istess ħin irid il-ġdid.”
Nitolbu jkun ċar u jsemmi eżempji.
“Il-problema li nara hi li aħna affaxxinati minn stili ta’ ħajja radikali minn tagħna. Il-poplu fuq livell ta’ istituzzjoni, kemm jekk hi ta’ Knisja kif ukoll ta’ partiti politiċi, mhux veru li qed jara minnhom viżjoni. We are not managing change.”
Għal Fr Renè Malta għandha żewġ problemi li qed inawruha. Fi kliemu “dawn huma kwistjonijiet ta’ natura ekonomika.”
“F’dan il-pajjiż il-faqar, u dak materjali, jeżisti. Din hi problema. Il-problemi materjali jwasslu għal problemi oħrajn. Inutli nġibu l-anġli jiżfnu quddiem il-poplu fl-edukazzjoni u fl-informatika meta jkollok taqtigħa fuq problemi ekonomiċi.”
Jinsisti li l-ideoloġiji waqgħu u jistaqsi x’inhi d-differenza bejn iż-żewġ partiti politiċi.
“Ftit nara differenza bejniethom u kif jiffunzjonaw. Imma jagħtu l-impressjoni li differenti. Imma kif differenti?”
Nistaqsieh x’inhi t-tieni problema li qed jara f’Malta.
“M’hemmx dubju li hemm problema ta’ direzzjoni ta’ valuri, ta’ twemmin. Allura indirettament qed ngħidu għar-reliġjon. Il-mistoqsija li għandu l-poplu quddiemu hi, where we stand bħala reliġjon?”
Stħarriġ tal-Malta Today ta’ ġimagħtejn ilu juri figuri kunfliġġenti dwar kif il-Maltin iħarsu lejn ir-reliġjon. Fuq numru ta’ temi sensittivi qed jagħżlu dak li jaqblilhom u jwarrbu għal kollox ir-regoli tal-Knisja.
“Inkwetanti, u mhux din il-ħaġa għax turik framentazzjoni bejnietna. Mhux inkwetanti għax qegħdin in-line ma’ pajjiżi ġirien. Imma li jinkwetani hu: dan il-poplu finalment x’deċiżjonijiet se jieħu?”
Għad-divorju qed jirreferi?
“Ma jinkwetanix ċertu tibdil fil-familja imma jekk it-tibdil mhux qed ikun managed, se jiżnaturak,” tkun it-tweġiba.
“Il-kwistjoni tad-divorzju tista’ tkun paraventu fil-pajjiż biex jgħatti problemi oħrajn. Hemm il-ko-iżjoni soċjali. X’se jżommna bħala Maltin? L-identità ta’ Maltin qed nirriskjaw li nitilfgħuha għax mehdijin wisq fil-partiġġjaniżmu.”
U ż-żjara tal-Papa, li kieku kellu jkejjel l-importanza tagħha, x’kejl jagħtiha?
“Ħa nkun sinċier, fl-opinjoni tiegħi minn żjara ta’ Papa ta’ 26 siegħa m’għandix aspettazzjoni li se tbiddel xi ħaġa. Anzi ngħid li din mhu se tbiddel xejn. Imma hemm mistoqsija importanti. Għalina l-Papa x’jirrappreżenta? Jirrappreżenta t-tradizzjonijiet li dejjem konna marbutin magħhom.
“Din iż-żjara għandha tkun mument ta’ riflessjoni. Imma tista’ tkun biss żjara ta’ Papa ċerimonjali…”
Nistaqsieh jekk tħassbux.
“Nistenna li jiġri hekk…”
Madwar id-dinja faqqgħet il-kriżi minħabba abbużi minn saċerdoti fuq tfal … inkluż f’Malta. Fr Renè Camilleri x’jemmen li għandha tkun il-politika tal-Knisja fuq dawn il-każi?
“M’hemmx dubju li dan hu mument li għandna niddistingwu b’mod ċar bejn il-problema u s-sintomi. Il-pedofilja hi gravissima fuq livell ta’ ċiviltà. M’hemmx dubju li hi ferm agħar u akbar fejn tidħol il-Knisja.”
Il-fehma ta’ Fr Renè hi li i-pedofilja fost il-qassisin mhix marbuta mal-fatt li individwu jrid iżomm iċ-ċelibat u ma jiżżewwiġx.
“La norbotha maċ-ċelibat u lanqas mal-omosesswalità,” jiddikjara l-qassis b’kuntrast għad-dikjarazzjoni li għamel ftit tal-jiem ilu n-numru tnejn tal-Vatikan il-Kardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Anzi għal Fr Renè “dak il-kumment ta’ Bertone kien barra minn loku kompletament, biex ma ngħidx aktar minn hekk.”
“Il-pedofilja hi marda. Imma ma jfissirx li għax ġrat fil-Knisja għandna nittrattawha bl-ingwanti tal-bellus minflok bl-ingwanti tal-boxing.
“Il-Knisja għandu jkollha tolleranza zero fuq il-każi ta’ qassisin f’pedofilja.”
Jinsisti li f’Malta l-affarijiet hemm bżonn li jinbidlu.

