Catholic Voices Malta Position Paper on the Equality Bill and Parents’ and Children’s rights to a Catholic education, and other concerns

CATHOLIC VOICES MALTA POSITION PAPER ON THE EQUALITY BILL

The Equality Bill and Parents’ and Children’s rights to a Catholic education, and other concerns

Catholic Voices Malta can only be in favour of those measures that the Government and society take to ensure that equality for all while at the same time respecting diversity.

As Catholics, and as emphasised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1934  we are all “Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin…. All therefore enjoy an equal dignity.” (CCC para. 1934)

“Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, colour, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.”  (CCC para. 1935)

While there are those in society who believe that to attain social well-being and equality society must be homogeneous in thought.   This may indeed sound good however history has thought us that this is not the case.   Humanity is full of diversity, different opinions, beliefs, races, etc.   Social well-being is attained when differences are respected rather than eliminated or coerced to change, a process that intrinsically involves conflict.

On a global sphere we have seen ethnic cleansing, the holocaust, the inquisition, communism, and more recent ideological bashing to try and eliminate differences, silence dissent and cleanse society of what is deemed impure.

The Equality bill cannot be a tool to promote an ideological agenda, whatever that might be.   To serve the public good what it needs to defend is the principle of “equal dignity” and not “homogeneity” something which communism attempted and failed miserably.  Nobody should be treated less favourably in any sphere of life, and the Equality Bill should be the tool that ensures this.

We believe that in many of its provision the proposed Equality Bill seeks to do this by bringing together existing relevant provisions on equality legislation and enhance other areas.

However we would like to raise a number of concerns to Parliament that is presently considering this Bill to some aspects that go beyond the legitimate principles of equality and cause concern as the Bill seeks to address equality by attempting to eliminate differences.

At a European Union level this balance is well struck, understanding that differences are also very different in Member States and that the strength of the Union is in its diversity.   With legislation passed so far seeking to reasonably apply the principle of equality rather then imposing uniformity.

 

Preamble

Malta’s educational system is founded on three institutional pillars, State Schools, Church Schools, and the later development of Independent Schools.

Thousands of parents have chosen a Catholic education for their children, and this not limited to Church Schools since a number of independent schools have also chosen a Catholic education framework as their ethos.

There are also other schools that embrace other faith-based ethos, like Mariam AlBatool Islamic School in Paola.

The parents of these children consciously and voluntarily choose to send their children to a school that has Catholic teaching as the basis of its educational curriculum, not co-incidentally, but out of choice.   This choice is desired by many other parents who unfortunately due to the limitation of spaces in Church Schools where not fortunate in the entry ballot and had to opt for other alternatives.

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that parents have the right to choose the education they want for their children. Moreover, the signatories included this principle among the basic rights that a State can never abrogate or manipulate.

In Article 14 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, clause 3 it is further affirmed “The freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles and the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of such freedom and right”.

Through provisions of article 14 of the Bill, the State is seeking to limit Catholic education should inspire and guide Christian behaviour and action in society to religion lessons.  Unfortunately, this reflects a lack of appreciation of what Catholic education is about and adopts a very restrictive view that goes completely against the spirt of Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is therefore very preoccupying that whilst the Equality Bill has the laudable intention of introducing a legal framework that can ensure that nobody would be treated less favourably in any sphere of life, it appears that the Bill to achieve this aim seeks to impinge on the rights of parents and we need to ensure that the opposite does not happen to Catholics in choice of ethos-based education that they choose for their children when they elect to send them to a Church school.

The European Parents’ Association – Parents Rights Charter lists the rights and duties of parents in Europe. Amongst these rights and duties are the following:

Parents have the right to make a choice for the education which is closest to their convictions and to the values they hold dear in raising their children and the freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles.

Parents have the duty to make well-informed and conscientious choices about the education their children should receive.

Parents have the right to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical, and pedagogical convictions. The formal education system shall respect for the spiritual and cultural background of the children.

 

The Catholic Ethos of Education

In line with what Pope Benedict XVI had stated about catholic educational institutions that their primary mission is to allow students to “encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth” the State needs to guarantee that Church schools are given the possibility ensure that they fulfil three primary objectives:  to provide an environment in which students are enabled to build and deepen their relationship with God; to foster an academic culture aimed at the pursuit of truth; and to actively promote growth in virtue.

To date this is very true of Catholic schools and colleges in Malta, whose ethos, apart from providing excellent comprehensive education, is the formation of the child holistically and for the child to experience and live in a relationship with Jesus.

The proposed legislation does not present very clear and definite boundaries of what would be legally prohibited or permitted by schools in the teaching of their curricula and this gives rise to the risk that the relativistic mindset that proclaims that all truths are equal and the secular truth more equal than others.  This imposes on Catholic schools to separate the teaching religion from other education because under this wrong mindset they have nothing to do with each other.

