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.
“Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa”
Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew 25 ta’ Mejju 2019
Ispirati mid-dikjarazzjoni tal-Isqfijiet Ewropej “Nibnu mill-ġdid il-komunità fl-Ewropa”, il-Moviment ta’ Kana, Catholic Voices Malta u l-Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi qed jipproponu dan il-Manifest ta’ 12-il prinċipju gwida għal votanti Kattoliċi fl-għażla tal-kandidati ta’ preferenza tagħhom għall-elezzjonijiet tal-Parlament Ewropew li ġejjin. Aħna nappellaw ukoll liċ-ċittadini biex jinvolvu ruħhom f’dan il-proċess politiku importanti u jużaw il-ħsieb profond tagħhom meta jivvutaw fl-elezzjoni Ewropea 2019.
L-elezzjonijiet tal-Parlament Ewropew mhumiex elezzjonijiet lokali iżda elezzjoni Ewropeja. Mhux vot ta’ fiduċja fil-Partit fil-Gvern jew xi Partit fl-Oppożizzjoni. Il-vot tagħna se jmur għal kandidati individwali, partiti politiċi lokali iżda wkoll gruppi politiċi Ewropej li se jifformulaw il-valur, il-policies u l-azzjonijiet Ewropej.
Bħala ċittadini aħna mitluba nagħmlu dixxerniment dwar kif
• il-kandidati li qed nivvutaw għalihom,
• il-partit politiku lokali li se jirrappreżenaw, u
• il-grupp politiku Ewropew li se jkunu parti minnu
fil-manifest elettorali tagħhom jirriflettu l-valuri u l-policies li nixtiequ naraw fil-bini tal-Unjoni Ewropea ta’ għada.
Aħna imħeġġin li ma naqgħux fit-tentazzjoni ta’ partiġjanniżmu insulari, jew li nivvuttaw biss għal partit mingħajr ma naħsbu fuq l-għażla tal-kandidat. Aħna neleġġu individwi li se jirrappreżentaw partiti, iżda aktar minn hekk, jirrappreżentaw lilna u l-valuri tagħna. Aħna għalhekk inħeġġu lill-votanti tagħna biex jeżerċitaw id-drittijiet tagħhom u jistaqsu x’inhi l-pożizzjoni tal-kandidati fuq dawn it-12-il tema importanti li se jiddefinixxu l-impenn personali tagħhom fuq livell Ewropew la darba jiġu eletti.
Aħna għandna l-obbligu wkoll li nħarsu lejn il-manifest elettorali tal-Gruppi Parlamentari Ewropej rispettivi u niżnu l-għażliet tagħhom fil-konfront tal-valuri u l-policies li nixtiequ naraw jitwettqu.
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.
Dr. Arthur Galea Salamone President Moviment ta’ Kana, Tonio Fenech – Koordinatur Catholic Voices Malta u Daniel Darmanin President Kummissjoni għall-Ġustizzja u l-Paċi
“Nerġgħu nibnu l-komunità fl-Ewropa”
Manifest għall-Elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew 25 ta’ Mejju 2019
Jien inħaddan dawn il-prinċipji fundamentali li ġejjin li se jiggwidaw l-azzjonijiet u d-deċiżjonijiet politiċi tiegħi la niġi elett fil-Parlament Ewropew.
Dinjità umana għal kulħadd
Id-dinjità umana hi xi ħaġa li ma tistax tittieħed. Kull persuna għandha valur inkondizzjonali, li jixraqlu rispett kbir u għandu jkun ħieles minn kull tip ta’ skjavitu’, manipulazzjoni u esplojtazzjoni. Jien se nippromwovi għażliet u policies li huma bbażati fuq ir-rispett totali tad-dinjità tal-bniedem.
L-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej għandhom jieħdu passi attivi favur l-involviment personali u kollettiv taċ-ċittadini kollha f’djalogu ta’ vera, kreattiv u rispettuż u jagħmlu l-almu tagħhom biex ma jimponux deċiżjonijiet unilaterali.
