Mickey Malta

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

Posts Tagged ‘Religion

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?

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

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

God on film

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Oh God! He looks happy. Why is no one talking to him?

It seems that journalists at The Times are consistently failing to do a decent job on week-ends. They failed to follow-up on a story that could answer millions of questions to billions of people; a story that will undoubtedly bring peace and love to the whole world (or floods and pestilence – depending on the main character’s mood). And yet, they do nothing about it.

About an hour ago, The Times updated their website to keep us all informed about the Pope’s visit, and they publish a picture of . . . GOD HIMSELF! There’s no mention of an interview (planned or hastily carried out) with HIM. What is this? Are they afraid that the Pope will be pissed off because he was upstaged by his boss?

Let’s face it. Statistics show that Atheism is the third biggest religion, and God’s presence here on the Rock will definitely put an estimated 1.1 billion people out of their misery. I cannot possibly fathom how our illustrious journalists did nothing about this once-in-a-planet-lifetime event! God reveals himself to us and they ignore him because they’re too busy waiting for the Pope. There are so many questions they could have asked him. They could have also invited him to address the whole world . . . . after Ratzinger’s address, of course.  This is a great opportunity to speak to everyone journalists from all corners of the world will be following Razzie in these next few hours; or shall I say minutes?

But what’s REALLY surprising  is that for the first time in His life, God looks happy. He is ACTUALLY smiling. After decades of drowning people and handing out punishments like Kwiksave gifts, God is finally happy. And he got himself pictured in a miraculous t-shirt with the word “Paulus” written in reverse too!

Written by mickeymalta

17/04/2010 at 16:20

Christopher Hitchens brought me back to my senses

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This guy's boss once said "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself". He took it literally, miskin. Xi tridu jaghmel?

After being shocked by the Luqa Council, I needed a quick fix. So I turned to Christopher Hitchens for a good reality check. I’m reproducing an article he published 4 hours ago in Slate.

We Can’t Let the Pope Decide Who’s a Criminal

Bringing priestly offenders and the church’s enablers to justice.

In 2002, according to devout Catholic columnist Ross Douthat, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke the following words to an audience in Spain: “I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign … to discredit the church.”

On April 10, the New York Times—the apparent center of this “planned campaign”—reprinted a copy of a letter personally signed by Ratzinger in 1985. The letter urged lenience in the case of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, who had tied up and sexually tormented two small boys on church property in California. Kiesle’s superiors had written to Ratzinger’s office in Rome, beseeching him to remove the criminal from the priesthood. The man who is now his holiness the pope was full of urgent moral advice in response. “The good of the Universal Church,” he wrote, should be uppermost in the mind. It should be understood that “particularly regarding the young age” of Father Kiesle, there might be great “detriment” caused “within the community of Christ’s faithful” if he were to be removed. The good father was then aged 38. His victims—not that their tender ages of 11 and 13 seem to have mattered—were children. In the ensuing decades, Kiesle went on to ruin the lives of several more children and was finally jailed by the secular authorities on a felony molestation charge in 2004. All this might have been avoided if he had been handed over to justice right away and if the Oakland diocese had called the police rather than written to the office in Rome where it was Ratzinger’s job to muffle and suppress such distressing questions.

Contrast this to the even more appalling case of the school for deaf children in Wisconsin where the Rev. Lawrence Murphy was allowed unhindered access to more than 200 unusually defenseless victims. Again the same pattern: repeated petitions from the local diocese to have the criminal “unfrocked” (an odd term when you think about it) met with stony indifference from Ratzinger’s tightly run bureaucracy. Finally a begging letter to Ratzinger from the filthy Father Murphy himself, complaining of the frailty of his health and begging to be buried with full priestly honors, in his frock. Which he was. At last, a human plea not falling on deaf ears! (You should pardon the expression.)

So in one case a child rapist escaped judgment and became an enabled reoffender because he was too young. In the next, a child rapist was sheltered after a career of sex torture of disabled children because he was too old! Such compassion.

It must be noted, also, that all the letters from diocese to Ratzinger and from Ratzinger to diocese were concerned only with one question: Can this hurt Holy Mother Church? It was as if the children were irrelevant or inconvenient (as with the case of the raped boys in Ireland forced to sign confidentiality agreements by the man who is still the country’s cardinal). Note, next, that there was a written, enforced, and consistent policy of avoiding contact with the law. And note, finally, that there was a preconceived Ratzinger propaganda program of blaming the press if any of the criminal conduct or obstruction of justice ever became known.