What is really being proposed by secularist movements is that the pupil should replace whatever god he believes in with the secular god. Catholic education is based on the unquestionable tenet that the only proper way to educate is by providing a formation that centres on Christ alone. It is for this reason that Article 14 of the proposed Act is of grave concern to us.

The Church regards the dignity of the human person as the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church’s social doctrine (Compendium of the Social Doctrine [CSD], no. 160).  The principle of human dignity also has implications for education.  Firstly, because education cannot be separated from the formation of the human person and the development of his vocation — whether secular or religious — restricting basic freedom in education is a restriction on freedom of conscience, the rights of parents and the freedom of religion more generally.  Unduly restricting freedom in education and imposing the state’s or a group’s or person’s conception of education on all families would be to subordinate the person to society.  In this respect, the right to religious freedom is paramount in the Church’s social teaching.  People should not be forced to act contrary to their religious convictions (Dignitatis Humanae, no. 2) and to prevent a family from educating children in the faith would be to do just that. It is for this reason that the State need to ensure that nothing in the proposed Bill will give rise to any potential act that will limit the rights of parents and the freedom of religion more generally.

“Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.”(Gravissimum Educationis [GE], no. 2). This freedom belongs to parents because of our God-given nature and the gift of free will that is given to us: “Government, in consequence, must acknowledge the right of parents to make a genuinely free choice of schools and of other means of education.” “Besides, the right of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs, or if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all (Dignitatis Humanae, no. 5).”

Given that freedom in education is an extension of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion more generally, it is important to note that the Catholic Voices is not calling for any special privileges for Catholic parents and children but simply the respect of their basic human rights.

It must be kept in mind that Catholic education not only teaches general education, but also balances education with deep spiritual immersion. Catholic education is very active in teaching a child that God is in their life and all around him/her. A child will learn how to see these “footprints of God” in their daily lives. As a child’s awareness of God develops, he or she also becomes an instrument of God’s grace in the family, community and in the world.

For that reason, Catholic schools cannot limit themselves to scholastic excellence. They must aim to offer formation and transformation at the same time. They must be an agent of that metanoia (or inner change) that should be typical of the life of every Christian, seconding God’s grace in bringing about in students a profound change so that they are empowered to produce improved conditions for the poor, the needy and those unjustly treated.

Safeguarding the distinctness of all education systems

We need to understand that not all education systems are the same. Each school or educational system has its own principles and philosophies that govern how they teach and develop a child. We fear that the Act in the current proposed version could hinder and possibly result in prohibiting Church schools from imparting education based on their particular Catholic ethos.

Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools especially the right to send their children to a Catholic school that creates for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth develop their own personalities so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.

It is the clear teaching of the Church, constantly reiterated by the Holy See, that parents are the first educators of their children. Parents have the original, primary, and inalienable right to educate them in conformity with the family’s moral and religious convictions. They are educators precisely because they are parents. At the same time, most parents share their educational responsibilities with other individuals and/or institutions, primarily the school. It is for this reason that we believe that the Bill should protect the right of parents to ensure that the school to which they chose to send their children to is allowed to foster its particular ethos in the education of their children.

The enduring foundation on which the Church builds her educational philosophy is the conviction that it is a process which forms the whole child, especially with his or her eyes fixed on the vision of God. The specific purpose of a Catholic education is not only the formation of boys and girls who will be good citizens of this world but also to enrich society with the values of the Gospel, and who will also be good citizens of the world to come. Catholic schools have a defined goal: to foster the growth of good Catholic human beings who love God and neighbor.

The Holy See’s documents insist that, to be worthy of its name, a Catholic school must be founded on Jesus Christ the Redeemer who, through his Incarnation, is united with each student. Christ is not an after-thought or an add-on to Catholic educational philosophy but the centre and fulcrum of the entire enterprise, the light enlightening every pupil who comes into our schools (cf. Jn 1:9).

The Gospel of Christ and his very person are, therefore, to inspire and guide the Catholic school in its every dimension: its philosophy of education, its curriculum, community life, its selection of teachers, and even its physical environment. As John Paul II wrote in his 1979 message to the National Catholic Educational Association of the United States: “Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others.”

Catholicism should permeate not just the class period of catechism or religious education, or the school’s pastoral activities, but the entire curriculum. The Vatican documents speak of “an integral education, an education which responds to all the needs of the human person.” This is why the Church establishes schools: because they are a privileged place which fosters the formation of the whole person. An integral education aims to develop gradually every capability of every student: their intellectual, physical, psychological, moral and religious dimensions. It is “intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person.”

We believe that to be integral or “whole,” Catholic schooling must be constantly inspired and guided by the Gospel. A Catholic school would betray its purpose if it failed to take as its touchstone the person of Christ and his Gospel: “It derives all the energy necessary for its educational work from him.”

