Mickey Malta

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

Posts Tagged ‘Divorce

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

Arabs with shoes on

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National sport: a Rocker looking down on an Arab from his high horse

I really think that it’s ironic how Rockers tend to look down from their high horse on the Arab and Muslim world. Many Rockers regard both Arabs and Muslims as a bunch of people stuck in a time warp thousands of years away from  us. And they are right.

Now, for the record, I’m being generous here. Some Rockers can’t fathom the reality that there are many different cultures within the Arab world: that it’s not just one big country called Arabia. Worse still, many more don’t even regard them as humans at all.

The irony is that they fail to see the reality that our European cousins look at us in the same way we look at the Muslim/Arab world. The absence of divorce and our Quaker approach to abortion project a Neanderthal image in our cousins’ eyes. So the moral of the story is: before you start berating your cousins down south, keep in mind that we are to our cousins up north what the Muslims/Arabs are to us. An English friend of mine defines the Rockers as “Arabs with shoes on.”

These last few days I couldn’t help myself pointing out to those who were shocked and expressing their dismay at the Dubai incident that that this is a classical case of the pot calling the kettle black. It’s true that this incident an extreme case, but let’s not forget that the absence of civil rights and liberties here is equally shocking to countries that are more secular – and by consequence – more advanced: both economically and intellectually.

The common denominator between the two realities (us and them Arabs) is . . . . . surprise, surprise: Religion. I’m not going to go into how religions keep people backwards. I think that I made my case during lent, l and I don’t want to sound like a broken record.

Ironically, many Rockers jump at every opportunity to tell the Arabs how backwards they are whenever they interact with them. Yet, at the same time, these same people get all worked up and defensive whenever they are – rightly so – told that this Rock is still stuck in the 17th century. They retaliate by invoking foreign interference and by telling the foreigners to mind their own business.

I guess that some people are in a dire need of a reality check.

Written by mickeymalta

07/04/2010 at 16:46

Daily entertainment – courtesy of The Bible

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Judging by this assertion, the vast majority of today's marriages are . . . invalid

This is a Catholic country – the Constitution says so – therefore we shall follow The Bible. Since The Bible is “the word of God” we shall all live by it and obey its rules. Judging by the following text, we should be in for some interesting daily entertainment in the village misrah, and the expression “let’s get stoned” is going to assume a new meaning:

Deuteronomy 22: 13 If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the girl’s father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. 16 The girl’s father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver [b] and give them to the girl’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

30 A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonor his father’s bed.

20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, 27 for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. [c] He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

I’ll order a truckload of stones, and then I’ll head off to il-misrah . . . . .

Written by mickeymalta

19/03/2010 at 15:29

Just give us concrete proposals . . . . not fluffy titles

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I'm progressive . . . . even my t-shirt says it

Joseph Muscat is constantly harping about this new movement for progressives and moderates, but to me it seems to be millions of light years away what is considered as being normal in the developed world.

A cursory look at the co-pilot is enough. Anglu Farrugia is the embodiment of anything that is diametrically opposed to progressive AND moderate. He’s an ex long serving cop (can cops ever strike anyone as being moderate or progressive?) and, worse still, he was on the forefront in the Force during the dreadful Mintoff / KMB years. And how can we forget his shenanigans immediately after the electoral was announced in the last election? His reaction was puerile for want of a better word.

The same applies to Alex Sceberras Trigona. His long flirtations with totalitarian regimes in the dreadful ’80s don’t exactly make him an eligible candidate for Mr Progressive or the Nobel Prize for Moderate people.

So if he really wants to gain credibility, Muscat has no other option but to produce a Jason Micallef sequel and replace Farrugia with a decent and truly moderate chap like Gavin Gulia. Ditto for  Sceberras Trigona who has to be replaced by someone who is truly moderate and has no skeletons in the closet.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. That’s just the beginning. Political parties and movements are all about policy. I is the movement’s policy that dictates whether it is truly progressive, not slogans  and self flattery.  Unless Joe Muscat comes up with concrete proposals to be implemented when in government, then this movement is as virtual as my avatar in Second Life.

