Friday, 22 March 2013

Times: Muscat discusses church-state agreement and civil unions with bishops
Friday, March 22, 2013, 13:06 by Kristina Chetcuti

Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video. Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be formally writing to the Holy See to set the ball rolling for discussions to revise the 1992 Church-State agreement.

Addressing the press following a private meeting with Archbishop Paul Cremona and Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Prime Minister said that as part of the government court reform, the civil marriage law will no longer subordinate to the Ecclesiastical Tribunal.

“I will be writing to the Holy See to indicate the intentions of the Maltese government to discussions,” Dr Muscat said.

Mgr Cremona said that the revised agreement will be a reciprocal one.

Dr Muscat assured the Church leaders of the continuation of the government’s support – in particular the financing of church schools.

“I will myself be the interlocutor with the church on sensitive issues,” he said.

During the private meeting, they also discussed the civil liberties, particularly civil unions.

“It is obvious that the church will not agree with this and I understand their position – but our mandate is very clear and we will carry that out,” said Dr Muscat.

In the coming day details on the court reform and a Constitutional convention which will “give birth to the second republic” will be spelt out.“I hope the church will have an active role,” he said.

“We are a voice for society and by what it says, the Church aims to give people food for thought,” said Archbishop Cremona.

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