L-UE teħtieġ li terġa’ tiskopri l-valuri li kellha meta twaqqfet, l-identità komuni u l-valur tas-solidarjetà, hekk kif tfittex li terġa’ tagħti ħajja lir-rabtiet soċjali li jeżistu bejn u fost il-pajjiżi u l-popli. Jien se naħdem għal UE li tħares il-familji, dawk l-aktar vulnerabbli u l-kulturi.
L-għaqda fid-diversità timplika regoli komuni li jħarsu l-ħarsien leġittimu u l-promozzjoni tal-libertajiet permezz ta’ prattiċi demokratiċi li jsostnu l-kontabilità, it-trasparenza u implimentazzjoni xierqa tas-Saltna tad-Dritt.
Djalogu mal-Knejjes u l-komunitajiet reliġjużi
Skont l-Artikolu 17 tat-Trattat dwar il-Funzjonament tal-Unjoni Ewropea (TFEU), jien se naħdem favur djalogu aktar profond mal-Knejjes u l-komunitajiet reliġjużi.
Iż-żgħażagħ Ewropej għandhom ikollhom rashom mistrieħa u megħjuna biex ikunu f’kundizzjoni li jiffurmaw familja. Regoli u prattiċi favur il-familji għandhom ikunu żviluppati fqu livell tal-UE biex jakkumpanjaw l-iżvilupp integrali uman tal-persuni, familji u komunitajiet. Il-benesseri tal-familja umana hi marbuta ma’ Unjoni li taħdem favur ekonomija bbażata fuq is-suq soċjali. Il-familja għandha tkun il-punt tat-tluq li fuq bażi tiegħu għandhom jinħadmu l-kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol, biex ikun faċilitat il-ħin flimkien fost il-familja u biex jinħoloq bilanċ xieraq bejn il-familji u l-ħajja tax-xogħol.
Id-demografija għandha terġa’ tikseb prominenza fil-politika tal-UE. It-tnaqqis fir-rati ta’ twelid fl-Ewropa għandha tkun indirizzata permezz ta’ inizjattivi konkreti li jibdlu l-andament attwali.
Id-dritt tal-ġenituri li jedukaw lill-uliedhom
Jien nikkommetti ruħi li niżgura li l-UE tipprovdi edukazzjoni xierqa għat-tfal u ż-żgħażagħ tagħna. Fil-programmi kollha tagħha l-UE għandha tirrispetta u tippromwovi d-drittijiet tal-ġenituri li jedukaw lill-uliedhom f’konformità mat-tradizzjonijiet kulturali, morali u reliġjużi tagħhom, skont il-Konvenzjoni tan-NU dwar id-Drittijiet tat-Tfal.
Ir-rispett tal-Ħajja mill-konċepiment sat-tmiem naturali
Jien nikkommetti ruħi li nirrispetta d-dinjità ta’ kull persuna umana, fil-fażijiet kollha tagħha mill-konċepiment sal-mewta naturali. Jien se naħdem biex ninkoraġġixxi policies u l-aqwa prattiċi li jipprovdu attenzjoni speċjali għat-tfal, qabel u wara t-twelid, kif ukoll lill-ommijiet kif ukoll lill-familji adottivi jew dawk li jipprovdu foster care. Nikkometti ruħi li nopponi kull tentattivi ta’ leġislazzjoni Ewropea li timponi l-abort fuq xi Stat Membru jew pajjiżi oħra.
Migrazzjoni, ażil u integrazzjoni
Jien se naħdem favur sforz ġdid biex jinstabu soluzzjonijiet effettivi u komuni dwar il-migrazzjoni, l-ażil, l-integrazzjoni u d-demografija. L-integrazzjoni mhix biss għall-persuni li jidħlu fl-UE, iżda wkoll għall-ċittadini tal-UE li jmorru pajjiżi ieħor li mhux tagħhom. Filwaqt li għandhom japprezzaw t-tħassib mill-aspett ta’ sigurà tal-Istati Membri, dawn is-soluzzjonijiet m’għandhomx ikasbru r-rispett tad-Dinjità Umana. Jien se naħdem favur strateġija b’saħħitha u kreattiva biex jinstab bilanċ xieraq bejn il-ħarsien tad-drittijiet taċ-ċittadini tal-UE, biex tiġi żgurata viabilità demografika u sostenbbiltà kulturali għall-Ewropea, filwaqt li niżguraw li l-migranti jkunu megħjuna u aċċettati.
