WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2011 By MATTHEW VELLA
Zwieg bla Divorzju holds rally with MPs Carmelo Abela, Edwin Vassallo, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and Charlo Bonnici.
Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo today called on the anti-divorce movement to become a ‘movement for the family and children’.
“We need to start working, with the government and Church… it’s been a grace from God for us to realise what we are voting for here. It’s not about the 28 May decision only.”
His comments were made at a business breakfast organised by anti-divorce movement Zwieg Bla Divorzju for some 100 supporters at the San Gorg Corinthia.
But it was Fr Ang Seychell, the Zejtun priest, who stirred the room when he said that a Zejtun congregation had walked out of the church when a priest described pro-divorce exponents as ‘pulli-cinelli’.
“They thought he said purcinelli (clowns)… and they walked out. Well, this is nothing like the stuff we had in the 1960s,” Seychell said, referring to the excommunication of Labour activists. “But still, it’s not that this kind of thing should be happening today.”
Seychell also warned his audience that after the 28 May referendum, “the next challenge would be warding off abortion and euthanasia, and even same-sex marriages.”
Labour MP Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca latched on to comments by Vassallo and Seychell. “We’ve opened our eyes to what exists in our country... as MPs we hope we can work to strengthen the family. Only the Lord can be witness, but our motion for a committee of the family was only inspired by our love for the family.”
“Children are not votes, but they have no voice either. If it isn’t us MPs to stand up for them, they will lose out even more,” Coleiro Preca said.
The president of the Church’s Cana movement Anna Vella gave a rallying call to supporters to exhort others to vote against the introduction of the divorce bill on the 28 May referendum.
Vella said Zwieg Bla Divorzju was the ‘no’ movement but it was also a positive movement. “We see divorce as something contagious. As foreign studies prove, divorce introduces a mentality of divorce. When people are given the choice to ‘fight or flight’, they escape the challenges of marriage.”
“I believe that whoever gets married now will grow up with this mentality. I feel it’s being imposed upon me, my children, and whoever will be getting married.”
She said divorce would not solve the problem of domestic violence and that Maltese society should be concentrating on improving measures to strengthen the family. “Why should we be like other countries and destroy something that is good in Maltese society?”
Zwieg Bla Divorzju chairperson Andre Camilleri said the movement would be providing transport for the elderly and the disabled for the referendum.
Labour MP Carmelo Abela said that with or without divorce, problems in families would remain. “That is why some MPs and myself have filed a motion to have a parliamentary committee for the family set-up, one that would focus uniquely on family issues – even more than the present social affairs committee.”
Lawyer Dr Bernard Grech also exhorted supporters to consider children. “Let’s do what our MPs did not stand up to be counted for. Let’s defend our children.”
Nationalist MP Charlo Bonnici attacked the content of the referendum question, saying the process that brought the referendum had been accelerated, but added that the result would have to be respected.
“The first effects of this decision will be felt by children, who will be damaged forever as foreign studies confirm,” Bonnici said referring to an Australian study reported in Monday’s In-Nazzjon, the PN organ.
He also asked how women could vote for divorce. “Studies show that wherever divorce is introduced, problems increase, single mothers increase, and marital breakdowns increase.”
He said with half the female population not working, it will be close to impossible for wives to depend on the maintenance paid by their divorced husbands.
“My appeal to you is that before we vote, we ask ourselves what benefit will divorce bring to those whom we love – let’s vote according to our conscience.”
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