“Fejn il-qafas legali mhux qed jaqdi l-funzjoni se jkollok ġungla. Hi x’inhi s-sitwazzjoni. Sal-bieraħ konna qed niddibattu jekk għandniex nirrappurtaw qassisin Maltin li jabbużaw minn tfal. L-ewwel soluzzjoni għandha tkun fuq livell ċivili biex tinbidel il-Liġi,” jinsisti.
“Il-Knisja kif suppost se tagħmel għandha tiddeċiedi li pedofilja minn qassisin hu att kriminali. Jekk qassis joqtol, l-ebda Knisja ma toħlom li tagħmel il-ġuri l-Kurja. Dan japplika wkoll għall-pedofilja,” jiddikjara Fr Renè Camilleri.
Jargumenta li mid-diskors tal-Papa f’Malta jistenna li għandu jindirizza l-problema tal-pedofilja minn qassisin.
“Jien nistenna u konvint li l-Papa jindirizza din il-problema waqt iż-żjara f’Malta. Imma jien nippreferi nara lill-Papa jaġixxi ta’ Papa milli biss bil-kliem. Nistenna lill-Papa jaqbad il-barri minn qrunu u li l-pedofli jittrattahom u jiddilja magħhom.”
Għada t-Tnejn il-Papa diġà għandu msejjaħ il-Kulleġġ ta’ Kardinali f’Ruma biex jiddiskuti din is-sitwazzjoni.
“Nixtieq li lil hinn mill-ġesti tad-diskorsi li huma importanti, il-Papa jkollu l-forza u l-kuraġġ li jindirizza l-problema fuq livell strutturali nkella l-problemi jkomplu jdewdu minn ġewwa.”
U kif iħares lejn il-furur li nqala’ meta Membri Parlamentari Maltin separati rċevew invit waħedhom u mhux mas-sieħba – dan l-attaġjament kompla gerrex nies separati
’l bogħod mill-Knisja?
“Din kienet naqra mishandled. Minn filgħodu stess, wara li ħarġet l-aħbar fil-beraħ, ċempluli żewġ persuni differenti. Din id-deċiżjoni weġġgħet lil ħafna nies. Ċempilt mill-ewwel lill-PRO tal-Kurja u spjegajtlu kif naħsibha.
“Jien naħseb li dawn huma sitwazzjonijiet li lil hinn mill-moralità tal-ħaġa rridu nitrattawhom b’sensittività. Għalija din kienet deċiżjoni li ma kinitx tagħmel sens.”
Konxju li din id-deċiżjoni bagħtet messaġġi ħżieni fost eluf ta’ persuni li ż-żwieġ tagħhom sfaxxa, Fr Renè jitkellem b’dik is-solitu attitudni ta’ ragħaj b’idejh miftuħa għal dawk li jħossuhom imwarrbin jew għal xi raġuni maqtugħin mill-Knisja.
“L-Isqof ta’ Għawdex Mario Grech talabni biex nagħmel eżerċizzji għal separati u li qiegħdin f’ħajja ġdida ma’ xi ħaddieħor. Kienu eżerċizzji suċċess u attendew ’il fuq minn 70 koppja.”
Nagħlaq il-ktieb fejn nieħu n-noti u nerġa’ nittanta bl-istess mistoqsija ta’ qabel.
“L-akbar biża’ tiegħi, Julia? Li l-Knisja tibqa’ ma tinbidilx,” jistqarr Renè Camilleri.
Il-bniedem jinstema’ sinċier. Inħoss li qed jostor fih numru ta’ affarijiet. Jixtieq il-bidla. Imma din il-bidla għadha ma waslitx…

EU Observer: Bishop urges EU leaders to criticise Vatican 'stupidity'

19.04.2010 Tby ANDREW RETTMAN

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A Roman Catholic bishop has called on EU leaders who are Christians to speak out against the Vatican if it makes "stupid" remarks, such as a recent declaration that homosexuality causes paedophilia.

In an interview with EUobserver on Friday (16 April), Peter Moran, the Bishop of Aberdeen in Scotland, said the church's cover up of child abuse in Ireland 40 years ago was facilitated by "an exaggerated deference toward the clergy."

The dome of St Peter's in the Vatican, which continues to struggle with revelations of a systematic cover-up (Photo: flip.and.serena)

"I would not like to think that there is any exaggerated deference by Christian leaders in Europe toward the church authorities today. To put it very simply, if the church says something that is wrong or stupid, even Christian leaders should have the courage to say: 'No. I disagree with that. You are wrong. That was a stupid thing to say'."

Bishop Moran was referring to a statement by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, who earlier this month said that homosexuality, not clerical celibacy, is a cause of paedophilia.

