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25 April 2014

Bishop’s Christmas Day homily raises hackles

 - Friday, 27 December 2013, 10:04

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna's Christmas Day homily called on the Christian faithful and MPs "not to destroy the family based on the lasting bond between one man and one woman". This was immediately understood as a reference to the forthcoming legislation that will introduce gay unions and comments for and against the bishop multiplied on the news portals.

Mgr Scicluna, 54, has been vocal in his opposition to civil unions for homosexual couples and gay adoptions, although his was a relatively lone voice in the otherwise muted response from the Maltese Catholic archdiocese.

Bishop Scicluna’s Christmas homily reiterated that the family has to be built around a man and a woman.

"Around the manger of baby Jesus there are also a woman and a man: the mother who gave him birth and her husband Joseph whom God chose to bring up, along with the mother, the child of Mary. God, who generated his Son as a human being without the participation of a man, did not want his Son as man to be brought up without the participation of a man.

"The silent and essential mission of Joseph was to ensure that the boy Jesus, in his upbringing as a man, was not deprived of a father’s affection and example. In the upbringing of his Beloved Son, God himself ordained and chose to be subjected to the wisdom and law of creation according to which a baby should be reared by a mother and father, by a couple made of a man and a woman and not by a couple made of woman and woman or a couple made of man and man," the Bishop said.

"May the Sweet Baby of Bethlehem grant us the grace that those who in our country have the power to build or to destroy, may have wisdom to build and not to destroy the family based on the lasting bond between one man and one woman.

"The message of Christmas remains always a current message. It beckons and invites us to seek and recognize the true wisdom that the manger of our Lord Jesus embraces."

Mgr  Scicluna questioned whether Christians were "looking for nutrition of mind and heart" from the Lord's manger, or from other mangers and troughs that had "the food of folly and the rat poison put by our enemy".

He has described a bill to legalise civil unions for gay couples as "deceptive" because the draft law states that its object is equate unions and marriage. "If the government wants gay marriage, it should say so. I understand the party in government did not promise gay marriage, so it doesn't feel it has this mandate. But that is something that should be discussed in parliament: why is government introducing gay marriage under a convenient label?"

Comments on the news portals were divided, with some defending the bishop’s views and others roundly condemning him.

Malicia Dabrowicz, for instance, wrote:  “But why only a man and a woman?! Why can’t two women or two men or children and a single parent form a family? Why it is so hard for Curia to understand? You people are so removed from the teaching of Jesus that you should not even be called Christians. I am sick and tired of all the hatred, blaming, and injustice that Church is brewing. “

Axel Cachia wrote:  “Children need lots and lots of love to grow up in a steady environment. Love brings love and hatred brings hatred. I also used to think the way the bishop is writing, however, with my experience with children, it doesn't matter with whom children grow up, as long as they are loved and taken care of in the proper way. Love has no boundaries. I see children living with their parents (mother and father) and who don't even care about their upbringing and their future, and I see children who are being reared by their mother and a female partner in the best way for the child. Only time will tell which child will have the best upbringing result, which after all are tomorrow's society. I already have my opinion.”

15 comments

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C Fenech says:
28 December 2013 07:02

In my opinion, the best part of Mons. Scicluna's homily is when he said: "Let politicians have the wisdom to build and not to destroy".
The least the PM and the Leader of the Opposition can do, is to give a free vote to all MP's or, better still, call a referendum. I think it shouldn't be much of a problem.

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Wilfred Camilleri says:
28 December 2013 03:03

The bishop has a right to voice his opinion on the topic based on the teachings of the church. Those who would have him keep his mouth shut are hypocrites. You may not agree with his comments but than many may not agree with those who support same sex marriage or union either. Free speech is paramount in a democracy!

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Paul Attard says:
27 December 2013 20:06

May I ask, can a referendum on this issue be held? I don't think it poses any difficulty; after all,  the divorce question was decided by the people using that democratic method, no?

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Giovann DeMartino says:
28 December 2013 04:58

Ir-referendum haw fejn jidhol? Mela referendum jista' xi darba jibdel in-natura fizika ta' dak li jkun?


