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Naivety or a distraction from the real issues?

A few weeks ago, a US-based group calling itself Veri Cattolici bought newspaper space for a full page advert saying that our bishops are unorthodox and are risking eternal damnation.

Over the weekend another far-right and ‘Catholic’ conservative group came out of the woodwork. The self-styled 'Maltese Catholics United for the Faith.' whose members have not identified themselves, said they want to ‘save’ the Catholic faith.

Catholics United for the Faith also exists in the United States. Malta's could be the local branch. Conservatives of the same feather flock together.

The group's target this time was not the bishops but politicians.

The group tarnished everyone with the same brush and said that (all) politicians are corrupt. Not to be outdone by Veri Cattolici the so-called Maltese Catholics United for the Faith also made references to possible eternal damnation. They described our political system as diabolical and appealed to voters to “call the Devil for what he truly is.”

The Archbishop’s Curia very wisely and promptly dissociated itself from the group.

What is irking the self-styled Maltese Catholics United for the Faith is gay marriage. They argue that one should not vote because of this issue. The Archbishop’s Curia was right to take them to task on this one while emphasising everybody’s duty to vote.

When the discussion about civil unions and gay marriage was taking place, I repeatedly declared that I was not in favour of gay marriage, viewing it as a   contradiction in terms. I did not hide under any cover. I do not regret what I wrote. I don't remember any full page adverts by these self-styled latter-day defenders of the faith.

But now the situation is radically different from what it was then.

While the Cattolici Veri and the so-called Catholics United were enjoying their cocktail parties, charging wind-mills, celebrating Mass in Latin or doing whatever they love doing, Parliament voted for a civil union law which is gay marriage in all but name.

The Objects and Reasons of the Bill that the Labour Government voted in clearly stated that: “The underlying principle of this Act is to equate civil unions with marriages in terms of procedure and substance in a manner that guarantees equal rights to parties in a civil union as are granted to spouses in a marriage.”

A more clear declaration than this about same-sex marriage is hard to come by. The present day talk about the legalization of gay marriage implies nothing but a change in the title of the law. Indeed, things should be called by their real name. We should do away with this travesty and call our civil unions gay marriage.

The issues facing the country right now, however, are not the change in the title of a law. The issues are institutional corruption, the undermining of all institutions, the total lack of meritocracy and dearth of good governance. Every other issue is an attempt to divert people’s attention from the focus they should be concentrated on.

I do not know who these Catholics United are. Therefore I cannot say whether their foray is the result of naiveté or a strategic attempt by those who want to muddy the waters and make people forget about the main – if not the only important – issue of this campaign is: corruption and good governance.

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