Cardinal Bertone's remark - a classic tenet of homophobia - followed revelations that the Catholic elite, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, had in the past protected paedophile priests from exposure, in an unfolding crisis for the Vatican's credibility.

The leaders of the EU institutions, all three of whom are Christian democrats, have stayed silent on the subject despite calls by the Liberal group in the EU parliament for them to take a stand.

Bishop Moran said that delegates at a conclave of 21 bishops in Brussels last Friday under the auspices of Comece, a church body set up to analyse EU policy, were "shocked to know that someone in Rome had said that this [paedophilia] is a problem of homosexuality."

"This kind of abuse is found in all parts of society - in families, in heterosexual situations, in homosexual situations. It is not attached to any of those."

On the broader issue of paedophile priests, he said the church has turned a corner by apologising to victims, co-operating with civil authorities, excluding convicted abusers and scrutinising candidates for priesthood for signs of sexual deviance.

Asked if EU leaders should put pressure on the Vatican to do more, he said: "Perhaps it will satisfy some of the electorate of the EU if people see that they, speaking as Europe, are saying to the Catholic church: 'Please put your house in order.' But the Catholic church will say: 'In the past, we made mistakes. We are sorry for them. We have already put our house in order'."

In terms of rebuilding trust with parishioners, Bishop Moran said it would be "easy, but not helpful" to point out that abusive priests were in a small minority.

"It [reconciliation] is a very difficult, a long path. We simply have to be even more true to our own principles. We have to be very careful about our priorities - the first among these is care and love for vulnerable people, the young and the vulnerable."

Lifting the lid

Returning to the question of whether clerical celibacy causes sexual dysfunction, including paedophilia, Bishop Moran added that "perhaps now we will carry out a survey of that kind."

The most comprehensive study to date into Roman Catholic child abuse was funded by the church and carried out by the City University of New York in 2004, covering the vast majority of US dioceses between 1950 and 2002.

It found that most alleged offences were carried out by priests aged between 30 and 39 who had been ordained between 1950 and 1979, many of whom also had a drinking problem. Most victims were boys aged 11 to 14. Allegations concerned 2.7 percent of all priests and numbered 200 cases a year on average, with a peak in 1980.

Times: Inclusive messages welcomed

Tuesday, 20th April 2010 by Christian Peregin

The Pope appeared to leave Malta on a high after an enthusiastic welcome and a well-received private meeting with victims of alleged abuse, a sharp contrast to the run-up to his arrival, which was overshadowed by literal and metaphorical clouds of worry.

Pope Benedict XVI is not renowned for his charisma or public relations expertise. But the messages he imparted during his 27-hour visit were uncharacteristically positive and non-controversial, at least in the global context.

The Pope, who looked refreshed rather than defeated, asked forgiveness for the Church's sins, stressed the importance of marriage, encouraged Maltese to extend a hand of friendship to immigrants and called for a Church that rejected no one.
Fr Joe Cassar, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, welcomed the Pope's frequent references to refugees and asylum seekers. He also noted the Pope's call for Maltese to put into practice "God's all-inclusive love".

"I felt the Pope was not here to chastise or condemn, but to encourage and bring out the best in all of us," he said, adding that people who were sceptical about the visit were positively touched by the visit.

Dominican priest Ġwann Xerri described the Pope's welcome as "an explosion of life, grace and generosity" that went contrary to what had been expected by most opinion makers.

He said the Pope was attentive to young people and instead of dismissing the alleged abuse victims, he met them, out of the media's spotlight and in a chapel.

Mario Gerada, an active member of the gay Catholic group Drachma, described the Pope's address as "very beautiful and all-inclusive", which was based on dialogue.

"What I found beautiful was that we moved away from the mentality that Catholics who have some difficulties on certain moral issues with the Church are enemies. We all believe in the same foundations. If I challenge the Church it does not mean it is my enemy. I felt there was very healthy dialogue."

Divorce lobbyist Martin Scicluna said he did not expect the Pope to speak any differently about divorce due to the Church's clear doctrine on the matter.

He said everyone accepted and respected that, but it did not mean civil society should not seek solutions for the thousands who wished to remarry.

"The Pope had obviously been briefed to speak about this burning local issue and in defence of marriage. The latter is an issue of course on which all who want to see the introduction of civil laws for re-marriage after legal separation would wholeheartedly agree."

Meanwhile, anthropologist and columnist Mark Anthony Falzon was not as excited as the rest and described the Pope's message as "run of the mill".

He said people were mostly moved by the "emotional/visual" experience of seeing the Pope rather than his message - similarly to when they were moved by a statue during a village feast.

However, he was struck by the meeting with the alleged abuse victims, which he described as "a class act by the Vatican media people".