Because of the Gospel’s vital and guiding role in a Catholic school, we might be tempted to think that the identity and distinctiveness of Catholic education lies in the quality of its religious instruction, catechesis and pastoral activities. Nothing is further from the position of the Holy See. Rather, the Catholic school is Catholic even apart from such programs and projects. It is Catholic because it undertakes to educate the whole person, addressing the requirements of his or her natural and supernatural perfection. It is integral and Catholic because it provides an education in the intellectual and moral virtues, because it prepares for a fully human life at the service of others and for the life of the world to come.

Thus, instruction should be authentically Catholic in content and methodology across the entire program of studies. Catholic schools should always conform to required curricula, but they should be allowed to implement their programs within an overall religious perspective.

The use of Catholic Symbols by Church and Catholic Schools Organisations

The use by Catholic schools of external signs of Catholic culture through images, signs, symbols, icons and other objects of traditional devotion is another right that may be challenged by this Bill. We are afraid that given the vague assertions of rights and the vague understanding of what may be interpreted to be discrimination, the Bill might also end up impinging on the use of such symbols by Church schools especially in external communication.

Role of Teachers in Catholic Schools 

We would also like to make a few observations about the vital role teachers play in ensuring a school’s Catholic identity. With them lies the primary responsibility for creating a unique Christian school climate, as individuals and as a community. Indeed, “it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose.” Consequently, the Holy See’s documents pay considerable attention to the vocation of teachers and their specific participation in the Church’s mission. Theirs is a calling and not simply the exercise of a profession. In a word, those involved in Catholic schools, with very few exceptions, should be practicing Catholics committed to the Church and living her sacramental life. Despite the difficulties involved we need teachers with a clear and precise understanding of the specific nature and role of Catholic education. The careful hiring of men and women who enthusiastically endorse a Catholic ethos is a primary way to foster a school’s catholicity.

It is for this reason that we agree with the Church’s position that nothing in the Bill should prejudice the right of Churches and other public or private organisations, the ethos of which is based on belief, creed or religion, to require individuals working for them to act in good faith and with loyalty to the organisation’s ethos.

We believe that as well as fostering a Catholic view throughout the curriculum, even in so-called secular subjects, “if students in Catholic schools are to gain a genuine experience of the Church, the example of teachers and others responsible for their formation is crucial: the witness of adults in the school community is a vital part of the school’s identity.” Children will pick up far more by example than by masterful pedagogical techniques, especially in the practice of Christian virtues.

It is for this reason that educators at every level in the Church are expected to be models for their students by bearing transparent witness to the Gospel.

The prophetic words of Pope Paul VI ring as true today as they did fifty five years ago: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” What teachers do and how they act are more significant than what they say – inside and outside the classroom.

 

Other aspects of the Bill for which we have concern

We also would like to subscribe to several concerns raised also by the Catholic Church in Malta in its document of February 2020 entitled “The Equality Bill and Religious Freedom”.

The right to manifest one’s faith individually and collectively

Religious freedom comprises three basic dimensions: an individual dimension (the right of the individual to choose one’s own system of belief) and a collective dimension (the right to associate with others sharing the same creed) and an institutional dimension or the right of faith communities to be recognised as social actors in their own right and having their own specific ethos.

As already elaborated, religion, is not a set of ideas and beliefs that an individual is entitled to hold.  Christianity is a way of life having its external dimension and so religious freedom, includes the right to manifest one’s religion, to act in accordance with religious rules and convictions in daily life and to establish, organise and manage those institutions required by the specific aims of particular religions.

Unfortunately, the bill is very limiting when it refers to ‘religious services’ in Article 6 having a clear underlying assumption that religious practice is separate from other social practices.

However, the primary role of the Church, not merely as an institution but also its faithful is to evangelise.  By its very nature, evangelisation requires engagement in society, through the proclamation of the work, i.e. the message of the gospel and good work, acts of charity and social justice.   For this very purpose the Church in it history developed the Social Teaching of the Church as it sees here a very important active role for the laity guided by the valued of the gospel.

The Churches was and still is involved in various charitable and educational activities, healthcare, running of elderly homes, supporting people with addiction difficulties, care for orphan children, counselling, and various other forms of ministry with families, youth and children. The engagement of the Churches in such activities has a religious dimension which should be respected by avoiding the imposition of any measure that can hinder them from giving that added value which they believe their faith can give to human life.

Where there is conflict between Christian belief and other ideologies, and the Bill’s attempt to define ‘religious services’ is a cause of concern as this could be used to effectively restrict religious freedom in its extent and form.

We expect that in no manner or form does the Bill restrict the religious freedom safeguarded by international conventions such as the on a European level the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention of Human Rights. The text in Article 10 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, practice and observance”

The right to freedom of thought conscience and religion constitutes one of the foundations of a pluralistic society.  In line with a broad understanding of religious freedom, the European Union adopts a qualified approach to the implementation of the principle of equal treatment, as it seeks to enforce equality while respecting diversity.

