The Church “succumbed” to pressure during the divorce debate not to speak out about divorce when it should have been making its teachings clear, according to President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami.
Speaking on Radio Malta’s Għandi X’Ngħid, Dr Fenech Adami said that instead of talking explicitly on the subject, the Church left people to make up their own minds.
In guarded language, Dr Fenech Adami did not hide his dismay at what appeared to be the Church’s reticent attitude to come out in full force about its teachings on divorce and said that although the pastoral letter in the last week of the campaign was very clear, priests were not allowed to elaborate upon it.
The former Prime Minister also defended Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, whom he said was unjustly criticised for speaking out clearly against divorce.
Dr Fenech Adami once again reiterated that Parliament should vote down divorce Bill, two weeks after a 53 per cent Yes vote in favour of divorce in a referendum.
“I hope MPs stop the law. It is a moral issue and MPs have a duty to vote according to their conscience,” Dr Fenech Adami said on
The former President and Prime Minister’s comments come on the back of an article he wrote last week’s The Sunday Times in which he urged MPs to “stand up and be counted” when it comes to the divorce Bill and vote according to their conscience.
Dr Fenech Adami had said that unlike political issues such as EU membership – which was subject to a referendum in 2003 – divorce should not be decided on the principle of “democratic majorities but, rather, on the principle of what is morally right”.
Dr Fenech Adami yesterday told presenter Andrew Azzopardi that MPs who believed in Jesus Christ had no option but to vote against divorce – which he said was a matter of conscience that should never had been put to a referendum.
“I am a Christian and Jesus Christ, who was no ordinary man, said divorce is wrong. Am I a serious Christian or someone who takes his faith lightly?... I say this with Christ’s authority but also because divorce is socially wrong,” he said.
He insisted divorce was an attack on the family and the biggest danger was that it opened up the door to other moral problems such as gay marriage.
“Gay marriage is part of the downfall of values because it denatures marriage as we know it,” Dr Fenech Adami said.
He said the referendum result came as a shock to him and insisted parliamentarians should vote against the divorce Bill irrespective of the popular will.
Turning to the Nationalist Party, which is currently trying to contain the pro- and anti-divorce factions within it, Dr Fenech Adami said it as still recognisable as the party he knew but warned there were dangers ahead. “There are elements in the PN that are trying to propagate liberalism of principles, using loose language without reflecting on the true meaning of words. The PN has not lost its soul but there is a danger it will get carried away in the wave of moral relativism.”
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