"They got their much-needed news headlines, plus the added bonus of Lawrence Grech saying the Pope had cried. I hate to say it, but Mr Grech and his group have been abused a second time," he said, going contrary to the victims' own positive response to the meeting.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]
Comment on by Joseph Carmel Chetcuti
"Very beautiful and all-inclusive"? Please get real. Where was the reference to gay men and lesbians? How was the Pope inclusive of us. We are invisible to the pope and remain so. It seems some people are fed peanuts and are quite happy with a diet of peanuts. Drachma has to work out where its loyalty lies: the Church or gay men and lesbians?

Times: One step forward, one back

Monday, 19th April 2010 by Helena Dalli

The Catholic Church is seen as trying to repair the damage caused by the tidal wave of sex abuse scandals that have increasingly been coming to light. Last Monday, the Vatican posted on its website guidelines that have hitherto never been published - even though they were written in 2003, but, anyhow, better late than never - which stresses that credible reports of child abuse received by the Church must be reported to the civil authorities immediately.

This is a ray of hope that things may change from the 1961 instructions - updated in 2001 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - which said that "Cases of this kind (where priests are accused of sexual relationships with children) are subject to the Pontifical secret".

Last week, we also read about the Archbishop meeting 10 men who - when they were children in care - had been sexually abused by the priests in charge of them. True, it's a mere drop in the ocean, which has turned into a cesspool, but it is a step in the right direction and I have it from two victims that the meeting was a great help on the psychological and spiritual level.

Another encouraging occurrence was the Prime Minister's declaration last week that he will be ready to discuss changes to laws regulating investigations on child abuse.

Let's hope he will do this sooner rather than later. It will be even better if the Prime Minister also sees to a clear policy on children in care so that the major responsibility for their well-being is borne by the state and not by the Church. It also worries me no end that helpless children are left alone with adult men (and in some cases, women) in any context where the words "child abuse" are hovering in the air.

But just when things were seen to be taking a turn for the better for us here, the Catholic Church was dealt another blow, this time by the Vatican's second in command, Cardinal Tarcisio Betone. It was indeed a huge step back when the Pope's right-hand man blamed the paedophile crisis in the Church on homosexuals. Oh dear, never a dull moment: "Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. That is the problem."

Surely, the cardinal is responsible for his words but it is said that he is the cardinal closest to the Pope and what he says may be regarded as a reflection of how the child abuse issue is viewed in the topmost echelons of the Catholic Church. I know that many, perhaps most, priests are decent and honourable people but what do you do when you hear these things mouthed by people you are supposed to take lessons in morality from?

I had floated the question last time on the possible link between celibacy and sexual child abuse, quoting Cardinal Christopher Schonbor who holds that "causes of sex abuse by priests could be found in celibacy and priest training" and, at the other end, Cardinal Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga who says that he doesn't understand "that there can be a relationship between priestly celibacy and paedophile cases". Homosexuality is another kettle of fish altogether.

The revelation of a scandal per day is obviously a lot of grist to the media mill - stories of raped children threaten the moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church - but it may also be taking the focus off what should concern us most: the welfare of the children involved.

Our duty is first of all towards ensuring the safety of children who are in "care" and can end up in the wrong hands. These children's well-being must be part and parcel of the welfare state we so boast about. What's more, we must raise awareness so that those who have evidence of cases of paedophilia would hand it over to the police, irrespective of who committed the abuse.

The Prime Minister has promised to go into this. For the sake of children who have suffered and are suffering, I hope this will not be just a pledge made to serve as an eye to the storm of media and popular criticism, to be forgotten when the seas are calmer.

We, especially the political class, need to change things. If in 20 years' time we hear of child abuse stories happening now, they would be those who slipped from the state's safety net and not because we had done nothing to reform the system of children in care when we could. We must not be in a position to say mea culpa. This is very serious business, as John Cornwell put it in The Newstatesman: "The scandal of the world's Catholic paedophile priests may become the greatest catastrophe to afflict the Church of Rome since the Reformation."

Dr Dalli is shadow minister for the public service and government investment.