L-isfidi ambjentali u ekonomiċi ma jistgħux jinfirdu minn xulxin. Ir-raġuni għaliex l-ambjent sejjer lura mhix it-tkabbir tal-popolazzjoni iżda pjuttost il-konsumeriżmu eċċessiv u l-inġustizzji soċjali globali. Il-qerda tal-ambjent taffettwa bl-aktar mod negattiv lill-ifqar persuni. Bħala l-ħlejjaq li għandna r-responsabbiltà li nħarsu l-ħolqien ta’ Alla, aħna nikkommettu lilna nfusna li nippromwovu azzjonijiet li jpoġġu l-umanità u n-natura f’armonija. Jien se nistinka biex nikkontribwixxi għal politika Ewropea li tagħti għażla preferenzjali lill-fqar, solidarjetà lil dawk l-aktar vulnerabbli, il-ġid komuni u responsabbiltà interġenerazzjonali għall-ekoloġija tagħna.
Id-diġitalizazzjoni għas-servizz tal-poplu
Li nieħdu kontroll lura fuq ħajjitna quddiem ir-realtà tad-diġitalizazzjoni timplika deċiżjoni li jwasslu biex l-ekonomija u l-finanzi jservu aħjar lill-persuni, speċjalment l-aktar vulnerabbli. Id-diġitalizazzjoni għandha impatt fuq kulħadd u kull ma nafu (il-futur tax-xogħol, il-ħarsien tad-dejta personali, l-użu differenti tal-inteliġenza artifiċjali). Jien se naħdem favur il-ħolqien ta’ policies li jiżguraw li t-teknoloġiji emerġenti jħarsu ċ-ċentralità tal-persuna umana u biex dawn l-iżviluppi pożittivi jintużaw fi ħdan qafas etiku b’saħħtu.
A manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019
Inspired by the declaration of European Bishops statement “Rebuilding community in Europe”, Cana Movement and Catholic Voices Malta supported by the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Malta propose the following Manifesto of 12 guiding principles that Catholic voters should look for in selecting their preferred candidates for the upcoming European Parliament elections. We also call on all citizens to engage in this important political process and exercise their discernment when voting for the 2019 European elections.
The European Parliament elections are not a local electoral contest but a European one. They should not be perceived as a vote of trust or distrust in a Party in Government or some Party in Opposition. Our vote will be cast for individual candidates, local political parties but also European political groups that will shape Europe’s values, policies and actions.
As citizens we are called to discern the extent to which:
• the candidates we are voting for,
• the local political party they will represent, and
• the European political Group they will form part of
in their manifestos reflect the values and policies that we aspire to see shaping the European Union of tomorrow.
We are also encouraged not to fall into the temptation of inward looking partisanship, or to merely vote for a party without discerning the choice of the candidate. We elect individuals who will represent parties but more importantly, represent us and our values. We therefore encourage voters to exercise their rights and question candidates on these 12 important issues that will define their personal engagement at a European level once elected.
We are also obliged to look at the manifestos of the respective European Parliament Groupings and weigh their choices in line with the values and policies that we would like to see promoted.
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 and protect life from conception to its 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.
Dr. Arthur Galea Salamone – Chairman Cana Movement, Tonio Fenech – Coordinator Catholic Voices Malta and Daniel Darmanin – President Commission for Justice and Peace
“Rebuilding community in Europe”
A manifesto for the European Parliament Election 25th May 2019
I embrace the following fundamental principles that will guide my actions and political decisions once elected to the European Parliament.
Human dignity for all
Human dignity is something that cannot be taken away. Each and every person has unconditional value, worthy of great respect and should be free from any form of slavery, manipulation and exploitation. I will promote options and policies that are shaped by the total respect of human dignity.
European institutions should take active steps to favour the personal and collective engagement of all citizens in a true, creative and respectful dialogue and endeavour not to impose unilateral decisions.
The EU needs to rediscover its founding values, common identity and value of solidarity, as it seeks to revitalise the social links that exist in and amongst countries and peoples. I will work for an EU that is protective of the families, the most vulnerable and of cultures.