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Giovann DeMartino says:
28 December 2013 10:44

Referendum?  Can a referendum change the physical condition of anyone?

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Antoine Vella says:
27 December 2013 19:14

Jesus's words often raised hackles too.

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James Alexander Tyrrell says:
27 December 2013 12:20

I find it amusing that the Catholic Church is so against homosexuality when it is the Church itself which bans priests from forming 'natural' relationships with women thereby forcing them into homosexual relationships at best and paedophilia at worst.

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Giovann DeMartino says:
27 December 2013 16:55

You are absolutely wrong James.  The church is not against homosexuality for the simple reason that no one has any control on such a condition.  But the church, very rightly is against marriage between persons of the same sex.  Same sex marriage is against nature.  Let them live together as much as they like.  No one can prevent them.  But stop there.

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Katherine Parker says:
30 December 2013 13:04

Condition? Is homosexuality then, according to you, Mr DeMartino, a disease? What strikes me the most is that the people who profess they are such staunch catholics as yourself Mr DeMartino, showing so much belief in the teachings of Christ (and interpreting them loosely and broadly as well), are the first to throw uncalled-for judgements, ridiculous comments such as the one above (and others in this comment space), and a general sense of intolerance, as well lack of love and respect for fellow human beings. Your overall comment - "Let them live together as much as they like. No one can prevent them. But stop there" portrays images of discrimination, seclusion and this sense of superiority of one being over the others. In my book, Mr DeMartino, you certainly are not one to portray images of love, and true belief in the teachings of Christ.

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Joseph Bonello says:
27 December 2013 19:07

Very well said James and may I add what a Christmas spirit! Just hate and injustice against gay couples.

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Giovann DeMartino says:
27 December 2013 19:51

Who mentioned hate?   Are you trying to be funny?

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Max Santorelli says:
27 December 2013 12:10

I will not delve into the Bishop's stance, but the timing if such a sensitive issue is really bad. This is a time for peace for all mankind and not raise divisive issues your excellency.

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Karl Borg says:
27 December 2013 11:24

Keep it up, Mons. Had you been around, the Church would have fought out the divorce issue much better than it did! Help us understand and defend the essential value of the majority of Maltese society - the family as we know it. Help us stay loyal to the teachings of the Church and not sway with every changing breeze.

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Joseph Bonello says:
27 December 2013 19:51

The majority voted for divorce as the referendum result showed. If you can count you should know that you are not the majority.

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Franco Farrugia says:
27 December 2013 10:43

May I offer my opinion?
This is not a question of the good bishop's homily 'raising hackles'. Heaven forbid if we had to deny the bishops their right and duty to preach and to express their opinions (after all, we are inundated with many a Tom, Dick and Harry's opinion in the social media and on various newspapers' commentary-boards!).
The bishops and indeed priests have the right and duty to promulgate in a clear manner the teachings of the Catholic Church. I, for one, expect this of them.
What I do not expect is lack of sensitivity and a total lack of respect for the occcasion.
What I do not agree with is that Bishop Scicluna chose, of all occasions, the morning of Christmas day to once again fill us with why two men or two women should not constitute, together,  'a couple'.
So, two men or two women are incompatible to raise children, while, with all due respect, a religious community made up or men only, or of women only, are compatible! And the latter experience has been going on for hundreds of years.
The good Bishop made various references to the Nativity of 2000 years ago.
Fine.
But the bishop, in making such analogies, should also go the whole way and not stick to merely having the presence of Mary and Joseph around the crib.
They were not alone there,.
There were various simple folk, shepherds, wearing poor attire.
In a poor, cold cave.
Doesn't this tell the Roman Catholic Church anything? Shouldn't we therefore start ourselves by giving all the analogies and prefer a poor Church with poorly-attired prelates? Because, unless we live the Message ourselves first, we cannot speak the Message to others.
And one last thing: I invite the Bishop to take a cursory look at the comments in The Times of Malta where his 'couple' sermon was reported, and see for himself what he has started. The sheer unpleasantness of some holier-than-thous who are nothing but homophobes, is clear to one and all. Well done, Bishop!

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