Sunday, 23 May 2010

MaltaToday: Liberals like ‘barbarians who have invaded society’ – Gozo Bishop
Gerald Fenech Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mgr Mario Grech says symptoms of “sickness” of marriage breakdown also include cohabitation

A hard-hitting speech by Gozo Bishop Mario Grech yesterday insisted that marriage “was a sacred truth and anyone who attempted to undermine this truth for their own needs was going against God.”
Closing off a conference on marriage breakdown, entitled ‘Rolling Back the Tide of Marriage Breakdown’, Grech expressed admiration for British guest speaker Mr Justice Paul Coleridge for “having the courage to speak his mind”.
“A diagnosis of a patient takes into consideration the actual sickness, but also the symptoms and that is what is happening to us when discussing the marriage question,” Grech said at the conference organised by Progettimpenn – the Church’s think-tank on the family founded by the Cana Movement, Caritas and the Diocesan Family Commission.
Perhaps it was not made known to Grech that Coleridge has also made a name for himself in divorce settlements, having made legal history when his ruling resulted in the highest court award for a divorce – GBP48 million.
Grech, one of the most vocal critics of what he calls the “moral relativism” that is gaining ground in Maltese society, said the symptoms that rapidly invading society such as cohabitation, separation and ultimately divorce, need to be analysed in detail.
Quoting the philosopher James Curt, Mgr Grech said the real problem facing society today were the conflicts facing Western society today, where the old guard was clashing with the rapidly rising secularist mentality.
“Christian moral teaching can be shown to be rationally superior to orthodox secularist moral beliefs and it is becoming the norm for secularists not to search for what is right but what satisfies his/her immediate needs,” Grech said.
He insisted that for secularists, marriage is “only a contract to satisfy the needs of the partners” which may “not necessarily be a man or a woman”, adding that this was contrary to the traditionalist view of marriage as the union between a man and a woman with the prime aim of reproducing.
“We should not find any difficulty to determine the situation regarding marriages today which is unfortunately being fomented by the secular mentality of perceived rights – the right for divorce, abortion and gay marriage.”
Mgr Grech insisted that the secular mentality brought about a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ – quoting Pope Benedict XVI – insisting that those who believed in the sanctity of marriage should have the right to protect their views by legislation as do the liberals.
“Our society is in a crisis due to the invasion of secularist and liberal tendencies where anything goes,” Grech said, comparing liberal and relativist thinking to “barbarians who have invaded society and who have been governing us for quite some time.”
Mgr Grech said that it was important to counter the attack on the family with “the pastoral of thought”, adding that space should be made for such action within the Church and its flock. He also said it was important for the Church to engage with those who were close to the decision making process.
Quoting Pope Benedict’s recent speech in Portugal, he said that liberal thought expressed only a certain historical situation, but the precise work and mission of Europe was to “integrate faith and moral rationality within a single anthropological vision.”
Concluding, Mgr Grech said that discussion was important, but above all education on sound moral and family values continued to be the key if marriage was to continue being successful.
Keynote speaker Judge Paul Coleridge said a national marriage trust could be the solution in improving marriage numbers. In a lengthy speech, Judge Coleridge focused on the “quite disastrous” situation of family breakdowns in Britain, claiming these cost GBP42 billion to the nation.
“There’s been a drastic increase in the work of the Family Courts in the UK over the past years,” Coleridge said, adding that marriage breakdowns had reached “alarming proportions” and many were “powerless to avoid it.”
He also chastised the media and other social commentators for taking a laissez-faire view on the issue, insisting that some sort of action needed to be taken to halt the rate of marriage breakdown.
Intervening from the floor, Dr Robert Tufigno asked to what extent government should intervene in the question of marriage breakdown when the social mores are changing, especially with regard to the pursuit of happiness. Sir Coleridge said that government should not intervene directly to stop breakdowns, but should at least have some policy direction. “There needs to be a change in the laws,” Colerige said, but added that lessons had to be learnt from the “negative experiences” in other countries which had hastily introduced divorce legislation.

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