Unity in diversity
Unity in diversity implies common rules that account for legitimate protection and promotion of freedoms and liberties through democratic practices that exemplify accountability, transparency and a just application of the Rule of Law.
Dialogue with Churches and religious communities
In line with Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), I will work towards a more meaningful dialogue with Churches and religious communities.
Young Europeans need to feel reassured and supported to be in a condition to form a family. Family-friendly rules and practices should be developed at the EU level to accompany the integral human development of persons, families and communities. The well-being of the human family is linked with a Union that fosters a social market economy. The family should be the starting point from which working conditions are designed, to facilitate family time together and create the right balance between family and working life.
Demography needs to regain prominence in EU policy. The decrease of the European births rates need to be addressed through concrete measures to change current trends.
The right of parents to educate their children
I undertake to ensure that the EU provides the appropriate education for our children and youth. In all its programmes the EU should respect and promote the rights of parents to educate their children in conformity with their cultural, moral and religious traditions, in line with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Respecting life from conception to natural end
I pledge to respect the dignity of every human person, at all its stages, from conception to natural death. I will work towards encouraging policies and best practices that provide special care to all children, before and after birth, and to the mothers as well as foster care families and adoptive families. I pledge to oppose any European legislative attempts to impose abortion on any Member State and other countries.
Migration, asylum and integration
I will work toward a renewed effort to find effective and shared solutions concerning migration, asylum, integration and demography. Integration is a matter not only for people entering the EU, but also for EU citizens moving to a country other than their own. While appreciative of security concerns of member states, these should never trample upon the respect of Human Dignity. I will work towards a bold and creative strategy that seeks the right balance between protecting the rights of EU citizens, ensuring demographic viability and cultural sustainability for Europe, whilst ensuring assistance to and acceptance of migrants.
Environmental and economic challenges are inseparable. The cause of environmental degradation is not population growth but rather extreme consumerism and global social injustice. Environmental degradation effects worst the poorer. As stewards of God’s creation, we commit ourselves to promote actions that place humanity and nature in harmony. I will strive to contribute towards a European policy founded on the preferential option for the poor, solidarity with the more vulnerable, the common good and the intergenerational responsibility for our ecology.
Digitalisation at the service of people
Taking back control of our lives in the face of digitalisation implies decisions to make economy and finance better serve the people, especially the most vulnerable. Digitalisation has an impact on all and everything we know (the future of work, protection of personal data, the multiple uses of artificial intelligence). I will work towards the creation of policies that ensue that new emerging technologies preserve the centrality of the human person and channels these positive developments within a solid ethical framework.
As part of our mission to enable more Catholics to be a relevant voice in society during the months of March and April, Catholic Voices Malta organised a course for four participants keen on being a voice through the written media. The course dealt with issues like the Communication Triangle i.e. distinguishing between audiences, the purpose of the article and the Catholic Voices method of communication; the distinction between editing and revising and learning how to give and receive feedback. The course also focused on writing for effectiveness and exploring different writing strategies and rhetorical devices, identifying the article to respond to and formulating the Catholic Voices Reframe methodology.
The course participants found the course a strong learning experience and we all thank Sandro Spiteri for designing and delivery of the course.
The Vatican today published Pope Francis’s reflection on the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people. The reflection is titled “Christus Vivit” (“Christ Lives”), and is a letter to young people about their place in the Church and a plea to older members of the Church not to stifle the enthusiasm of the young, but to offer gentle guidance when needed.
The Pope describes the life of a young person and the vocation to which God calls each one of them as “holy ground”.
In the document, released April 2, Pope Francis talked about how the sex abuse crisis, a history of sexism and an overly narrow focus on just a handful of moral issues can keep young people away from the Church.
But he also said many young people want to know and understand the teachings of the Church and, despite what many people think, they long for and need times of silent reflection and opportunities to serve their communities.
“A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum,” Pope Francis wrote. “How, then, will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people?”
Young people have a natural desire to improve the life of the church and the world around them, the pope said. If older people in the church will let the young people try, it will keep the church youthful, too.
“Let us ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill,” Pope Francis wrote. “But let us also ask him to free her from another temptation: that of thinking she is young because she accepts everything the world offers her, thinking that she is renewed because she sets her message aside and acts like everybody else.”