If Muscat really wants to lead the progressives to the promised land, it is fair to expect that the electoral manifesto in a few years’ time would include the following proposals:

  • the introduction of divorce (a concrete proposal instead of his current gimmick )
  • a legislation in favour of same gender marriages – the formation of a LGBT group is not enough to eradicate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; it’s yet another empyu gimmick
  • the total abolition of censorship on any form of art
  • the total abolition of archaic laws regulating political and religious satire, and carnival attire
  • a legislation that regulates prostitution so as to protect the prostitutes from their pimps, and their clients from an increased risk of STDs
  • the total removal of censorship on media on the basis that whoever wants to broadcast  and/or distribute pornographic material can do so through dedicated channels with the necessary parental control and anti-paedophile procedures in place
  • a law that allows private establishments to apply for special licenses that will make it possible for them to operate as strip clubs – at the moment we have a typical Rocker watered down version of these clubs and it is absolutely ridiculous
  • the decriminalisation of possession of soft drugs for personal use
  • a law that allows for abortion to take place in the following cases: rape; where there is strong scientific evidence that the baby will be born in a vegetative state; where complications caused by the pregnancy endanger the mother’s life
  • the removal of any restrictions on shop opening hours; if the owner of the grocer shop  down the road wants to operate his business on a 24 x 7 basis, then he should be allowed to do so

By the standards of our European cousins, most of the above points are not progressive at all. If anything, they’re moderately progressive. They’re akin to our big achievement of freedom of speech in 1987 when the whole of the developed world had been enjoying this right for decades.

I can write reams about each and every point mentioned above to explain and justify how it is high time to give the inhabitants of this rock a push towards normality. The claim that EU membership is not a la carte should not only be applied to economic principles. There’s a social dimension to it, as it has a direct impact on the way we lead our lives.

It is so easy to come up with slogans and to give yourself fancy titles. I can call myself superman, but that won’t give me the faculty to fly at the speed of light. The essence lies in actions not words.

Written by mickeymalta

23/02/2010 at 14:22

Living happily ever after

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Our politicains' approach on family breakdowns

Our politicains' approach on family breakdowns

A round of applause for the Today Public Policy Institute for approaching the divorce issue in a very pragmatic manner.

I haven’t seen the report myself, but according to the news report in The Times, it does not only make a case for the introduction of divorce legislation, but it also suggests that this will be based on the Irish model. Incidentally, this means that it will be harder to get a divorce then to get annulment today. Therefore anyone who is concerned about that divorce “opening the floodgates” can rest assured that there are good safeguards to prevent this from happening.

The think tank’s proposal coincides with my suggestion last Wednesday’s where I wrote that “…… instead of discussing whether or not to introduce divorce, it would be wiser to discuss the grounds upon which divorce should be granted……”

The changes that our society has gone through in these last 20 years brought about certain realities that cannot keep on being ignored. In fact, this report also revealed that failed marriages increased by a staggering 160% between 1995 and 2005.There are a number of reasons why marriages fail, and each and every case has its own specifics. However the fact of the matter is that marital breakdowns are on the rise, and the effects of this need to be addressed sooner rather than later. As we’ve seen last Thursday, one of the effects of the absence of divorce is an increasing number of children born outside wedlock. These children are sometimes referred to as “illegitimate”.

At the moment, we have new forms of families and this is creating total chaos in our social fabric. This is a situation that needs to be tackled ASAP, and any politician who insults us with the usual rhetoric about ensuring that marriages last forever should be sent to a reality check.

The objective of divorce is not to fix broken marriages. Divorce is the effect of a broken marriage so anyone who links the divorce issue with the State’s obligation to encourage long lasting marriages is completely and utterly misguided. One good thing about divorce, and which is incidentally always omitted by the marriage-for-life parade, is that it could lead to a new marriage in the future. Thanks to divorce, those who may have been unlucky or who may have made the wrong decision at an earlier stage in life will have a second chance. This fixation with forcing people who hate each other’s guts to live together – especially if they have kids – is completely wrong.

If a couple-that-is-no-more has kids, they should leave each other for the sake of the kids as this would spare them of countless shenanigans, insults and other kinds of abuse. Needless to say, one happy parent is better than two angry ones.  And what kind of message do parents who sleep in separate rooms – not separate beds, but separate rooms – give to their children?

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other anecdotes that ‘family members’ have to face on a daily basis. Like any other relationship, when a marriage is over and beyond reconciliation, then the best thing to do is shake hands and agree to go separate ways.

We have been told so many times that the time is not ripe for divorce legislation to be considered. When is it going to be the right time? Is it when the official marital breakdown rate hits 50%?

Written by mickeymalta

16/05/2009 at 15:47

NO to a referendum on divorce

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An example of non-partisan messages in Ireland, 1995

An example of non-partisan messages in Ireland, 1995

Claudette Abela Baldacchino wrote a letter to The Times yesterday calling for a referendum on divorce. While I am pleased to see that the number of politicians arguing in favour of divorce legislation is on the increase, I don’t know why they seem to be unwilling to take responsibility for this much needed civil right.

