Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Independent: Voting in favour of civil union bill ‘gravely immoral’
Sunday, 05 January 2014, 10:00

Malta must not open up to gay adoptions

The Maltese Church is worried about the bill being discussed by Parliament that would treat as almost equal under all aspects, adoption included, gay unions and civil marriages.

Pope Francis himself has expressed his ‘sadness’ at this legislative development, repeating that this constitutes an ‘anthropological regression’, as he had written as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010 in a letter addressed to Justo Carbajales, director of the Department for Lay people at the bishops’ conference of Argentina, who had organized a protest march against the law approving gay ‘marriage’, which was later approved by the Argentinean Parliament.

Mgr Charles J Scicluna, since 2012 thje Auxiliary Bishop of Malta and Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he worked for 17 years as Promoter of Justice, a key role to counteract the spread of sexual abuses by members of the clergy against underage persons was interviewed by Gianni Cardinale on L’Avvenire, the daily paper published by the Italian bishops’ conference.

In the interview, Mgr Scicluna says of the impending vote on the government’s civil union bill: “To concede one’s vote in favour of a draft bill so hurtful to the common good of society is an act that is gravely immoral.”

The Maltese Parliament is discussing a bill on unions between gay persons. Was the need for this really felt by Maltese society?

During the last electoral campaign, which took place between January and February 2013, in a frenetic race to gain votes, all the political parties promised to favour the expectations of the gay lobby and promised a law in favour of civil unions. After the March election, which was won by the Labour Party under Dr Joseph Muscat, the government has moved to honour its commitment with the gay lobby.

What does this new bill consist of?

The bill is inspired by the Danish bill from 1994 and treats as equal, under all aspects, civil unions (both heterosexual and homosexual) and civil marriage. It also allows gay couples to become adoptive parents as a couple.

What is the position of the Church?

The bishops have expressed their worries about this bill, referring to Catholic doctrine that is very clear in itself, while reiterating pastoral concern on behalf of all, including gay persons.

Can an MP who says he is Catholic support the bill that is being discussed?

The Catholic doctrine regarding this is found in the document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued in 2003 entitled “Considerations regarding the legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons”. In paragraph 10, in particular, there is written: “If all faithful are bound to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are even more so, according to their own proper responsibility. Faced with bills in favour of homosexual unions, they must keep in mind the following ethical indications. Where for the first time a Legislative Assembly is faced with a draft bill in favour of the legal recognition of homosexual unions, a Catholic MP has the moral duty to express, clearly and publicly, his disapproval and vote against the draft bill. To concede one’s vote in favour of a draft bill so hurtful to the common good of society is an act that is gravely immoral.”

You have said you have spoken to Pope Francis about this. What can you tell about this conversation?

Speaking to the Pope on 12 December, I expressed my worry about this draft bill. The Pope said he is saddened by this development, especially as regards adoptions. I told him the promoters of the bill quote his words: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?” But they do not quote his words in 2010 when he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The Pope then repeated a phrase taken from his letter in 2010: “It is an anthropological regression.”

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