Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

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Something is not quite right

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Someone must have spiked our water. No doubt about it.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I’m convinced that someone must have spiked our water with some funny substance that forces us to behave like nincompoops who have been drugged with a substance more powerful than cocaine and magic mushrooms put together.

Why anyone would do such a thing is still a mystery to me, but something has been going awfully wrong these past few weeks – even by the standards of The Zone Where Normal Things Don’t Happen Very Often!

I first started suspecting that things are not quite right when there was an uproar against the bishops’ declaration that those living in permanent sin should not receive communion. As you are VERY well aware, I am no supporter of any organised religion but in this case the bishops are right. Morality is all about the choices we make, and unmarried people who have sex with each other are no exception. It is their choice to lead that lifestyle. It is their choice to live together. It is their choice to have sex with each other. These choices are not congruent with the Catholic doctrine, and therefore – by Catholic standards – these people are living in a permanent state of sin. Now the Catholic Church teaches that in order to receive communion, one should have a clean conscience. Since humans are sinners by nature, Catholics must be aware of their wrongdoings,  repent and confess their sins to cleanse their souls before receiving “the body of Christ”. A powerful statement indeed.

So this essentially means that if someone is living out of wedlock, she or he must realise that she or he is living in sin, repent, confess and ditch that lifestyle once and for all. Clearly, this is not possible for anyone living with a sexual partner out of the Catholic wedlock. How can two people who choose to live together out of Catholic wedlock claim to repent from their sins on a weekly basis, ask for forgiveness, receive communion, and go back home to their partner? This makes a whole mockery both out of confession and communion – two bastions of the Catholic religion.

Religion is a way of life. If you feel that the teachings of your religion don’t make sense to you and your personal circumstances, then all you have to do is leave that religion. It’s easy. Unless you’re living in some extremist Islamic Theocracy, no one is going to kill you if you do it. I did it myself, and so can anyone else.

In a strange way, this is similar to the educational grants blunder. We cannot expect to defy the rules (even though in this case it was a genuine oversight – but the fact of the matter is that an important rule was not respected) and still claim the prize. Once the rules are broken, the players are disqualified. This is the reality in the real world.

When the dust on the communion saga started to settle, our dear Prime Minister made a conscious and a bold statement by visiting the Cana movement accompanied by his wife and claiming that the government’s policy is to promote a society based on a stable family. BRAVO. Which government doesn’t want to promote a society based on strong families?

The message he wanted to convey is very clear: he does not and will not support the introduction of divorce – even though he claimed that he welcomes a discussion on the subject. We can discuss divorce till we’re blue in the face, but that’s where the buck stops.

The objective of divorce is not to save a shattered marriage. It never was, and never will be. Divorce is a mechanism to give another opportunity to those people who were unfortunate enough to go through the harsh experience of a marital breakdown. The irony is that the introduction of divorce will make it possible for these people to re-marry thus creating more stable families; so if our politicians were REALLY in favour of stable families, the House would approve a divorce bill unanimously.

Just a footnote: the subject of re-marrying brings me back to the first point. Couples who were married, got divorced, and married someone else are STILL living in permanent sin according to Catholic teachings. So divorcees will still be barred from receiving communion. This is , once again, very obvious to me but given the uproar a few weeks ago, I feel that I need to include this disclaimer.

As time went by, the funny substance in our water system was clearly leaving its mark. Cue Dr Adrian Vassallo  and Dr Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici in the Parliamentary version of Dum and Dumber. Dr Vassallo got all worked up because some of our hotels are screening porn movies on their tv screens as part of their pay per view packages. On his part, the Justice Minister replied that the Police is investigating these cases. I bloody well hope that the Minister’s reply is not a serious one, and that he just blurted something out instead of asking Dr Vassallo if he really meant what he said in the PQ or whether this was just a sad, silly practical joke done in bad taste.

