Thursday, 2 February 2012

Times: Big electoral issues that will be tackled (1)
Monday, January 23, 2012, by Henry Pace, Sliema

The year 2011 was turbulent with the electorate being called to vote on the divorce issue.

A backbencher on the government side presented a Private Member's Bill to the Speaker of the House. It was considered by one and all, as Archbishop Paul Cremona said, "a bolt from the blue".

The Prime Minister seemed to be held to ransom unless this Bill were discussed in Parliament or put to a referendum. The Leader of the Opposition took every opportunity to make this issue his own because since taking the leadership of the Labour Party he pronounced himself in favour of a divorce law even though at the same time he declares that he is a practising Catholic.

Archbishop Cremona stated (March 19, 2011 "The Church expects and urges those who profess to be its members, to contribute to this debate according to their Christian values as proclaimed by Our Lord Jesus Christ; otherwise they would be living a contradiction".

The question put to the electorate was rushed through Parliament and seemed to be a dishonest one. Only 73 per cent went out to vote.

The result is known to all, as 53 per cent were in favour of the divorce motion as presented by the Leader of the Opposition with the support of a government MP who had presented the Private Members' Bill the year before.

The general election beckons in the coming months or so. It is to be said that soon after the divorce law was enacted new ideas were cropping up on the issue of gay and lesbian rights where it is being proposed that "same-sex" unions should be legalised.

The Leader of the Opposition expressed himself in favour of new legislation to give these people such rights.

Whenever such issues are pronounced by the Opposition party it seems that it has no other election issues of importance other than the utility bills. Political parties should be going to the electorate with a clear vision and a well-formulated electoral manifesto. However, these issues will be decided by the electorate when the time is ripe. The most important issue in the next general election for those who consider themselves as truly practising Catholics are the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Catholic voters of goodwill would be looking for the truth to enable them to decide who to vote for. People get confused when they hear certain personalities prominent in political parties and around our Church hierarchy expressing themselves in favour of such legislation. We may recall what took place when certain "learned" theologians spoke in favour of the divorce law.

Prima facie, the majority of the Maltese declare themselves to be practising Catholics.

However, a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political programme or a politician that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. Some things are always wrong, and no one may vote in favour of them, directly or indirectly. Citizens vote in favour of these evils or in favour of candidates who propose to advance them. Thus, Catholics should not vote for anyone who intends to push programmes or laws that are intrinsically evil.

The five non-negotiable issues are abortion, euthanasia, foetal stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage.

When political manifestos are presented to the electorate, the electorate should openly ask and demand clear replies to all those prospective candidates knocking at our doors. What is their position regarding all the above, so as to confirm the candidates' beliefs of their Catholic faith? In all probability they will all say they are not in favour, however, when elected, will they all toe the party line unless given a "free" vote?

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

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