Letters: 3 April 2016

Gay marriages: when anything is possible

The civil unions law, despite giving almost all rights as marriage, had at least saved the name “marriage” as being understood as the unity in the diversity of man and woman.

Calling it gay marriage instead of civil unions means reducing marriage to love and commitment. And although marriage involves love and commitment, it certainly involves more than that. This is why we are now witnessing cases stemming from different parts of the world, where three people are asking to get married, like the recent ‘Anna, Lucy, Ben’ case in Australia. If same-sex couples can marry simply for love and commitment, why shouldn’t three people who love each other and are committed to each other enjoy all the benefits of marriage? Once you deviate from man/woman marriage, anything is possible.

The most concerning of all this is definitely the impact such decisions have on children. Granting gay marriage will not only allow gay adoption – which is already in place – but will also give these married people their own children by allowing them to use eggs and sperm from a donor, thereby removing the genetic link from the child.

It is encouraging that as a society we have moved towards greater acceptance not only of gay people but also of recognising love in gay relationships. However, trampling on the needs of children by cutting them from their roots, cannot be tolerated. Stories of donor-conceived children, even those raised in loving families, reveal much hurt and emotional pain which is always very difficult to deal with, and very hard to heal.

Suzanne Vella, Zabbar

Gozo needs animal welfare facility

I write in response to the article ‘Delays in rescuing injured strays increasing Gozo animal deaths’ ( MaltaToday, 27 March, 2016).

Gozo SPCA, which is the voluntary organisation referred to in the article, has been in existence for 40 years and I have been happy to be involved in the society for the last 30 years. I have held several posts over these years and am currently chairman of the society. I am pleased to see the problems of animal welfare in Gozo highlighted in your pages but I would like to clarify some points which might otherwise mislead your readers.

It is true that our rehoming centre in Victoria is small and that we can only house a limited number of dogs to keep within the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. However, our work in picking up sick, injured and vulnerable dogs and cats from the streets of Gozo is quite separate from our centre-based work. It is misleading to suggest that only one person is picking up sick and injured animals in Gozo.

Our Animal Welfare Officer has been seconded to us from his government post since 2002 and a large part of his working day is spent responding to calls from the public about animals needing help. If our Animal Welfare Officer is unavailable then volunteers from the Society will go out to rescue an animal in danger.

One of the vets on Gozo provides a 24-hour cover service and he also has attended to callouts. I would therefore dispute the statement in the article that 75% of injured animals in Gozo end up dying due to the lack of immediate care by a vet.

A number of injured animals, particularly cats, will unfortunately die due to the severity of their injuries but our Animal Welfare Officer responds as quickly as he can and if the animal is alive he takes it to the vet immediately. The support we receive from the vets in Gozo is superb and the care they provide to these animals in need is excellent.

The cost of such emergency care is borne by Gozo SPCA despite an agreement reached last year that such costs would be met by the Animal Welfare Department.    

It is true that over the last three years the situation improved when the Animal Welfare Department seconded a Gozitan worker to be an Animal Welfare representative on Gozo. This person was provided with an ambulance and with the services of one of the vets on Gozo.

However, one person working alone and without the status of Animal Welfare Officer is not sufficient to meet the needs of animal welfare on Gozo. Clearly Gozo is covered by Animal Welfare Regulations in the same way as any other part of Malta and its citizens are entitled to expect the same services as those provided in the main island of Malta.

This will not be a reality on the ground until a fully financed, equipped and staffed Animal Welfare facility is established in Gozo – a requirement which has been conveniently overlooked by successive national administrations. Animal welfare in Gozo cannot be ignored any longer and I look forward to the day when I read in your pages that such a facility is operating successfully in Gozo.

Thank you once again for bringing this problem to light in your newspaper.

Joseph Camilleri, Chairperson Gozo SPCA

God's chemistry

Starting from the premise that we are surrounded by marvels and mysteries, I dare write that the world’s greatest sufferers have produced the most shining examples of unconquerable faith. The greatest Christians in history seem to say that their sufferings ended up bringing them the closest to God.

At the time of the death of God himself on the Cross, nobody saw how anything good could ever result from this tragedy. And yet God foresaw it as the best thing that could happen, not the worst, the opening of heaven to human beings. Mystery of mysteries! But Mr John Guillaumier (Letters, Sunday 27 March 2016) is an agnostic.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?” How can anyone understand God’s proselytisation?” (Romans 11: 33,34) If I quote the apostle Paul, “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope, he would be insensitive to the message – he still doesn’t know faith even exists. Scripture describes God as a hidden God and you have to make an effort of faith to find him. 

That’s why Christians concentrate on one person, who in reality bore the burden of the sins of all humanity – Jesus Christ. Expert testimony constitutes compelling evidence that the risen Christ was who he claimed to be – the one and only Son of God.

The bright intellect, inquisitive mind and grave doubts and scepticism Mr Guillaumier has embraced for so long should buckle under the weight of historical truth, constantly derided by him.

John Azzopardi, Zabbar