As if this wasn’t enough to spice up our dull news pages,  Dr Vassallo notched his mission to takes us back to the middle ages a bit higher. A few days following his ludicrous PQ, he went on record stating that he’d rather rot in the streets of Iran defending his religion than living in a country where . . . horror of horrors . . . porn is screened in hotels. Do I actually need to comment on this?

This whole saga led to another unusual occurrence: a positive news delivered by MaltaToday. Today’s edition of this newspaper carried an interview with Dr Vassallo where he claimed that he won’t be contesting the general elections again. Hurray. Some sense at last.

Is the effect of the funny substance wearing off?

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Written by mickeymalta

13/06/2010 at 23:35

Double standards are divisive

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You see? JC and Muhammed are friends

First of all I would like to apologise for the hiatus but I am flat out and snowed under at work. My new boss is a slave driver and I’ve been literally working 16 hours a day for these past 2 weeks.

Now that I got this out of the system, I can finally start to vent my frustrations again. As early as last Month, Comedy Central censored an episode of South Park because it mocked the Prophet Muhammed. Now this is bad, and it’s not the mockery of Muhammed I’m talking about, but the censorship. I believe that people should be free to make fun of symbols and leaders – be they political or religious – and I don’t agree with censorship on the basis that the humour may offend others.

I’m sure that any kind of joke on any subject is bound to offend someone at some point. The fish breeders association, for instance, may be offended by someone who links fish with stupidity because of their short term memory loss. This is the way I see it: if you feel offended by something you’re watching on TV, change channel. If you are offended by something that someone said during a live show in a theatre, walk out. You are actually free to do so.

I can never come to terms with the idea that some people want to stop others from doing what they do because the patronising idiots don’t like the other performer’s work. Get a life.

Having said that, I am completely allergic to double standards. So the same Comedy Central TV station that censored the South Park episode less than a month ago is now working on an animated series based on Christ. I’m no fan of any religion, but if South Park was censored on the basis of religion, why are they making a whole series to mock JC?

The Western world tends to be more tolerant than the Muslim world, and many people in the West think that it is OK to mock religion while the same cannot be said of the Muslim world. However, Comedy Central have now set a precedent and they should be consistent.

It is precisely this kind of behaviour from fellow Westerners that is fomenting religious divisions in different societies. Just because Muslims are VERY vociferous and dogmatic they should not get a special treatment. Comedy Central needs to have a clear policy on religious mockery. It should decide whether this is acceptable (and I agree it is), or not. Applying double standards is unjust and, ultimately, divisive.

Written by mickeymalta

08/05/2010 at 10:47

The theocracy where ‘normal’ things don’t happen very often

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Hahahaha. They didn’t question me.

It-Torca:

Interrogati għax esprimew fehemthom dwar il-Papa

What did you exactly mean by "freedom of speech?"

Il-Pulizija żammet u nterrogat persuni li fl-aħħar sigħat esprimew ħsibijiet ta’ kritika fil-konfront tal-Papa Benedittu XVI.

F’każ ieħor li jhedded il-libertà tal-espres sjoni, dawn il-persuni kienu miżmuma f’ċella, għal ftit sigħat, qabel imbagħad kienu interrogati.

Il-pulizija wissew lil dawn il-persuni dwar il-messaġġi tagħhom fuq in-network soċjali facebook. Liema messaġġi l-uffiċjali tal-Korp iddeskrivew bħala “antagonisti”.

Fost il-persuni nterrogati kien hemm min tkellem dwar l-aħħar każi ta’ abbuż sesswali fi ħdan il-Knisja.

Ma kinux wieħed u t-tnejn li esprimew id-diżappunt tagħhom għal mod kif il-knisja taħt it-tmexxija tal-aħħar żewġ Papiet imxiet f’dawn il-każi.

Intant wieħed mill-kummenti li l-pulizija ġabret persuna dwarhom, fejn saħansitra marret tfittxu f’daru u fuq il-post tax-xogħol, kien jgħid li l-“papa huwa kriminal u li għandu jgħaddi ġuri f’qorti ċivili.”