Regrettably, the Bill does not respect this balance, in provisions proposed in relation to advertising, employment and education.  It is our legitimate expectation that the Maltese Legislator should find a more appropriate way to adapt these principles for the local circumstances and to implement the equality principle without infringing on any one of the fundamental dimensions of the right to religious freedom.

The issue of conscientious objection

The Bill is completely silent on the “right to conscientious objection”.  Considering the orientation this Bill has taken in several areas, this right needs to be safeguarded and regulated by the State.  This also in view that Article 10 (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights that establishes the right to conscientious objection leaves it up to the Member States to regulate these matters.

The vague definition of harassment’ and ‘victim’

The Bill’s vague definitions of ‘harassment’ and ‘victim’ creates a situation for expansive subjective interpretations.   The Bill states that direct discrimination shall be deemed to occur where a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been, or would be, treated in a comparable situation, on the basis of any one or a combination of any of the protected characteristics; Moreover, the Bill continues to clarify that “‘harassment’ shall be deemed to occur where an unwanted conduct related to one or more of the protected characteristics laid down under this Act, has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”. [5. (3) c]

The Bill goes further to define ‘indirect harassment’ as any treatment based on an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice, which would put persons having any one or a combination of any of the protected characteristics at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.

Can these provisions be explained to normal well-meaning citizens or are we restricting the freedom of speech due to the uncertainty that will be accused for what can and cannot be said?

The procedure by which a person may be accused of wrongdoing, also placing the burden of proof on the accused, is totally unfair and is clear in violation of basic principles of justice.   We are indeed concerned with these provisions as in countries where similar provisions have been enacted we have seen well meaning individuals been target of ideologically motivated groups that seek to silence dissenting opinions in areas especially related to gender orientation.  This goes against the spirit of the bill and is a double-edged sword that can be used by various groups to silence other people’s legitimate opinions.

Advertising

We have already touched upon the point on our focus of Catholic Education and re-iterate our concern on the broad definition of advertising that may be interpreted to include even religious activities.  As the proposed legislation is shifting the burden of proof from the one making the allegation of misconduct to the defendant, the freedom of individuals and organisations, including Churches and faith-based communities, will be placed under severe and unnecessary constraints in presenting their own beliefs and convictions.

Access to Goods and Services

We are concern that the provisions of the law in relation to access to goods and services can out

Christian or other entrepreneurs of other faith into a conflict of conscience going against their right to religious freedom and consciousness objection.

Let us hope we don’t see in our court being dragged with silly cases about wedding cakes merely to prove a point or to attack an entrepreneur who has a genuine objective reason why to refuse to provide a service.  The provisions as they stand include far more serious situations then cakes and can involve the lives of unborn children as in the case of abortion and other similar situations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Catholic Voices sees in Catholic schools an enormous heritage and an indispensable instrument in carrying out the Church’s mission in the third Christian millennium. Parents who have chosen to send their children to Church schools need Government to guarantee that Church schools will retain their Catholic identity so that together with parents such schools will continue to build up the community of believers, evangelize culture and serve the common good of society.

 

 

For more information please contact us on info@catholicvoices.mt

 

Press Statement: Catholic Voices Malta submits its Position Paper on the proposed Equality Bill and the Rights of Parents over their Children’s Education

Catholic Voices Malta today submitted its position paper on the Equality Bill being discussed in Parliament to the Hon Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis BA, LLD, MP as Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance, and the Chairman and Members of the Adjunct Committee for the Consideration of Bills.

While welcoming those measures that the Government and society take to ensure equality for all, it needs to be emphasized that equality is not homogeneity, and measures taken need to respect diversity if we strive to be equal.   Equality means that although we may be different in race, colour, creed, sexuality, opinions, we are equal.

As Catholics, we believe that “Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin.” We all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.   Therefore, “Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, colour, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

The proposed Bill raises several concerns when dealing with Catholic Education.  Catholic Schools cannot be limited to transmitting Catholic values and ethos only during religion lessons.  The Constitution already obliges every school, be it a Public, Private or Church school, to teach the Catholic faith in religion lessons.  The purpose of a Catholic School goes beyond scholastic excellence and the mere catechisms in a religion lesson. It must be an agent of that inner change that should be typical of the life of all Christians, so that they are empowered to live their Christian faith in society to improve conditions for the poor, the needy and those unjustly treated.

Parents have a fundamental right to make a choice for the education which is closest to their convictions and to the values they hold dear in raising their children, and the freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles.

The Bill is also of concern in the way it seeks to restrict the public display of religious symbols, the role of teachers in Catholic Schools, the right to manifest one’s faith publicly, aspects of advertising and the issue of conscientious objection.

