Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Malta Today: ‘Gays’ sexual activity does not have a role within society’ – Auxiliary Bishop

Bishop Charles Scicluna insists that parliament has no mandate to implement adoption for gay couples
Thursday 28 November 2013 - 21:13 by Daniel Mizzi

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna

"While the sexual activity of heterosexual couples has a fundamental role in producing future members of the society, that of same-sex couples does not have a role in society as it does not produce offspring," Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna said this evening, on PBS's Dissett where he was quizzed by PBS Head of News Reno Bugeja.

The uncompromising auxiliary bishop was categorical about his displeasure that parliament was not establishing a clear distinction between marriages and civil unions, in its debate on the civil unions bill.

"Currently, the obligations and rights of members within a civil union are barely different from those within a marriage and consequently, parliament needs to clearly distinguish the rights pertinent to a marriage and those to a civil union."

Currently at is second reading in parliament, the Civil Unions Act seeks to regulate civil unions for gay couples and was proposed in the PL electoral manifesto.

Scicluna, who had previously said that equating civil unions with marriage was "illogical" and "deceptive", urged MPs to engage in a thorough debate and reflection before equating civil unions with marriage.

On adoption by same-sex couples, the auxiliary bishop said that since gay people could not "by nature" become parents, consequently they should not be considered as prospective adoptive parents.

The former Vatican sex abuse prosecutor also said the government had no mandate to introduce gay adoption since Labour's electoral manifesto merely proposed civil unions. "Neither the government, nor the opposition said anything about amending the adoption laws, but the PL merely vowed to implement same sex civil unions. Consequently, they do not have the mandate to implement adoption for gay couples."

Asked about the possible discrimination the illegality of same-sex marriage imposed on gays, the auxiliary bishop said this did not amount to discrimination as EU jurisprudence lef it in the hands of the member states to decide on this matter,

One year into his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop, Scicluna described Church-State relatons as being positive, despite being characterised by "clear" disagreements and opposing stands. "The Church respects the autonomy of the government and we respect the government's clear and truthful stance."

"The Prime Minister has acknowledged that the bishops and other members of the church have a right to voice their opinion. The bishops are duty bound to voice their opinion but on the other hand, they must respect the pluralistic and democratic society."

Despite giving the impression that the church does not accept this separation in practice, Scicluna said it was still offering its hand in cooperation.

Asked about the church's opposition to host civil marriages inside Church-owned property, Scicluna said that people married by civil registation should consider the consequences of such marriages. "Civil marriages are not hosted in church establishments as the couples chose to go against the religious teachings... so those couples should instead host their weddings and take their photos elsewhere."

On the citizenship scheme, Scicluna argued that he does not regret entering into the issue.

While insisting that the Maltese citizenship is priceless, Scicluna argued that the Maltese passport should not be sold at a mere €650,000 donation. He instead called for the government to ensure that the Individual Investor Programme stays true to its name and ensure that the beneficiaries are in some way or another tied to Malta not just by their passport.

The Archbishop's curia writes, on 1 December 2013:

"The article entitled "'Gays' sexual activity does not have a role within society' - Auxiliary Bishop'", published on Maltatoday online on Thursday 28th November 2013, gives the gist and not the context, as explained by Bishop Charles J. Scicluna during Thursday's edition of Dissett (TVM).

"During the mentioned programme, Bishop Scicluna appealed to keep the sex life of same sex couples private, and for the State not to demand that same sex couples satisfy the legal requirements of potency and consummation, according to the Marriage Act. The State should not legislate on it except to defend victims of crime. On the other hand, the State imposes certain requirements on heterosexual married couples, as stated in the Marriage Act, because their sexual union is of its very nature potentially procreative."

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