The core of the Pope’s message to young people was that they remember they are loved by God and saved by Jesus, who continues to live and act in the world and in their lives.
“His love is so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue,” even when one is angry with God, the Pope said. “He does not get upset if you share your questions with him. He is concerned when you don’t talk to him, when you are not open to dialogue with him.”
Drawing on the final documents from the synod and from a presynod gathering of young people in Rome, Pope Francis urged parishes and dioceses to rethink their young and young adult programs and to make changes based on what young people themselves say they want and need.
“Young people need to be approached with the grammar of love, not by being preached at,” he said. “The language that young people understand is spoken by those who radiate life, by those who are there for them and with them. And those who, for all their limitations and weaknesses, try to live their faith with integrity.”
Directly addressing young people, he said, “Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetized or approach the world like tourists. Make a ruckus!”
And, he told them, reach out to other young people, do not be afraid to mention Jesus and to invite friends to church or a church-sponsored activity.
“With the same love that Christ pours out on us,” the Pope said, “we can love him in turn and share his love with others in the hope that they too will take their place in the community of friendship he established.”
Youth ministry cannot be elitist or focused only on the teens and young adults already active in the Church’s life, he said. It must be “a process that is gradual, respectful, patient, hopeful, tireless and compassionate,” as Jesus was when he walked with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Parents, pastors and spiritual guides must have “the ability to discern pathways where others only see walls, to recognize potential where others see only peril. That is how God the Father see things; he knows how to cherish and nurture the seeds of goodness sown in the hearts of the young.”
“Each young person’s heart should thus be considered ‘holy ground,’ a bearer of seeds of divine life, before which we must ‘take off our shoes’ in order to draw near and enter more deeply into the mystery.”
A long section of the document is focused on discerning one’s vocation, which, he said, always is a call to serve God and serve others, but always in a unique way.
Discovering one’s vocation, he said, “has to do with finding our true selves in the light of God and letting our lives flourish and bear fruit.”
For most young people that will mean marrying, forming a family and working, the Pope said.
“Within the vocation to marriage we should acknowledge and appreciate that ‘sexuality, sex, is a gift from God. It is not taboo. It is a gift from God, a gift the Lord gives us,'” he wrote. Sexuality “has two purposes: to love and to generate life. It is passion, passionate love. True love is passionate. Love between a man and a woman, when it is passionate, always leads to giving life. Always. To give life with body and soul.”
Pope Francis also encouraged young people not to dismiss out of hand the fact that God may be calling them to priesthood or religious life.
God’s call to each person is individual, made-to-measure just for him or her, the pope said, so discovering that call can be done only with calm, silence, prayer and the wise help of someone who truly knows how to listen and ask the right questions.
A vocation, he said, is a gift that “will help you live to the full and become someone who benefits others, someone who leaves a mark in life; it will surely be a gift that will bring you more joy and excitement than anything else in this world. Not because that gift will be rare or extraordinary, but because it will perfectly fit you. It will be a perfect fit for your entire life.”
One can read the Letter by pressing the link hereunder:
Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency – making the Church the safe place it should be
The “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting of Bishops, which will take place in the Vatican, between 21 and 24 February 2019.
Faced with widespread and growing discomfort with revelations of very serious cases of sexual abuse involving members of the clergy, Pope Francis has called a 3-day meeting in the Vatican for Bishops that starts tomorrow the 21st February, 2019. The meeting will discuss the ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church’. The Pope has summoned the highest representatives of the Catholic Church from around the world to give a united response at the universal level. The entire Church must choose to live in solidarity, above all with the victims, with their families and with the ecclesial communities wounded by the scandals. As the Pope has written, ‘If one member suffers, all the members suffer together’. (1 Cor 12:26).
The Church is seeking to send a clear message of its commitment to protect minors, and that this has to be done in a clear and effective manner by the entire community, starting with those in the highest positions of responsibility. More recently, other forms of abuse are coming to light, but all are rooted in the same culture of secrecy, abuse of conscience and abuse of power that are the cancer of clericalism that Pope Francis condemned in his Letter to the People of God issued in August 2018. In it he stated categorically: “to say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to clericalism.” Pope Francis has concretely shown his zero tolerance for abuse by even those in the highest ranks within the Church, most recently by defrocking the ex-Cardinal McCarrick.