Also, the Bill’s vague definitions of ‘harassment’ and ‘victim’ create a situation for expansive subjective interpretations that will become a tool in the hands of those who want to hassle people who do not agree with their thinking.   This defeats the scope of the Bill which is that of seeking to attain and preserve equality.  While a balance needs to be sought between freedom of speech and respect for others, silencing people with legal uncertainty goes against the basic principles of freedom of speech.

Catholic Voices Malta Position Paper on the Equality Bill and Parents’ and Children’s rights to a Catholic education, and other concerns

 

Catholic Voices Malta issues Position Paper on the Human Trafficking & Prostitution Reform Consultation Document

Catholic Voice Malta today submitted its position paper on the Human Trafficking and Prostitution Reform launched by Parliamentary Secretariat for Reforms, Citizenship and Simplification of Administrative Processes within the Office of the Prime Minister.

While welcoming the efforts presented by the Reform to combat human trafficking and the need to place the victim of trafficking or the person subjected to prostitution at the centre of each decision being taken. The reform lacks the acknowledgement that prostitution is intrinsically wrong because it violates the human dignity of the person involved when contemplating the notions of “ethical recruitment” as a path not merely to decriminalise the prostitute but rather to regularise some forms of prostitution into regular working activity.

If a prostitute is a victim, and for this reason we agree to decriminalise, the prostitute remains a victim even after we manage to remove the stigma, we regularise prostitution and create so called ethical standards of recruitment. If prostitutes are victims, they are victims whether they have been trafficked or whether they enter prostitution for other circumstances, even if these are purely economic.

The reform states that it seeks to be guided by human rights principles. It is precisely the human right principle of human dignity that prostitution violates.
In making its decision Catholic Voices Malta urges the Government not be subjected by the economic demands of so-called operators of say Gentlemen’s Clubs who claim that Malta’s internationalisation necessitates the availability of such services. Women can never become “perks” for an industry.

We urge the legislator to rethink the orientation of the reform and advocate that our system should be closer to models that have proved to be successful in addressing human trafficking, reduce and reintegrate prostitutes in dignified employment and have full respect for the fundamental human rights principle of human dignity, like the Swedish Model.

The dignity of a person goes beyond providing a way out of prostitution, we need to create a culture of unacceptance of the objectification of a woman’s body, the provision of education and work opportunities that value the contribution of the person and provide a source of fulfilment in the alternative work a former prostitute does, rather than continue facing degradation and humiliation to survive.

Prostitutes should be decriminalised, but prostitution should remain a criminal activity, with heavier sanctions being placed on persons found guilty of trafficking human persons, operators of clubs and outlets that host trafficked persons, pimps and persons seeking the services of a prostitute. This clearly implies that strip clubs and similar operations should not be licenced and the concept of “ethical recruitment” withdrawn.

 

CV Reaction – Human trafficking reform Consultation document – Final

 

Aġġornament 2 – Aktar reazzjonijiet għall-manifest: “Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa” Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew – 25 ta’ Mejju 2019 Mill-Moviment ta’ Kana, Catholic Voices Malta u l-Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi

 

David Stellini – PN

“Wara li xtarrejt fid-dettall il-proposti mressqa, b’wiċċi minn quddiem nagħti l-appoġġ u l-impenn tiegħi favur il-manifest elettorali mressaq mill-Moviment ta’ Kana u Catholic Voices. Filwaqt li nemmen fis-sovranità tal-liġi u r-rispett lejn kull reliġjon, inqis il-proposti mressqa minn dan il-moviment bħala mnebbħa minn prinċipji ta’ etika u morali u rispett lejn il-bniedem, li huma fil-bażi tat-twemmin politiku tiegħi.

Il-prinċipju tas-sussidarjetà, ir-rispett lejn l-ambjent li jdawwarna u r-rwol tal-familja bħala l-pern tas-soċjetà huma tliet aspetti fundamentali li għandhom ikunu fiċ-ċentru tal-ħidma Ewropea.

L-Unjoni Ewropea wasslet għal bosta kisbiet kbar għaċ-ċittadini tagħha, iżda forsi fl-aħħar snin xi kultant iddevjat mill-għeruq tagħha. Nemmen li l-UE għandha terġa’ tfittex x’kienu dawk il-prinċipji li wasslu biex wara gwerra mdemmija bdiet proġett tant importanti u fejjiedi: prinċipji bħall-koeżjoni soċjali u l-ħidma biex ħadd ma jibqa’ lura. Hi din l-Unjoni Ewropea li rrid nara, u l-Unjoni Ewropea li se naħdem għaliha jekk inkun elett.

Dan hu għaliex lest nikkommetti ruħi li jekk niġi afdat mill-poplu Malti u Għawdxi, se nkun qed nara li dawn it-tnax-il prinċipju jkunu dejjem fl-isfond tal-ħidma tiegħi.