Jidher li l-kumment ta’ dan l-individwu huwa mnebbah mill-argumenti li għamel il-korrispondent tal-ġurnal influwenti Ingliż The Guardian, Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins stqarr li minkejja li l-Papa Benedittu XVI ma kienx wieħed mill-qassisin li abbużaw mit-tfal, il-Papa għandu jwieġeb bħala l-Kap tal-Knisja.

Huwa appella biex meta jżur l-Ingilterra ikun arrestat u jekk huwa innoċenti għandu jipprova dan fil-qorti.

Dawkins iżid isemmi l-każi li għalihom irid lill-Papa iwieġeb.

Anke jekk huma ħafna dawk li ma jaqblux mal-argumenti ta’ Dawkins, inkluż fl-Ingilterra, huwa la kien arrestat u lanqas interrogat mill-Pulizija, kif ġara f’Malta fl-aħħar sigħat.

It-TORĊA ppruvat tieħu l-kummenti tal-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija John Rizzo dwar dawn il-każ.

Minkejja dan kull attentat biex nagħmlu kuntatt miegħu sfuma fix-xejn.

F’intervista li ppubblikajna nhar il-Ħadd li għadda, Rizzo qal li l-pulizija għandha tara li kulħadd josserva l-liġi u jekk għandu jsir xi tibdil fil-liġi għandu jsir mil-leġiżlatur.

Written by mickeymalta

19/04/2010 at 23:15

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The Telegraph:

Pope falls asleep during mass

Pope Benedict XVI briefly nodded off in front of tens of thousands of people during an outdoor mass in Malta’s capital, Valletta.

By Nick Squires in Valletta
Published: 8:09PM BST 18 Apr 2010

Sleeping beauty

The Pope slumped forward around halfway through the mass, which was held just outside the historic stone walls encircling the city.

He had to be roused by the Vatican’s master of ceremonies, Bishop Guido Marini, who was sitting next to him and gently nudged him.

“It was just for a few seconds,” said an onlooker. “He slumped forward onto his chest.”

Although the pontiff spent only 26 hours in Malta after flying in from Rome on Saturday, he had a busy and tiring schedule of events – meeting dignitaries and Malta’s president, waving to crowds from his “Pope-mobile” and expressing his sorrow to a group of sex abuse victims.

But his apparent exhaustion is also a reflection of his age – he turned 83 on Friday.

The Vatican announced recently that the Pope will not take his usual holiday in northern Italy this summer because officials do not want to over-tax him.

His health is generally good but he takes medication for a cardiovascular condition and last summer slipped and fell in his bedroom.

The Vatican had to allay fears over the his health in December after it was announced that he would celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve two hours earlier than normal.

The decision was taken in order to “alleviate a little the Pope’s tiredness”, said the Vatican’s official spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.

Written by mickeymalta

19/04/2010 at 23:03

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Hunters shoot at anything. Period

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Live and let live

I can’t understand why hunters get offended when we say that they shoot anything that moves. I guess that the truth hurts. Now that they can’t shoot birds in Spring, some of them are aiming their guns at different targets.

Someone shot at a cart in Manikata last Saturday, and it turns out that this was being used by Birdlife volunteers. I wonder who. Hmmmmmmmmmmm, Let me think. Elementary my dear Lino. If this poor car was moving, I would understand that the self-fulfilling prophecy must have got the better of some hunters (remember, they shoot at anything that moves). But this car was parked, for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t even moving or flying!

I guess that we have to update the saying to: hunters shoot at anything. Period.

Written by mickeymalta

19/04/2010 at 09:10

Mass on Facebook

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I will attract youngsters to me thanks to this trendy attire

The smiling bishop has just claimed that “The Catholic Church should examine itself and its methods of evangelisation” according to The Times. I guess that this means that we will be flooded with Facebook churches and “bible reading of the day” tweets.