Indeed, the theme of the meeting starting tomorrow: ‘Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency’ indicates that the main purpose of the meeting is not to create new procedures, but to undertake a fundamental reform of the quality of leadership in the Church through an internal conversion. In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis asked Catholics to pray for the meeting which he described as “a powerful gesture of pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time.”
The three days of discussion will be devoted to a specific topic: “Responsibility, Accountability, and Transparency”. The 190 participants present in the Vatican Synod Hall will hear three reports a day, three of these by women, and all nine interventions will be followed by a question and answer session. Members of the Organizing Committee will also meet privately with representatives of the victims and survivors’ associations. There will be testimonies from survivors and moments of prayer, at the beginning and end of each day. Pope Francis will open the Meeting with an introductory speech on Thursday morning, and close it on Sunday with a discourse after Mass. A Penitential Liturgy will take place on Saturday afternoon, and will be broadcast live.
Catholic Voices Malta joins Catholic Voices International and indeed, the Universal Church and all people of good will in praying for Pope Francis, our Archbishop Scicluna who is in the team leading the meeting, and all the participating Bishops. This great moment of trail for the Church can be a turning point for its purification.
Information on the Meeting The official website of the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting is www.pbc2019.org and will remain active even after the Meeting is over, as a “tool for developing future initiatives”.
For any questions, information or follow up you can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org
48 NGOs, including Catholic Voices Malta, have voiced their heartfelt disappointment at the fact that no action has yet been taken on the stranded Sea-Watch vessel, with 49 migrants having been abandoned for 18 days. As a united front we have called on the Maltese government to put people before politics and allow the two stranded rescue vessels with 49 migrants onboard to be given shelter in Malta. As NGOs we met in front of Castille and asked for meeting with PM.
A spokesperson for Sea Watch International, the migrant rescue NGO, said earlier in the day that the psychological wellbeing of the migrants on board its vessel is deteriorating. The migrants have been on board the vessel since 22 December.
As NGOs we stood outside the Office of the Prim Minister at Castille and read our message to the Prime Minister, saying that this was indeed a European problem that requires a European solution but that this same argument cannot be employed in abdication of the nation’s responsibility to save lives.
“The duty is not just a legal one but a moral one. What is more important here? To make a political point or to save lives?”
“This is nothing short of tragic and shameful. It can only mean that we have completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of States that supposedly upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity,” Integra Foundation director Maria Pisani said on behalf of all the organisations.
Representatives of the organisation then entered the Prime Minister’s Office in Castille and presented the statement and the request for a meeting with the Prime Minister to one of his spokespersons. They were assured that an answer to their request for a meeting would be given in the coming hours.
Pope Francis on Sunday issued an appeal for effective solidarity by European governments with 49 migrants stranded on two ships which are sheltering from rough seas off Malta. In remarks following the Angelus at St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said: “49 persons rescued from the Mediterranean Sea have been aboard two NGO ships for several days, seeking harbour for disembarkation. I urgently appeal to European leaders to show concrete solidarity with these people.”
The Maltese Bishops Conference i.e. Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea Curmi and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, wrote to the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, urging European bishops to insist with their governments on action to help these stranded migrants.
The letter said, “Ironically, as we Catholics were celebrating the birth of Our Lord who was rejected at birth, a group of 32 migrants was refused shelter by Europe after being rescued at sea off Libya. They have now been out at sea on a rescue vessel for no less than 13 days, only being allowed to enter Maltese territorial waters yesterday, Wednesday 2nd January, to shelter from a storm.
“A second group of 17 migrants rescued by another NGO vessel has been stranded at sea for five days,” the bishops wrote. “One can only imagine the added suffering endured by those men, women and children, whose only ‘fault’ is that of fleeing a cruel environment in hope for a better life, one which respects the human dignity we Catholics and Europeans strongly promote as one of our fundamental values. This situation, which is now in desperate need of action, has prompted us Maltese Bishops to repeatedly appeal to the leaders of our country to express solidarity in a tangible way.”