Roberta Metsola – PN

Grazzi tal-email tagħkom. Nixtieq nassigurakom napprova bis-sħiħ il-manifest u ser tkompli inkun iggwidata minn dawn il-valuri u prinċipji ġenerali f’kull deċiżjoni li nieħu, kif għamilt għal dawn l-aħħar snin.

Roselyn Borg Knight – PN

Grazzi talli qsamtu dan il-manifest miegħi.

Jiena qrajt il-manifest tagħkom u nagħti l-appoġġ sħiħ tiegħi għalih. Nieħu din l-opportunità biex nirringrazzjakom għax-xogħol tagħkom.

Robert Micallef – PL (kumment fuq Newsbook)

Il-manifest tal-għaqdiet Kattoliċi f’Malta ma rċevejtux izda għadni kif qrajtu issa. Niddikjara li naqbel mal-punti msemmija fil-manifest u se nkun qed navvanzahom fil-ħidma politika tieghi.

L-ewwel grupp ta’ reazzjonijiet

Numru ta’ Reazzjonijiet għall-manifest: “Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa” Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew – 25 ta’ Mejju 2019 Mill-Moviment ta’ Kana, Catholic Voices Malta u l-Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi

Il-Manifest isibu hawn

Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa, Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew 25ta’ Mejju 2019

Update 2 – Further reactions to the Manifesto “Rebuilding community in Europe” A manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019 Promoted by Cana Movement, Catholic Voices Malta and the Commission for Justice and Peace

Further reactions received from Candidates to the MEP elections for the Manifesto: “Rebuilding community in Europe”, a manifesto for the European Parliament Election of the 25th May 2019.  Promoted by Cana Movement, Catholic Voices Malta and the Commission for Justice and Peace.

David Stellini – PN

Having reflected in detail the proposals you put forward, with pleasure I give my support and commitment in favour of the electoral manifesto put forward by the movement of Cana and Catholic Voices. While I believe in the sovereignty of law and respect for each religion, I consider the proposals put forward by this movement as inspired by ethical and moral principles and respect for human dignity, which are the bases of my political beliefs.

The principle of subsidiarity, respect for the underlying environment and the pivotal role of the family in society are three fundamental values that should be at the centre of European action.

The European Union has led to many major achievements for its citizens, however in recent years the EU has somehow deviated from its roots. I believe that the EU should re-look at the principles that emerged after the war and led to a very important and fruitful project: the principle of social cohesion and ensuring that nobody is left behind. It is this European Union that I want to see, and the European Union I will work for if elected.

This is why I am willing to commit myself, that if trusted by the Maltese and Gozitan people, I will see that these twelve principles are always in the background of my work.

Roberta Metsola – PN

Thank you for your email. Please rest assured that I fully endorse the manifesto and will continue to be guided by these overarching values and principles on every decision that I take – as I have done for the last years.

Roselyn Borg Knight – PN

Thank you for sharing this with me.

I have read through your manifesto and I support it. I take this opportunity to thank you for your work.

Robert Micallef – PL  (comment on Newsbook)

I did not receive the manifesto of the Catholic organisations in Malta, however I have just read it now. I declare that I agree with the values mentioned in the manifesto and I will progress these values in my political work.

For the first group of reactions received press here

A number of reactions to the Manifesto “Rebuilding community in Europe” A manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019 Promoted by Cana Movement, Catholic Voices Malta and the Commission for Justice and Peace

The Manifesto press here

Rebuilding community in Europe, a manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019

Catholic Voices Malta welcomes the arrest of the suspected murders of Lassana Cisse

Statement

Catholic Voices Malta welcomes the arrest of the suspected murders of Lassana Cisse

Catholic Voice Malta welcomes the news of the arrest of two soldiers suspected with the murder of Lassana Cisse, an innocent migrant killed in Hal Far in a shooting which also left two other migrants injured last month.

Catholic Voices Malta thank the police force for their work in identifying the perpetrators of this horrible crime.

It is worrisome that the only apparent reason why Lassana was specifically targeted and murdered was the color of his skin. We condemn this racially motivated crime and hope that more is done to develop a culture that in the words of Pope Francis “Welcomes, protects, promotes and integrates migrants and refugees”.

We take the opportunity to remind ourselves of the important speech given by Pope Francis’ for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2018.

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2017-11/pope-message-world-day-of-migrants-and-refugees.html

A number of reactions to the Manifesto “Rebuilding community in Europe” A manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019 Promoted by Cana Movement, Catholic Voices Malta and the Commission for Justice and Peace

A number of reactions received from Candidates to the Manifesto: “Rebuilding community in Europe”, a manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019.  Promoted by Cana Movement, Catholic Voices Malta and the Commission for Justice and Peace.

(in the order received)

Micheal Brigoglio – PN

I fully endorse your manifesto.