Jeseph Muscat is promising a parliamentary debate followed by a free vote, and Claudette Abela Baldacchino is calling for a referendum. As she put it “we have a moral obligation to respect and support those who live in non-traditional family units. This is a question fundamentally based on the notion of the respect of the individual person and one’s fundamental human rights.”

One may argue that some countries introduced divorce by means of a popular vote. True, but Italy held the divorce referendum 35 years ago, and Ireland held a number of referenda until the YES vote won in 1995. The realities in these two countries are completely different to ours. Italy was already a secular state in 1976 and Ireland is more cosmopolitan than this island. The separation of powers in Ireland is much clearer than it is here. Hence, we’re not comparing apples with apples.

The MEP candidate suggested a “non-partisan referendum wherein both sides of the debate can put forward their views and leave it in the hands of the people to decide on divorce legislation”. Even if all political parties will agree to stay out of this debate, it will be dominated by the church and its army of chest thumping splinter groups, namely the Charismatic and Neocathecumenal movements, the Legion of Mary the MUSEM, and others. I will bet my head that they will be promising eternal damnation for those who vote YES. Needless to say, the priests will have a field day on the pulpits. If there is one thing that the Catholic religion is surely good at, it must be guilt feelings. This is the right platform for the Monsignieurs to excel in what they can do best.

Anyone who followed the divorce debates on all the different local media throughout these past 10 years or so can point out one single common argument in the NO camp: the religious argument. Many people quote the bible’s claim that “what god has joined together, let no man put asunder”. This is completely out of point. Divorce is a civil issue and therefore any reference to religion should be left out completely. Adultery is a perfect example of how ridiculous this argument is.

Adultery goes against god’s law as stipulated specifically by the 9th commandment. Yet, in this country, it is not illegal (although it was until the mid 1970s). I’m sure that many people would agree that if we had to make adultery illegal again, it would be ridiculous and unacceptable in today’s society (this would be akin to Sharia law, and incidentally Rockers look at Muslims as being so backward because of this law). The same can be said on the absence of divorce. Its absence in today’s social reality is as ridiculous as the enactment of adultery law in today’s society, and for the same reasons.

I am drawing these parallel examples to illustrate the fact that issues concerning civil law should be debated on social bases only. I would love to point out further arguments on the issue of god-glued marriages, but then I would be going off at a tangent. I’ll point them out some other time.

Back to the issue of a referendum on divorce. Marital breakdown and its consequences are a personal issue, not a national one. Therefore it would not be fair to leave the fate of those who are in need of divorce legislation in the hands of those who don’t give a hoot about the issue.

The last time we were called upon to voice our opinion in a referendum was about a national issue. EU membership is a bread and butter issue for all the people who live on this rock, and for future generations who will inhibit it.

In my humble opinion, instead of discussing whether or not to introduce divorce, it would be wiser to discuss the grounds upon which divorce should be granted. This kind of discussion should be led by politicians, social workers, and family law experts, and the former should not shy away of their duties and responsibilities towards the people they were elected to represent.

Politicians have procrastinated enough on this issue, and the victims of their lack of courage are the same people who voted them in. It is their responsibility to legislate, and in this case they should not pass the buck on. A politician’s gotta do what a politician’s gotta do.

Written by mickeymalta

13/05/2009 at 22:39

It’s already too BLOODY late

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I’m shocked at Raphael Vella’s report in today’s MaltaToday. Unfortunately, I can’t past the hyperlink here as their site is still showing last week’s edition.

So, back to Raphael’s report. Apparently last week Minister John Dalli claimed that the time is not ripe for a debate on divorce. I read this statement at least 10 times and I asked Minnie to pinch me and kick me where it hurts most to make sure that I’m not relapsing on yesterday’s alcohol intake. I also checked my ash tray to check whether it was a cigarette I smoked this morning, and not a spliff.

When will the time be ripe for a discussion on divorce, dear Minister? Will it be when our marital breakdown rate will rocket to 80% or 90%? Will it be when our bishops give the green light; which in that case will be: never? Can the government be more irresponsible? We elect politicians to LEAD not to follow.

The irony is that the Minister’s statment coincided with Anjem Choudary’s (an Islamic hate preacher in the UK) claim that owning Street should adopt Sharia Law. Many Rockers look down on Muslims because of thier fundamentalism. The reality is that we are closer to Iran then we are to continental Europe when it comes to state/religion affairs.

Take a closer look at your REAL Prime Minister

Take a closer look at your REAL Prime Minister

There’s one other thing I need to check. Did we actually join the EU or did we actually sign an integration agreement with ONLY one state within the Union? Can someone please check whether the Vatican lists Malta as its member state?

Written by mickeymalta

29/03/2009 at 10:55