It’s moderately strange that every time the Catholic Church says anything, assorted commentators get all irritable about what is said. (Above is a stock picture taken during the divorce referendum campaign in 2011.) Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi
I. M. Beck had come out in favour of divorce, though not without some misgivings because, by so doing, he was giving aid and comfort to that Pullicino Orlando fellow who has since demonstrated that he was not worthy of it. Nailing his colours to that particular mast was not a move which had rendered said Beck a pin-up for the clerical gentlemen at the Curiae (plural of Curias...) but one survives.
The basic underpinning of Beck’s philosophy was that allowing people to divorce did not make it mandatory on them so to do, so the stance taken by the Church Organised was not, in Beck’s humble (!) opinion, particularly appropriate, as it (the stance) sought to impose a system of morality on those who perhaps don’t subscribe to it.
Allowing broken marriages to be put to death finally doesn’t, at least from what I can see, spell the end of the world or of civil society as we know it, so there was no reason for anyone to try to impose his own belief system on anyone else.
The debate about divorce had led to a substantial level of opprobrium being directed, in its turn, against the clerical gentlemen who had come out against it, which, even at the time, I had found to be a bit strange. After all, if I was allowed to say ‘aye’ to divorce, which I was, and did, even if noses were looked down in my general direction from certain quarters, why shouldn’t others, including said clerical gentlemen, be allowed to say ‘nay’?
Freedom of expression works in all directions, not only in favour of the liberal, free-thinking side of the equation.
We’re now about to be faced with a similar debate about gay marriage (if you’ll allow me to use a shorthand that is not exactly precise) and, with even greater passion, same-sex couple adoption.
Freedom of expression works in all directions, not only in favour of the liberal,free-thinking side of the equation
My personal position is that I’m not particularly worried about allowing people who are so inclined to get hitched, and I apologise for using the patronising word ‘allowing’, what I mean is establishing a legal regimen that makes it possible. Whether it’s called marriage, civil union or whatever doesn’t make any difference to me but if it makes people happy to call it marriage who am I to interfere?
I don’t think that the world will come to end if two men, or two women, walk arm in arm out of a Registry Office and, by and large, if two people who love each other want to make a commitment. Indeed, I suspect that society will be all the better for it.
Insofar as concerns adoption by same-sex couples, I’m not completely convinced that the child will not be subject to consequences that might not be totally in its interest but, again, a child brought up in a loving environment will probably thrive. So, here again, I think I’d come down on the side of the ‘ayes’, if I were to be asked to put an ‘x’ in a box.
But it doesn’t seem as if I’m going to be asked to scribble an ‘x’ any time soon, even the anti-spring hunting referendum seems to be quite a few months away (remember to say ‘no’ to spring hunting) and no-one has even hinted that there should be a referendum about gay marriage and adoption.
All that said, though, I can’t understand where the pro-gay marriage/adoption lobby gets off getting all hot under the collar about the comments made by Bishop Charles Scicluna about the subject. Here again, the right of freedom of expression, I always thought, extends in all directions, not just to the side of the righteous... or the self-righteous, for that matter.
If the bishop feels he should make his position known and if that position is the one taken by the Catholic Church, why shouldn’t he make it known? The bishop, to be accurate, merely pointed out that –seen from a particular religious position – before voting, a Catholic parliamentarian should examine his/her conscience and take into account that the ‘official’ position is that gay marriage and adoption are not in line with the moral position espoused by the Church of which the parliamentarian is a member.
The bishop went on to say that, at the end of the day, he was not – and could never be – in a position to cast judgment on the conscience-call that any individual chooses to make, which leads to the conclusion that if a Catholic MP were to examine his/her conscience serenely, the MP might feel able to vote in favour of gay marriage and adoption, after all.
Who knows, this MP might find that Minister Helena Dalli’s dismissive piece concerning the objections to gay marriage and adoption, carried on Monday last, constitutes sufficiently solid arguments to allow for a vote for the Bill to go through. And have no fear, dear old LGBT lobby, the Bill will go through because it has been decreed that it will and there are more than enough votes to carry it, so there really wasn’t any need at all for the hysteria that greeted the bishop’s words.
It’s moderately strange that every time the Catholic Church says anything, assorted commentators get all irritable about what is said.
To put it bluntly, if you don’t like the heat generated by that particular kitchen, get out of it but don’t try to stop people who want to cook in there from doing that little thing. I agree that no particular belief-system should be allowed to impose itself on any other but in the reality of things this hasn’t been the case in Malta for many years now, as long as you exclude the hunting lobby.
These people seem to think that they can impose their beliefs, obsessions, if you like, on the rest of us and even if 40,000 or more of us think there should be a referendum on whether birds should be killed in spring, then sorry, no, you can’t have a referendum because the big courageous hunters are running scared that we’ll vote against them.
That would be a darn fine idea, if you ask me. It would be an equally fine idea if we were to be given the opportunity to vote on whether we should tart off our citizenship, for all that Joseph Muscat is trying to spin us a yarn that ‘the people’, we, the people, want an investment-based scheme that creates a genuine link between the shopper and the shop.
From where I’m sitting, the scheme, even as tweaked by Muscat, doesn’t go anywhere in doing this, for all the nodding pups that sat with him when he announced the tweaks. He still seems to have this fond belief that he can fool all of the people all of the time but, somehow, I doubt he’s going to risk having a referendum about it.
I probably haven’t had an Indian take-away for something in the region of 30-odd years, when we lived in London, but the experience last week of having one from Krishna has given me cause to make this a more frequent diversion.
It’s simple: you give them a call (I prefer to delegate the task, the number of decisions needed to order an Indian is daunting) and then tootle off to Sliema – if you’re especially nice, you needn’t even get out of the car, they’ll bring you your grub and the card-machine while you sit there with the hazards on.
And it’s good stuff, too, and warm, even after being ferried from the Ferries to Lija.