Carmel Cacopardo – in the name of AD

I thank you

The Alternattiva Demokratika manifesto has been issued some weeks ago and you can find this here link: http://www.alternattiva.org.mt/2point3/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/AD_Ahdar-ir-Risposta.pdf

Arnold Cassola – Independent

I note the points that you have emphasised and quote a verbatim: ” Europe needs to rediscover its common identity and be protective of persons, families, and cultures, especially the poor and most vulnerable. We need MEPS that promote the founding values of the EU, committed towards human dignity for all, subsidiarity and active citizen engagement.

Families and demography need to be placed at the centre of mainstream European politics, especially young families. We need MEPs that promote Life from conception to natural end, that address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and foster a culture of integral ecology. We also need MEPs that work towards a renewed effort to find effective and shared solutions concerning migration, asylum, integration and demography.”

I consider myself a lay politician and that there should be a clear political separation between religion and state.

However, when I read the points you listed, I nearly surprise myself in finding that I wholly agree with all of them. This means that when one looks at the common good there is little difference between secular people and Catholics.

Therefore, I openly acknowledge that in the European political group that I will associate myself and work with I will endeavour to promote these mentioned objectives, including the few ones that most of the political group to which I will belongs are not in agreement with me.

In fact, my purpose is to form part of the Greens, as an independent, on the agreed condition that on issues of conscience (e.g. abortion; surrogacy) I will be free to work and to act according to my conscience and views, independent of the views and will of most of the Group.

Godfrey Farrugia – In the name of PD

Thank you for the document.

PD is built on the values of the Maltese and Europeans. We will continue working to strengthen them.

Felix Busuttil – PL

Thank you so much for contacting me – I do come from strong Catholic backgrounds. I myself for two years have had serious intentions to become God’s servant and wish to remain so – in my faults and in my doubts, I have strong faith in humanity and wish to see God placed one more within the realms of politics. I uphold your manifesto and can only wish love, respect, dignity and life for all.

Keep up the good work.

Peter Agius – PN

I strongly appreciate the initiative you have taken which in my opinion is an original contribution to how we can apply Christian values in politics at European level.

I agree without reservation to the 12 values that you presented and that I have reflected upon in detail. I also appreciated the perspective applied in the case of children’s education and the digitalisation that I am sure will be the challenges of the future.

I also believe that we need to apply more effectively article 17 on the freedom of conscience and this actively rather than in a passive manner.

I also believe that we need politicians who make it clear that their political engagement is guided by Christian values. This I have made clear myself on several occasions and in the priority points (that I have called results) of my programme, if elected.

The Manifesto

Rebuilding community in Europe, a manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019

Numru ta’ Reazzjonijiet għall-manifest: “Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa” Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew – 25 ta’ Mejju 2019 Mill-Moviment ta’ Kana, Catholic Voices Malta u l-Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi

Ir-reazzjonijiet li waslu minn numru ta’ kandidati għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew għall-manifest: “Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa”, mill-Moviment ta’ Kana, Catholic Voices Malta u l-Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi.

(skond l-ordni li waslu)

Micheal Brigoglio – PN

Jiena nendorsja l-manifest tiegħkom kompletament.

Carmel Cacopardo – f’isem l-AD

Nirringrazzjakom.
Il-manifest ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika li issa ilu xi ġimgħat ippubblikat issibu hawn : http://www.alternattiva.org.mt/2point3/wp-ċontent/uploads/2019/03/AD_Ahdar-ir-Risposta.pdf

Arnold Cassola – Independenti

Qiegħed nara l-punti li enfasizzajtu u nikkwota verbatim: “L-Ewropa teħtieġ li terġa’ tiskopri l-identità komuni tagħha u tħares lill-persuni, familji u l-kulturi, speċjalment lill-fqar u dawk l-aktar vulnerabbli. Aħna neħtieġu MEPs li jippromwovu l-valuri li fuqhom twaqqfet l-UE u li jkunu impenjati lejn dinjità umana għal kulħadd, sussidjarjetà u impenn attiv taċ-ċittadini.

Il-familji u d-demografija jeħtieġ li jitpoġġew fiċ-ċentru tal-politika Ewropea, speċjalment familji żgħażagħ. Aħna neħtieġu MEPs li jippromwovu u jipproteġu l-ħajja mill-konċepiment sat-tmiem naturali tagħha, li jindirizzaw il-bżonnijiet tal-aktar persuni fqar u vulnerabbli, u li jaħdmu favur kultura ta’ ekoloġija integrali. Aħna rridu wkoll MEPs li jaħdmu favur sforz ġdid biex jinstabu soluzzjonijiet effettivi u komuni dwar il-migrazzjoni, l-ażil, l-integrazzjoni u d-demografija”.

Jiena nqis ruhi politiku lajk u sekulari li jemmen li għandu jkun hemm separazzjoni netta bejn politika u reliġjon.

