The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Archdiocese of Malta says it has full respect towards equality in diversity

Monday, 14 September 2020, 16:55 Last update: about 9 days ago

The Archdiocese of Malta has issued its position on the Equality Bill which will be coming before parliament next week, noting that no person should be discriminated on the basis of their race, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, political ideology or any other characteristic that makes a person unique. 

Two bills are being discussed in Parliament on Monday with the aim of promoting equality and working towards eradicating all forms of discrimination in all sectors of society. 

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In favour of equality and against all forms of discrimination 

The statement published by the Bishop of Malta and Gozo on the draft equality bill stated, that no person should be discriminated on the basis of their race, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, political ideology or any other characteristic that makes a person unique. 

“The dignity of every person demands this. The teachings of the Church value each and every person from conception until natural death.” 

Freedom of conscience and religion 

“At the same time, we must express our concern about certain clauses in the Bills that have serious implications on the freedom of every person,” the statement said.

Freedom of thoughts, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for all people living in Malta and Gozo have always been safeguarded by the Constitution of Malta, by the European Convention and also by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. 

The statement added that “if the Bills are not amended with caution and transparency, they will threaten the fundamental freedom that we have always cherished.” 

The right of parents to choose their children’s schools 

“We particularly appeal that all efforts are made to safeguard the right of parents to choose their children’s schools. The right of parents is a fundamental right in itself, therefore we want to ensure that the education and teaching received by their children is in conformity with their religious and philosophical beliefs,” it said. 

Church schools’ ethos 

Although the principles, values and ethos of the school are passed on to children during religion, this is also done through various other subjects. 

What’s important is that educators must be chosen in such a way that they are suitably qualified and equipped to contribute to the growth of the school’s ethos throughout all the subjects and activities.

“Someone who is indifferent or completely hostile to the school’s ethos cannot accomplish this.” 

The right to conscientious objection 

In addition, the statement further highlighted that the equality law should include the right to conscientious objection as this will ensure that no one is forced to engage in, form part of, promote or participate in activities that go against their conscience, their principles and values that they embrace. 

It should also be ensured that no structures which run parallel to the Courts of the country are created as, whilst declaring that they are promoting equality. These structures will indirectly stifle the rights of others and effectively make it more difficult for persons to safeguard their fundamental rights, it said.

 

 

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