THE STATEMENT BY THE 48 NGOs READS
PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT
We are appalled beyond words that, after 18 days of negotiations, 49 men, women and children remain stuck on a boat within sight of the Maltese shore.
In spite of countless calls for solidarity, European Member States have not managed to find a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.
This is nothing short of tragic and shameful. It can only mean that we have completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of states that supposedly upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity.
We acknowledge the complex issues this situation raises, and agree that it is a European challenge requiring a European solution. However, this cannot be an excuse to abdicate our own responsibility, as individuals and as a nation, to save lives at any cost. The duty to save lives is not only a legal but also a moral imperative which can never be subjected to political conditions, such as the availability of concrete offers of relocation or the fear of creating a precedent.
At this point, the question we must answer is simple: what is more important, scoring political points, or saving lives?
For us, the undersigned organisations, there can be only one answer: people are more important.
Today we are here to take a stand for life and dignity. We call on Malta to prioritize life and open its doors today.
IN-NIES HUMA IKTAR IMPORTANTI
Ninsabu ixxukjati u bla kliem li, wara 18 il-ġurnata ta’ negozzjati, 49 raġel, mara u tfal għadhom miżmuma fuq dagħjsa ftit il-bogħod mill-art ta’ Malta.
Minkejja talbiet numerużi favur is-solidarjeta’, il-membri ta’ l-Unjoni Ewropea għadhom ma rnexxilhomx isibu soluzzjoni diplomatika għall-impass preżenti.
Din hi sitwazzjoni traġika u tal-mistħija. Ifisser b’mod ċar li tlifna kompletament l-umanita’ tagħna – bħala poplu u bħala Unjoni ta’ stati li suppost jiddefendu l-valuri tas-solidarjeta’, tar-rispett tad-drittijiet umani u tad-dinjita’ umana.
Nifhmu li din is-sitwazzjoni tqajjem kwistjonijiet kumplessi, u naqblu li hija sfida Ewropea li tirrikjedi soluzzjoni Ewropea. Madankollu, ma nistgħux nużaw dawn l-argumenti bħala skuża biex nabdikaw ir-responsabilta’ tagħna, bħala individwi u bħala nazzjon, li nsalvaw il-ħajja akkost ta’ kollox. Id-dmir li nsalvaw il-ħajja m’hijiex biss legali imma wkoll dmir morali li qatt ma jista’ jkun sottomess għall-kondizzjonijiet politiċi, bħad-disponibilita ta’ offerti konkreti ta’ rilokazzjoni jew il-biża li jinħoloq preċedent.
F’dan il-punt, il-mistoqsija li rridu nirrispondu hija din: X’inhu l-iktar importanti, li nagħmlu punt politiku jew insalvaw il-ħajja?
Għalina, l-organizzazzjonijiet firmatarji, hemm biss risposta waħda possibli: in-nies huma iktar importanti.
Illum qegħdin hawn biex nieħdu pożizzjoni favur il-ħajja u d-dinjita’. Nagħmlu appell lil Malta biex nagħtu priorita’ lill-ħajja u niftħu l-bibien tagħna illum.
This statement is being issued by: 1. aditus foundation 2. African Media Association Malta 3. agara foundation 4. Allejanza kontra il-Faqar 5. Allied Rainbow Communities 6. Caritas Malta 7. Catholic Voices 8. Christian Life Community (CLC) Malta 9. Department of Gender Studies, University of Malta 10. Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning, University of Malta 11. Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Malta 12. Department of Youth and Community Studies, University of Malta 13. Drachma LGBT 14. Drachma Parents 15. Fondazzjoni Ejjew Ghandi 16. Integra Foundation 17. International Association for Refugees 18. Isles of the Left 19. Jesuit Refugee Service Malta 20. Kopin 21. Kummissjoni Gustizzja u Paci 22. Kunsill Studenti Universitarji 23. LGBTI+ Gozo 24. Malta Catholic Youth Network 25. Malta Chamber of Psychologists 26. Malta Emigrants’ Commission 27. Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement 28. Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW) 29. Moviment Graffiti 30. Migrants Women’s Association Malta (MWAM) 31. Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, University of Malta 32. Paulo Freire Institute 33. Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta 34. PRISMS 35. Richmond Foundation 36. Salesians of Don Bosco 37. Segretarjat Assistenza Socjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Malta 38. Society of Jesus in Malta 39. Solidarity with Migrants Group 40. SOS Malta 41. Spark 15 42. St Jeanne Antide Foundation 43. Studenti Harsien Socjali (SHS) 44. The Critical Institute 45. Troupe 18:45 46. University of Malta Chaplaincy 47. Victim Support Malta 48. Women’s Rights Foundation
Housing, affordability and poverty are becoming more pressing issues, with increasing signs that Malta’s economy is growing asymmetrically. As a result, many families are being marginalised and impoverished because they cannot afford appropriate housing that allows them to live with dignity. This is not only true for vulnerable family units, but also for young couples planning to form new families.