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

It-Torċa: Id-dilemma tal-Vatikan fuq....Omosesswali u pedofelija

[Dan l-artiklu mhux fuq is-sit tat-Torċa s'issa.]
18.4.10 minn Ivin Catania

Kien hemm diversi perjodi fl-istorja li fihom il-Knisja Kattolika spiċċat mira ta’ attakki minħabba l-ħidma tagħha u l-mod kif kienet twettaq din l-istess ħidma. F’dawk is-snin iżda l-attakki kienu marbuta mal-poter politiku u territorjali li kellha fuq il-ġnus u renji li kienu jiddominaw l-istorja Ewropea. Iżda fl-era moderna, qatt daqs dawn l-aħħar ġimgħat il-Knisja sofriet attakki kontinwi li xelfu u ċajpru t-tagħlim ta’ ħniena tagħha. Il-każi riċenti ta’ pedofelija nisslu fil-fidili tagħha sens ta’ delużjoni għax qatt ma jistgħu jifhmu kif nies b’ilbies reliġjuż setgħu abbużaw mill-fiduċja ta’ daqs tant familji u agħar minn hekk mill-innoċenza ta’ daqstant akbar ta’ tfal.
Illum il-fidili tal-Knisja Kattolika qiegħdin jitolbu għal riforma li permezz tagħha mill-ġdid tinkiseb il-fiduċja tal-1.1 biljun Kattoliku mifruxa mal-globu kollu. Biss jidher li din ir-riforma għadha ’l bogħod hekk kif kelliema uffiċjali tal-Knisja, fosthom is-segretarju tal-istat tagħha Tarcisio Bertone, qiegħdin jippruvaw jiddefendu lill-istess Knisja Kattolika billi jdawru l-kanuni tagħhom u jorbtu l-abbużi fuq minorenni mal-omosesswalità.
L-attakk riċenti ta’ Tarcisio Bertone fuq l-omossesswalità b’rabta mal-każi ta’ pedofelija, kompla aktar għarraq il-pożizzjoni tal-istess Vatikan u l-Papa Benedittu XVI, hekk kif aktar minn qatt qabel din l-istituzzjoni tinsab taħt attakk; kważi tista’ tgħid minn fuq il-fronti kollha. Il-pożizzjoni tal-Vatikan u l-istess Papa li jqisu l-omosesswalità bħala devjazzjoni perikoluża, jew forma ta’ marda, qiegħda ġġib ir-rabja minn fost il-komunitajiet gay u sekolari madwar id-dinja kollha.
Dan l-attakk qed jitqies bħala ammissjoni li l-Vatikan, jew mhux kapaċi jew ma jridx, jieħu passi kontra dawk il-qassisin li abbużaw mil-libsa tagħhom u nfexxew f’relazzjonijiet illeġittimi ma’ subien, u anke bniet, ta’ età żgħira. Il-fatt li l-Vatikan fuq is-sit uffiċjali tiegħu ppub-blika l-linji gwida dwar x’passi għandhom jittieħdu meta jfeġġ każ ta’ pedofelija mwettaq minn xi membru tal-kleru, mhux qed jitqies li huwa pass biżżejjed biex din il-problema li qiegħda tifni lill-Knisja Kattolika tkun kontrollata u meqruda.
Waqt li kien fiċ-Ċilì Bertone stqarr li: “Ħafna soċjoloġi u ħafna psikjatri rnexxielhom juru li m’hemm l-ebda relazzjoni maċ-ċelibat (referenza għall-qassisin) u l-pedofelija, filwaqt li oħrajn qaluli li hemm rabta bejn l-omosesswalità u l-pedofelija. Hekk hu u din hi l-verità. Din hija marda li tolqot lill-istrati kollha soċjali, u lill-qassisin tolqothom f’perċentwal żgħir.” Din id-dikjarazzjoni ta’ Bertone kompliet turi kif il-Vatikan qed jagħmel minn kollox biex jostor l-każi ta’ pedofelija fi ħdan l-istess Knisja Kattolika.
Iżda jidher li Bertone, minkejja li kellu aċċess, għażel li jinjora rapport li kien sar fl-2002 għall-Konferenza tal-Isqfijiet Kattoliċi tal-Istati Uniti u ppubblikat proprju s-sena li għaddiet. Dan ir-rapport li sar mill-John Jay College of Criminal Justice jissuġġerixxi li l-possibilità ta’ aċċess akbar għal subien huwa responsabbli għal perċentwal għoli ta’ każi ta’ abbuż maskili. Fil-fatt Margaret Smith, waħda mir-riċerkaturi tar-rapport qalet li: “Mill-informazzjoni li għandna sa issa ma sibna l-ebda rabta bejn l-identità omosesswali u ż-żieda fil-kontinwazzjoni tal-abbużi. .... Huwa importanti li ssir differenza bejn identità u attività sesswali. Persuna tista’ twettaq atti sesswali li jistgħu jitqiesu bħala ta’ natura omosesswali iżda ma jkollux identità omosesswali.”
Barra minn hekk il-professur tal-psikoloġija Thomas Plante fil-ktieb tiegħu ‘Mental Disorders of the New Millenium’ qal li minkejja l-maġġoranza tal-vittmi ta’ abbuż minn membri tal-kleru huma rġiel, dawn l-abbużi ma jistgħux ikunu marbuta mal-omosesswalità. Dan minħabba li fl-ewwel każ ħafna mill-qassisin involuti jistqarru li mhumiex omoses-swali. Dan huwa l-istess fil-każ ta’ abbużi mwettqa minn irġiel li mhumiex qassisin. Huwa jtenni li skont rapporti li għandu ħafna jabbużaw minn subien minħabba li għandhom aċċess akbar għalihom u jibżgħu mill-periklu li jekk jabbużaw minn bniet jistgħu jispiċċaw joħorġu tqal. Huwa qal ukoll li b’mod inġenerali nstab li meta mqabbla ma’ persuni eterosesswali persuni omosesswali huma anqas lesti li jabbużaw mit-tfal. Iżda l-aktar importanti li saħaq Plante kien li: “L-orjentazzjoni sesswali m’għandha l-ebda rabta ma reati sesswali.”
Għaldaqstant l-attakk ta’ Bertone flok mewwet ir-rabja kontra l-inabilità jew nuqqas ta’ rieda li jittieħdu passi kontra l-qassisin pedofeli, aktar żieded id-doża ta’ attakki fuq is-Santa Sede... u fuq il-Papa Benedittu XVI bħala l-kap tagħha u tal-Kattoliċi.
Iżda dawn l-attakki ħorox fuq il-Papa u l-Knisja Kattolika kif bdew? F’dawn l-aħħar ġimgħat ħarġu diversi stejjer kif Benedittu XVI kemm
meta kien Arċisqof ta’ Munich fil-Ġermanja, kif ukoll meta kien fil-kariga bħala Prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina, l-inkwiżizzjoni moderna, għamel minn kollox biex jaħbi każi ta’ pedofelija u jipproteġi ’l qassisin involuti.

