Tuesday, 9th November 2010 by Kenneth Zammit Tabona
I am convinced God must have a pretty thick skin and a huge sense of humour to put up with us. He must also have given up making much sense of his official representatives on earth.
The Catholic Church has declared unilaterally that condoms are not to be used under pain of mortal sin. [Article in English]. Nobody gives a tinker's about it and the sale of condoms could not be brisker and healthier. However, it could be better as Malta has the highest per capita teenage pregnancy rate, which speaks volumes about the efficaciousness of the type of morality preached from the pulpits today. Therefore, while in time-honoured fashion the Gozo Bishop thunders about the immorality of condom use, the health authorities are in total dismay as it is they and not Bishop Mario Grech who will have to pick up the pieces. It is the families of the teenage pregnant girls who will have to face and ride out the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy and eventually the child, from the womb, will be stigmatised for the rest of its life. Had they only used a condom!
Nowadays, whenever the clergy make declarations it is as if they have woken up from a long deep slumber. It is as if they have failed to notice dwindling statistics where marriages are concerned in relation to the amount of babies they christen. They are under the impression that by prohibiting the sale of condoms on the University campus they are combating what they perceive to be immorality and licentiousness.
The clergy's attitude to the prevalent discussions about divorce, for instance, is tantamount to wishing to shut the stable door after the horses have bolted for, in reality, so many couples today are eschewing marriage both as a sacrament and as a civil union that, eventually, even divorce itself will become obsolete. The introduction of divorce, in fact, is not going to have one iota of effect on the institution of marriage whether religious or civil for, as time goes on and life becomes more complicated and more expensive, there will be an increasing number of people who will opt to stay single and women who will determine who and when they should sleep with a man with the object of carrying his baby without the shackles of a marriage to curtail the career they have fought tooth and nail to achieve.
Attitudes are changing so rapidly that both state and Church seem to be living on Cloud Cuckooland. The irony of it all is that the gay community is battling to have same-sex marriage, which is being put in the same basket as abortion by the Catholic apologists who, for misplaced public relations reasons, deliberately muddle lettuce with flatulence in an attempt to demonise a same-sex relationship for those people who have not got a clue about what being gay means. The government, on the other hand, thinks it will be able to solve the problem by introducing across the board cohabitation laws that will regulate all the irregularities that surround us and, in the process, give gay people the opportunity of vaguely legalising their situation without formalising it by a civil marriage or civil partnership with the same rights as any married couple. In doing so, the government is creating two classes of marriage and, hence, second-class citizens, which, in this day and age, when even apartheid had been thrown out of the window, is unacceptable.
It is now patently obvious that Lawrence Gonzi by temperament, belief and upbringing is unable to bring himself to discuss, let alone legislate, any social law that goes against the precepts of the Catholic Church. As we have seen time and again, he has baulked at the very idea of taking a mature and informed decision about divorce, preferring to shove the responsibility of the electorate in an expensive and highly undemocratic referendum. As for same-sex marriage and IVF and abortion, these are still taboo.
As may be seen, we cannot expect any of our politicos to act like José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and get on with social legislation, EU or no EU, because they just do not have the guts to do what is right and will insist they will not legislate on divorce in order to strengthen the institution of marriage when this institution is on its last leg.
The realities of today's world are not based on whom you or I sleep with but on the terrible threats and evils that surround us. Nuclear war, terrorism and genocide far outweigh the peccadilloes we are made to feel guilty about day in day out by a Church that seems to be missing the big picture.
This prurient obsession with all matters sexual should be replaced with preaching about how wrong it is to kill, how wrong it is to maim, how wrong it is to steal, how wrong it is to gossip, how wrong it is to condemn, how wrong it is to bully, how wrong it is to boast, how wrong it is to be bigoted, how wrong it is to be racist, how wrong it is to be parsimonious with our love and respect for others, how wrong it is to think that God will judge you according to your adherence to the letter of the law and not about whether there is love in your heart for without love, as St Paul says, everything else is completely useless and futile.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]