Friday, February 17, 2012, 23:03
The country will need steel soldiers to fight in favour of civil liberties such as IVF, civil unions for same sex couples, constitutional amendments and against censorship, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said this evening.
Speaking at a ceremony in Senglea to mark the 50th anniversary of the 'mortal sin election', Dr Muscat said that moments of trial will return where the Labour movement will have to open its doors to all
those who believed in civil liberties, to challenge conservatism and ensure that justice is done with couples who need scientific assistance to bear children.
Courage would be needed to fight for the rights of same sex couples and for self-censorship in art matters, for changes so that the constitution would reflect the aspirations of a young ambitious nation
which wanted to plan its own future within the European family.
Dr Muscat paid tribute to Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca, who he said, had the courage, will and ability to acknowledge what was wrong and ask for forgiveness. Through his actions he helped the wounds to start closing.
To ask for forgiveness was not a weakness but a sign that one was willing to shoulder responsibility, Dr Muscat said. Throughout its 92 years of history there were times when the Labour Party made mistakes and for this it had asked for forgiveness. Others, who played a major role when freedoms were destroyed 50 years ago, still insisted there was nothing to ask forgiveness for.
He hoped the time would come when those who had taken part in such actions would admit to their mistakes.
The Labour Party, he said, wanted to dialogue with the Church and believed that the Church and State should acknowledge each other but be different and separate. They should be two friendly but different and separate entities taking the same route together. This was what society deserved.
He said he was confident another 50 years would not have to pass for the Labour movement to be proved right.
The activity was addressed by Labour stalwart Vincent Moran, who described the election 50 years ago as the biggest insult to democracy, and Martin Ellul, Guze Ellul Mercer's son. Mr Ellul Mercer, together with many others, had been buried in the non-Catholic cemetery because of his beliefs.
The activity was also addressed by Dominican priest Mark Montebello who said that the same enthusiasm, dreams and hopes Dom Mintoff and many others had had for social justice, were being renewed.
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