Madankollu, meta naqra l-punti tagħkom elenkati hawn fuq kwazi nissorprendi ruħi kif naqbel magħhom fit-totalita’. Dan ifisser li meta wieħed iħares lejn il-ġid komuni ftit ikun hemm differenza bejn lajċi u kattoliċi.

Għalhekk, jiena nafferma bil-miftuh li fil-grupp politiku Ewropew li nassoċja ruħi miegħu naħdem biex jitwettqu l-għanjiet hawn fuq imsemmija, inkluzi dawk il-ftit li l-maġġoranza tal-grupp li jien nappartjeni għalih ma tkunx taqbel magħhom.

Infatti, il-hsieb tiegħi hu li nifforma parti mill-Grupp tal-Hodor, bħala Indipendenti, bil-kundizzjoni maqbula mill-bidu li fuq kwistjonijiet ta’ kuxjenza (ez. abort; surrogaċy) jien inkun liberu li naħdem u naġixxi skont il-kuxjenza u l-fehmiet tiegħi, indipendentement mill-fehmiet u mir-rieda tal-maġġoranza tal-grupp.

Godfrey Farrugia – F’isem il-PD

Grazzi ferm ta’ dokument.

Il-PD hu mibni fuq il-valuri Maltin u Ewropej. Inkomplu nahdmu biex insahhuhom.

Felix Busuttil – PL

Grazzi ħafna tal-kuntat li għamiltu miegħi. Jien ġej minn sfond Kattoliku qawwi. Jien stess għal sentejn kelli intenzjonijiet serji li insir qaddej ta ‘ Alla u nixtieq li hekk nibqa. Fin-nuqasijiet u d-dubji tiegħi, għandi fidi qawwija fil-umanità u nixtieq nara lil Alla jerġa jipoġġa fir-realita tal-politika. Jiena nikkonferma il-manifest tiegħkom u nixtieq biss l-imħabba, ir-rispett, id-dinjità u l-ħajja għal kulħadd.

Żommu l-ħidma tajba

Peter Agius – PN

Naprezza ħafna li kellimtuna u li ħadtu din l-inizjattiva li fil-fehma tiegħi tati kontribut oriġinali għal kif nistgħu napplikaw il-valuri nsara fil-politika fuq livell Ewropew.

Naqbel bla riserva mat-12 il-valur li xtarrejt fid-dettall. Naprezza wkoll il-perspettiva applikata anke filkaz tal-edukazzjoni tat-tfal u d-digitalizzazzjoni li ċert li ser ituna sfida akbar fil-gejjieni.

Nemmen ukoll li jehtieg nimbuttaw b’aktar sahha l-applikazzjoni tal-artikolu 17 dwar il-liberta tal-kuxjenza b’mod attiv u mhux biss passiv.

Naħseb i importnait li jkollna politiċi li jagħmluha ċarali huma ispirati u gwidati mill-valuri nsara fil-politika. Dan għamiltu ċar anke fil-punti ta’ prijorita’ (qed insejħilhom riżultati) tal-programm tiegħi jekk niġi elett.

Il-manifest

Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa, Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew 25ta’ Mejju 2019

Premiere in Malta of the documentary ‘Benedict XVI, in Honor of the Truth’, CAK Conference Hall, 1 June 2019 at 7.00 pm.

 

Saturday, 1st June 2019, Rome Reports in collaboration with Catholic Voices Malta and CAK will be airing the documentary ‘Benedict XVI, in Honor of the Truth’.

The 48-minute documentary seeks to answer the question in many people’s mind as to why Pope Benedict XVI resignation five years ago, the first Pope to present his resignation in 700 years. Was it the coming to the fore of the sexual abuse cases by priests or the butler stealing the Pope’s confidential documents?

Rome Reports seeks to answer this question through the study of documents held by the Vatican archives and a series of interviews with people close to Ratzinger and witnessed closely the most significant moments in the life of the pontiff’. These include Ratzinger’s brother, Georg Ratzinger; the former spokesman of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi, and other close collaborators, such as Cardinal Cristoph Schönborn and his assistant Stephen Horn.

The documentary will be part of a Cineform that will be followed by a round table discussion with Antonio Olivié the director of the documentary; Alessandra Dee Crespo the chancellor of the Regional Appeal Tribunal, Luca Caruso, biographer and the director of Communications of the Ratzinger Foundation and André P. De Battista, a political researcher and columnist. An interview with Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna who worked closely with both Pope Benedict will also be aired during the forum.

The documentary was produced by Rome Reports an independent television agency, in collaboration with TV2000, the Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation, and sponsored by the Ramón Tallaj Ureña Foundation. It has versions in Italian, Spanish and English and has been distributed in more than 10 countries.

The Cineform will be held at the CAK Conference Hall, Sommier Street, Birkirkara on the 1 June 2019 at 7.00 pm.