Il-Każ Peter Hullerman

Il-Papa Benedittu XVI spiċċa taħt attakk wara li fil-pub-bliku ħarġu ittri u dokumenti iffirmati minnu u li jortbtuh mal-mod kif kien trattat il-każ tal-qassis Peter Hullerman. Meta Joseph Ratzinger kien għadu Kardinal kien mgħarraf li qassis Ġermaniż li kien għen biex jingħata t-terapija wara każi ta’ pedofelija, kien se jirritorna mill-ġdid jaqdi d-dmirijiet tiegħu ta’ qassis, ftit jiem wara li kien beda dan l-istess trattament. Dan il-każ kellu l-bidu tiegħu ’l fuq minn 30 sena ilu.
Il-qassis Peter Hullerman kien instab ħati li mmolesta xi subien sitt snin wara li beda l-kura u waqt li kien qed iservi f’parroċċa oħra. Minkej-ja li fil-ġimgħat li għaddew l-Arċidjoċesi ta’ Munich tefgħet il-ħtija tal-kondotta ta’ Hullerman fuq id-deputat arċisqof Gerhard Gruber, memo tal-1980 juri mod ieħor. Dan il-memo juri kif Joseph Ratzinger kien jaf li Hullerman kien se jkun trasferit f’parroċċa oħra u kien talab ukoll li jibqa’ jinżamm infurmat b’dak li jkun qed jagħmel.
Hullerman kien tneħħa mill-parroċċa fejn kien iservi u ntbagħat għall-kura fl-1979 wara li l-ġenituri ta’ tliet subien ressqu akkużi kontrih. Biss minkejja dan huwa reġa’ beda jaqdi d-dmirijiet tiegħu ta’ qassis fl-1980. Sitt snin wara huwa kien instab ħati ta’ abbużi fuq subien. Każi oħra ta’ abbużi fuq minorenni li fihom allegatament hu involut Hullerman seħħew ukoll f’raħal viċin Essen u fil-belt ta’ Garching an der Alz.
Kemm il-Vatikan u anke l-awtoritajiet tal-knisja ħarġu jiddefendu lill-Papa u qalu li hemm dubju jekk kienx jaf b’dak li seħħ. Biss fit-12 ta’ Marzu li għadda d-djoċesi tal-Bavaria kkonfermat li Joseph Ratzinger kien involut fid-deċiżjoni tat-trasferiment ta’ Hullerman u għaldaqstant kien jaf bl-abbużi tiegħu.

Il-każ ta’ Oakland

Kien fl-1986 li Rev. George E. Mockel, mit-tribunal ekkleżjastiku tad-djoċesi ta’ Oakland, sejjaħ lil Stephen Miller Kiesle, qassis li diġà kien ikkundannat tliet snin fuq abbużi pedofeli, biex jispjega li t-talba li għamel biex hu jitneżża mil-libsa ta’ qassis kienet imblukkata minn dak li dakinhar kien għadu Prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina. L-istorja ta’ Kiesel bdiet lura fl-1981 meta l-Isqof John Cummins kien għarraf lil Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina tal-Fidi bl-akkuża li kien għamel sess ma’ tal-anqas sitt subien bl-etajiet ta‘ bejn il-11 u s-16-il sena.
Biss l-uffiċċju tal-Kongregazzjoni Għad-duttrina tal-Fidi kien talab aktar informazzjoni. L-informazzjoni mitluba ntbagħtet.... b’aktar akkużi fil-konfront ta’ Kiesel. Iżda min-naħa tal-Vatikan ma’ rċevew l-ebda tweġiba. Ir-Reverendu Mockel iddeċieda li jikteb direttament lil Ratzinger, il-prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina tal-Fidi. Iżda għal darb’oħra baqa’ bla tweġiba. Min-naħa tiegħu Mockel saħaq ma’ Cummins biex jsir xi ħaġa. Kellhom jgħaddu sitt snin sakemm waslet t-tweġiba.
Fit-13 ta’ Jannar tal-1986 Mockel kiteb lil Kiesel fejn infurmah b’dak li kien wieġeb Ratzinger: “Ittra li rċevejna mill-Prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Dutrina tal-Fidi tgħid li għandhom bżonn ta’ aktar żmien biex jaħsbuha u jifhmu jekk lill-lajċizzazzjoni tkunx ta’ ġid għalik u għall-Knisja. Hemm il-biża’ li d-dispensa tiegħek tista’ toħloq xi skandlu qalb il-fidili.”
Illum il-ġurnata Kiesel, li għandu 63 sena, jinsab fuq il-lista ta’ persuni li wettqu reati sesswali fl-istat ta’ Kalifornja, fl-Istati Uniti.