The obscene culmination of this occurred on Good Friday, when the pope sat through a sermon delivered by an underling in which the exposure of his church’s crimes was likened to persecution and even—this was a gorgeous detail—to the pogroms against the Jews. I have never before been accused of taking part in a pogrom or lynching, let alone joining a mob that is led by raped deaf children, but I’m proud to take part in this one.

The keyword is Law. Ever since the church gave refuge to Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston to spare him the inconvenience of answering questions under oath, it has invited the metastasis of this horror. And now the tumor has turned up just where you might have expected—moving from the bosom to the very head of the church. And by what power or right is the fugitive cardinal shielded? Only by the original agreement between Benito Mussolini and the papacy that created the pseudo-state of Vatican City in the Lateran Pact of 1929, Europe’s last remaining monument to the triumph of Fascism. This would be bad enough, except that Ratzinger himself is now exposed as being personally as well as institutionally responsible for obstructing justice and protecting and enabling pederasts.

One should not blame only the church here. Where was American law enforcement during the decades when children were prey? Where was international law while the Vatican became a place of asylum and a source of protection for those who licensed or carried out the predation? Page through any of the reports of child-rape and torture from Ireland, Australia, the United States, Germany—and be aware that there is much worse to come. Where is it written that the Roman Catholic Church is the judge in its own case? Above or beyond the law? Able to use private courts? Allowed to use funds donated by the faithful to pay hush money to the victims or their families?

There are two choices. We can swallow the shame, roll up the First Amendment, and just admit that certain heinous crimes against innocent citizens are private business or are not crimes if they are committed by priests and excused by popes. Or perhaps we can shake off the awful complicity that reports this ongoing crime as a “problem” for the church and not as an outrage to the victims and to the judicial system. Isn’t there one district attorney or state attorney general in America who can decide to represent the children? Nobody in Eric Holder’s vaunted department of no-immunity justice? If not, then other citizens will have to approach the bench. In London, as already reported by the Sunday Times and the Press Association, some experienced human-rights lawyers will be challenging Ratzinger’s right to land in Britain with immunity in September. If he gets away with it, then he gets away with it, and the faithful can be proud of their supreme leader. But this we can promise, now that his own signature has been found on Father Kiesle’s permission to rape: There will be only one subject of conversation until Ratzinger calls off his visit, and only one subject if he decides to try to go through with it. In either event, he will be remembered for only one thing long after he is dead.

Written by mickeymalta

12/04/2010 at 23:30

A rare event indeed

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Ratzinger: the male Bobbit

After they finish reading this, my friends and family will slap themselves to see if they’re dreaming. They will check if they’re still under the effect of a funny cocktail made of magic mushrooms, weed, and Absynth. This is a rare event indeed. I just read this report on The Times Online. I’m gobsmacked. I’m flabbergasted. I’M SPEECHLESS!

Luqa local council has demanded the removal of the ‘monument of shame’ opposite the Lidl supermarket, before the Pope’s visit.

In a statement issued today, Mayor John Schembri said that the council welcomed the fact that Pope Benedict would be going to Luqa.

However, he added, “in the opinion of the council, the Pope’s first visit among us risks being a source of embarrassment to the people of Luqa and the Maltese in general, due to the obscene ‘monument’ which is still dominating the ‘LIDL’ roundabout on one’s entry into the village.”

Mr Schembri said that ever since this parody of artistic expression was erected, the council had never ceased to draw the attention of the central government to the fact that this monument, if indeed it deserved the name, constituted a vulgar insult as well as an arrogant imposition on the people of Luqa.

“On this issue, the Council has already consulted and has the total backing of the ecclesiastical authorities of the village, who have in fact already written to complain about the absurd welcome immediately awaiting the Pope’s arrival at Luqa and have asked for a quick redress of the situation. There can be no doubt that, among the people of Luqa, there is a widespread cross-party consensus that the object placed at the entrance of Luqa is not the most fitting way in which to greet the Pope, especially by what is considered to be the most Catholic country in the world.

“Consequently, the Luqa Local Council is once again launching a firm and heartfelt appeal to Government, and particularly the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Local Councils, to make a timely and mature intervention ordering the removal of this so-called work of art which has been lumped upon the village of Luqa.

“If not out of respect for the residents of Luqa, this intervention is being requested at least as a sign of respect for His Holiness the Pope. This would, in the Council’s opinion, be a fitting conclusion to the current praiseworthy embellishment exercise being carried out in the Pope’s honour across the Maltese Islands.”

Colonna Mediterranea, as the monument is actually called, is the work of Paul Vella Critien and was installed in January 2006. The monumental sculpture was said to be an abstract based on fantasy and the beauty of the Mediterranean colours.

Written by mickeymalta

12/04/2010 at 20:18

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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