Obviously, the Church needs to choose a medium that is a one way communication vehicle. No matter how much the Catholic Church talks about changing times, it has to keep preaching and talking down to its followers. It has no other option because it’s a religion. It is promoting a product full of logical fallacies, superstition and fantasy; and blind faith is the only reason why people don’t question and challenge their beliefs. The minute that dogma is challenged, the very existence of the organisation is threatened. That’s why Religions have to resort to indoctrination as opposed to teaching – even though they claim otherwise.

When you teach something to someone, you reason it out, discuss it with the learner, let him or her challenge your claims, and reach a conclusion. For very obvious reasons, no religion can ever adopt this approach. Otherwise there will be chaos together with a whole myriad of mixed messages coming out from different people.  For this reason, no religion can be ‘modern’ and appealing to an intelligent society.

It’s also funny to see the head of Rocker Curia coming up with this assertion, especially when this is put into the whole context of his previous assertions. Only a few months ago, these same heads were on the brink of hysteria to intimidate and control revellers at the Nadur carnival; when carnival is the reign of anarchy.  The smiling bishop is also that same person who lashed out at secularism during his homily on 8 September 2008.

If the heads of our Curia can’t understand post-modern philosophy – which is now passé, how can they ever think of speaking the language of “modern people”?

Written by mickeymalta

18/04/2010 at 10:34

This is not a Hollywood movie

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It seems that Nazinger is surrounded by cover-ups everywhere he goes

This is a report from today’s The Guardian:

As Pope Benedict XVI flew to Malta yesterday for his first overseas visit since the eruption of the latest clerical abuse scandal to rock the Roman Catholic church, it emerged that new claims were to be made of a cover-up operation to clear him of responsibility.

A report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel, to be published tomorrow, will say that a former aide was put under “heavy” pressure to take the blame for an abuse scandal in the pope’s former archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1980, while the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was archbishop, a priest known to be a paedophile was accepted into the archdiocese and, instead of being given therapy as planned, he was swiftly assigned to parish duties.

After the case was brought to light by the New York Times last month, Benedict’s former vicar-general in Munich, Gerhard Gruber, accepted “full responsibility” for the decision.

According to Der Spiegel, citing sources very close to the 81-year-old prelate, Gruber received a string of telephone calls in which church officials “begged” him to take the blame. After he agreed, he was sent a fax containing the statement that he eventually issued, the weekly will say. The priest, Father Peter Hullermann, went on to commit an offence involving a boy for which he was tried and convicted.

In Spain, meanwhile, it was reported that a cardinal who congratulated a French bishop on not reporting a paedophile abbot said he had cleared his message of congratulations with the late pope, John Paul II. La Verdad, a newspaper in the southern city of Murcia, said that Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos told a press conference in the city on Friday that he wrote a letter to the bishop “after consulting the pope and showing it to him”.

The cardinal added that the late pontiff “authorised me to send the letter to all the bishops in the world and put it on the internet”.

The pope flew out of Rome after receiving an unexpected and unconditional endorsement from Silvio Berlusconi’s government. In greetings sent to the pontiff on his 83rd birthday on Friday, the Italian government blamed the scandal on an “unspeakable campaign of slander against the church and the pope”.

The statement was one of several indications that Benedict’s supporters were shifting from defence to attack in their run-up to the fifth anniversary of the start of his papacy tomorrow.

A junior minister at the Italian ministry of culture, Francesco Giro, was joined by six other members of parliament and numerous regional, provincial and local councillors in a special prayer service for the pope yesterday in Rome.

Critics and supporters alike will be watching to see if Benedict uses his visit to Malta to comment on the continuing scandal and meet local abuse victims.

Some 2,000 police and military have been deployed by the government to ensure the pope’s security during his two-day visit to the island where St Paul is believed to have been welcomed after a shipwreck on his way to Rome. Tradition has it that he landed on Malta 1,950 years ago, and last night Benedict was due to pray at the grotto where, according to tradition, the apostle took refuge.

Written by mickeymalta

18/04/2010 at 09:46