Linji Gwida

Fl-isfond ta’ dan kollu, f’tentattiv mill-Vatikan biex tkun protetta l-immaġni tal-Papa Benedittu XVI, fil-jiem li għaddew kienu ppubblikati l-linji gwida ta’ kif l-Isqfijiet għandhom jimxu fil-każi ta’ pedofelija. Għall-ewwel darba sar magħruf li huwa obbligatorju li jsir rapport lill-pulizija meta jfeġġ każ simili. Aktar minn hekk f’każi gravi l-Papa jista’ jneżża’ qassis mil-libsa klerikali tiegħu.
Il-Vatikan stqarr li dawn il-linji gwida saru possibbli grazzi għall-intervent ta’ Joseph Ratzinger fl-2001 meta kien għadu prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina tal-Fidi.
Iżda sentejn ilu l-istess Papa Benedittu XVI approva linji gwida oħra, li tressqu quddiemu mill-prefett preżenti tal-Kongregazzjoni tad-Duttrina tal-Fidi, il-Kardinal Zenon Grocholewski.
Dawn il-linji gwida jagħmluha mandatorja biex isir użu ta’ psikologi u psikoterapisti jekk ikun hemm dubju li novizz ikollu tendenzi omosesswali. Dawn il-linji gwida tressqu: “Minħabba li l-omosesswalità hija ġerħa, devjazzjoni u rregolarità li żżomm qassis milli jaqdi dmiru.”
Ċaqlieq ta’ qassisin madwar id-dinja fuq akkużi ta’ pedofelija
• Tal-inqas jeżistu 30 każ li fihom il-qassisin involuti kienu trasferiti bejn pajjiż u ieħor biex iżommu mistur l-abbuż li wettqu u li f’uħud mill-każi kienu misjuba ħatja għalihom. Il-każi tal-qassisin involuti jmorru lura kważi 50 sena.
Tul dawn is-snin kellek każi fejn qassis intbagħat fil-Filippini mill-Amerika u kien jingħata ċekkijiet ta’ flus biex iżomm ħalqu magħluq. Kellek qassis fil-Kanada li wara li instab ħati ta’ abbużi sesswali ntbagħat Franza fejn mill-ġdid instab ħati ta’ abbuż ieħor. Qassis ieħor spiċċa jkun trasferit bejn l-Irlanda u l-Ingilterra minkejja li kien psikoloġikament ippruvat li jwettaq sodomija mas-subien. Dawn il-ftit każi juru l-metodu li bih huma kkontrollati u solvuti l-każi ta’ pedofelija fil-knisja: trasferiment mil-lok tar-reat.
•Joe Callander jgħid li kien għad kellu 14-il sena meta fl-1959 safa stuprat minn qassis fil-belt ta’ Boston. Dun Mario Pezzotti kien intbagħat il-Brażil fejn baqa’ jaħdem mill-1973 sal-2003.
• Dun Vijay Vhaskr Godugunuru, qassis Indjan, kien trasferit lejn l-Italja wara li kien akkużat li mmolesta tifla ta’ 15-il sena. Illum il-ġurnata huwa jaqdi l-ħtiġiet ta’ parroċċa ta’ 4,000 persuna... inkluż tfal.
Il-ġenituri tat-tifla involuti resqu l-każ quddiem il-Papa Benedittu XVI, iżda sal-lum għadhom bla tweġiba. Il-każ seħħ fl-2006.
• Għal 30 sena sħaħ il-Ġiżwita Taljan Clodevo Piazza ħadem ma’ tfal bla dar fil-Brażil. Biss f’Awwissu li għadda tal-anqas tmien subien u rġiel żgħażagħ stqarrew li kienu sfaw abbużati minnu. Illum Piazza jinsab jgħix u jaħdem fil-Możambik.
• Dun Joseph Skelton kien għadu seminarista ta’ 26 sena f’Detroit meta kien misjub ħati li abbuża tifel ta’ 15-il sena. Illum, għoxrin sena wara, jinsab fil-Filippini fejn qed jaqdi d-dmirijiet tiegħu ta’ qassis.
• Wara li kien akkużat li abbuża minn tal-anqas 11-il tifel f’erba’ istituzzjonijiet tal-Knisja fi New Zealand, Dun Allan Woodcock intbagħat fl-Irlanda. Fl-2004 mill-ġdid intbagħat lura fi New Zealand fejn ammetta 21 ta’ każ ta’ abbuż sesswali.
Joe Callander stqarr li hu kull ma jrid hu li “Il-Knisja taddotta id iebsa ma’ min jabbuża mit-tfal, u flok tibgħatu pajjiż ieħor, tneżżgħu minn qassis.”