Catholic Voices Malta organised its first public seminar on this topic. This took the form of a Colloquium that will focused on the effect the rapid rise in housing prices and the impact these are having on social cohesion, social justice and families in Malta.
The Colloqium provided the space for a heathy debate amongst those whose interest is to alleviate the difficulties of families living on the margins of society because of lack of provision of social housing the rapid rise in the cost of affordable housing.
Now you can watch all the event on our website and YouTube channel.
“Why is sex work for women and pleasure for men?” asked Ms Kaysa Wahlberg – Detective Inspector, Head of the Swedish Police Authority’s Human Trafficking Unit.
The message from all the experts speaking in a conference with the theme “Combating Human Trafficking Today – Taking stock of evidence-based research and sharing experiences from Europe” organised by the Association for Equality, the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Malta and Dar Hosea, was for the Government to adopt the Nordic Model in reforming our laws dealing with prostitution.
The message to policy makers was loud and clear, criminalise the pimps and those who seek the services of prostitutes (the Johns) but not the prostitutes who are vulnerable and victims, that need protection and not imprisonment.
The Parliamentary Secretary Hon Julia Farrugia Portelli in introducing the Conference stated that sharing the concerns and the need to protect the vulnerable, was yet not committed to a model and stated that Malta should have its own model.
Many of the speakers emphasised that legalising or regularising prostitution has one outcome increasing the demand for human trafficking as you increase the demand for sexual services. With the intention of reducing crime what has happened in countries like the Netherland and New Zealand, more vulnerable people are forced and trafficked into the so called industry and other related crimes like drug abuse, rape, theft etc. increase.
The solution found by Nordic countries like Sweden was to put the criminal burden and responsibility on the person seeking sex. When you criminalise who is creating demand, that demand will fall and will and thus reduce human trafficking.
It also is a lie that women enter the industry freely, while exceptions always exist, these exceptions should not be used as human shields to justify decriminalisation that effected negatively the remaining vast majority trafficked. Stories and research presented during the Conference by various speakers showed that vulnerable women trafficked into prostitution, are generally women that have been victims themselves of child abuse, were sever poverty and deprivation and other social difficulties. Many times they find themselves forced, coerced and trapped in becoming prostitutes.
Ms Julie Bindel a journalist, broadcaster and writer, author of the book The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth spoke at length on her research in the field and she concludes that “trafficking would not exist if our countries would not have a vibrant sex industry”. Bindle’s appealed to Malta to tackle the men running the industry and adopt the Nordic model and make Malta a no go area for traffickers.
Ms. Helen Burrows UK a moderator in one of the discussions asked how Malta a Catholic country was still lagging behind and in the protection of women trapped in prostitution and had not yet adopted the Nordic Model.
The answer to the question was strangely and unintentionally given by Ms. Kaysa Wahlberg Head of the Swedish Police Authority’s Human Trafficking Unit who stated that Sweden is a moralistic society i.e. the morals of the nation influences legislators. It seems unfortunately this is no longer the case in Malta, where Catholics in Malta have since the divorce referendum campaign been brainwashed to believe that as long as it is ok for others it’s is ok for you, and that today being part of secular society our moral values should not come in the way of whatever is presented as civil rights.
As described in the introduction, liberal Sweden teaches us otherwise, that morals and values should be the guiding principles of any legislation.
See the detailed report of the proceedings in our Blog