Każi ta’ pedofelija

L-ittra lill-Irlandiżi u l-pubblikazzjoni tal-linji gwida mill-Vatikan fir-rigward ta’ każi ta’ pedofelija huma tentattiv aħħari mill-Knisja Kattolika biex kemm jista’ jkun twaqqaf iż-żieda ta’ każi ta’pedofelija mwettqa minn membri tal-kleru. Iżda għalkemm f’dawn l-aħħar jiem ħarġu fil-beraħ aktar każi ta’ pedofelija, sal-lum għadu inċert kemm hu n-numru reali. Dan meta wieħed iqis kemm il-mitt sena ilha stabbilita din l-istituzzjoni reliġjuża. L-abbużi mhumiex marbuta ma’ pajjiż partikolari iżda huma mifruxa ma’ kull fejn hemm preżenza Kattolika.


Tul dawn l-aħħar 19-il sena kienu rappurtati xejn inqas minn 45 każ ta’ abbużi sesswali fuq it-tfal. Każ minnhom għadu għaddej fil-Qorti.


F’wieħed mill-akbar każi ta’ abbużi fuq tfal, jirriżulta li erba’ Arċisqfijiet ta’ Dublin, bejn l-1974 u l-2004, għalqu għajnejhom għal diversi rapporti dwar pedofelija mwettqa minn membri tal-kleru.
F’rapport li kien sar jirriżulta li l-awtoritajiet tal-Knisja Irlandiża poġġew l-ewwel u qabel kollox l-interess tal-istituzzjonijet klerikali u mhux tal-vittmi. Agħar minn hekk fl-10 ta’ Marzu li għadda ħareġ każ ieħor fejn jirriżulta li l-kap tal-Knisja Kattolika fl-Irlanda, Sean Brady, kien preżenti meta t-tfal li sofrew abbuż kienu sfurzati jiffirmaw ħalfa ta’ silenzju biex jostru l-każ tagħhom.

Stati Uniti

Tul dawn l-aħħar għoxrin sena l-Knisja Kattolika fl-Istati Uniti kellha toħroġ miljuni ta’ dollari bħala ħlas ta’ danni f’każ ta’ abbuż fuq minuri.
• Fl-2003 l-arċidjoċesi ta’ Boston ħallset $85 miljun f’danni, f’500 każ ta’ pedofelija.
• Fl-2007 l-arċidjoċesi ta’ Los Angeles ħarġet $660 miljun.
F’Marzu li għadda sar magħruf li Joseph Ratzinger, bħala Prefett tal-Kongregazzjoni għad-Dutrina tal-Fidi, naqas li jwieġeb għal talba ta’ direzzjoni mill-kleru Amerikan dwar il-każ ta’
Fr. Lawrence Murphy. Murphy li miet fl-1998 hu masub li bejn l-1950 u l-1974 kellu relazzjonijiet sesswali ma’ ’l fuq minn 200 tifel li kienu jattendu fi skola għal tfal neqsin mis-smiegħ.


Barra l-każ imsemmi f’dawn il-paġni, jirriżulta li kien hemm madwar 170 każ ta’ abbuż ta’ tfal fi skejjel tal-Ġiżwiti, tliet skejjel Kattoliċi fil-Bavarja u anke minn fost dawk li kienu jattendu l-kor prestiġġuż ta’ Regensburg Domspatzen, li għal dawn l-aħħar 30 sena kien immexxi minn ħu l-Papa nnifsu: Mons. Georg Ratzinger. Barra dawn l-akkużi, kien hemm oħrajn dwar kif fis-snin 70 erba’ qassisin u żewġ sorijiet wettqu każi ta’ pedofelija.


Is-sena li għaddiet 67 persuna ffirmaw dikjarazzjoni li fiha akkużaw 24 qassis li bejn l-1950 u l-1980 abbużaw minnhom.


F’Marzu li għadda 200 persuna stqarrew li kienu vittmi ta’ abbuż minn membri tal-kleru bejn l-1950 u l-1970.


Ħames qassisin kienu sospiżi wara allegazzjonijiet ta’ abbużi ta’ tfal. 16-il persuna rrappurtaw 27 każ li seħħew tul 50 sena. Barra minn hekk il-kap tal-monasteru f’Saliburgu rreżenja wara li ammetta li abbuża minn tifel... 40 sena ilu.