University Chaplaincy talk, “divorce is an imposition”

During a talk organised by the University Chaplaincy today, all members of the panel came to the conclusion that divorce “is not the solution” but an “imposition”.

The talk was organised by the University Chaplaincy, where members of the panel took turns in explaining why Malta would not be better off if the divorce legislation is introduced.

The panel was made up of Moviment Zwieg bla Divorzju spokesman Austin Bencini, University lecturer Fr John Avellino and the youth against divorce movement spokesman Benjamin Camilleri.

Bencini reiterated that divorce is not a right, “unless there is consensus in the country to acknowledge it as such.”

He went on to say that according to polls, “the country is divided in two” and that “the vote will not be a decisive one, whether the ‘Yes’ or the ‘No’ wins.” He argued that the referendum in question today, unlike the EU accession one, will be imposed on those who do not want it.

“In 2003, the issue was different. It was a choice between whether we wanted Malta to join the European Union or whether we wanted a partnership. But today, people are being asked to vote for something, which they would not want personally.”

Bencini said “how can one say he is against divorce and not want it in his family, but then wish the harm to someone else? Imposition is when you place a person in dilemma, and this is exactly what is happening."

"If in my conscience I believe divorce is wrong, how can I vote yes?”

Bencini also complained about the hurried manner which the private members’ bill was presented and “the sudden manner in which Parliament decided to go for referendum when it was supposed to be discussing the bill."

Bencini said the voter will be asked to vote about something which heavily lacks information and where no studies were carried out. "I am voting ‘No’ because, if divorce is to be introduced in Malta, it should not be in this way. The politicians have mishandled the issue and we are not prepared.”

University student and member of the ‘Le, b’rispett lejn il-ġejjieni’ movement Benjamin Camilleri said today there is a clear distinction between marriage and cohabitation.

“But divorce will tear away this distinction, and will reduce marriage to a simple contractual agreement,” Camilleri said. “It comes as no surprise that cohabitation increased in the countries where divorce is legalised: people would argue why get married when my partner can just up and leave?”

He added that divorce would be imposed on the party which would not want to get divorced. “Why should a person, who is separated, be forced to divorce if he or she wants to call oneself married?”

Camilleri went on to give an example of how a woman - a housewife - would be at home caring for the house and children whilst her husband is out at work: “If the husband meets a colleague and decides he want to leave his wife for her, why should the state give him the right to do so?”

Camilleri added divorce will not be only imposed on one party, but also on society. “If the husband would not have enough money to maintain both families, it would then be up to the state – society – to help out.”

However, Camilleri said, there might be instances where divorce would be the only solution, “but each case should be handled independently.”

He added that state should contribute in marriage preparation courses and should legislate in favour of the family.

“It should lessen the burdens families are facing. Many do not have time to communicate because they have to work to keep up with taxes, utility bills etc.,” he argued. “Our country is still in time. Our families are strong – let’s see what the real problems are and address them: prevention is better than cure.”

Echoing what has already been said about divorce not being a solution, Fr John Avellino said “it hurts me that we do not learn from other countries’ experiences.”

Avellino was criticising those who argue that statistics of other countries cannot be used to interpret Malta’s situation. He stressed that if they could, those countries who have divorce would give anything to turn back time and try to bring back the stable family they once had.

Avellino argued that whilst those who argue in favour of divorce “as the chance for a new life, they tend to forget the man or woman who has been dumped.”

“How do you think that man or woman who was left behind feels when he or she sees their wife or husband in a new relationship?”

Avellino also criticised the media organisations which took an editorial stand in favour of divorce: “Where is the objectivity of the press to bring the facts to the reader and let him decide? It is a deficit that some of the press have declared themselves against marriage.”

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He argued that the referendum in question today, unlike the EU accession one, will be imposed on those who do not want it. THE EU REFERENDUM WAS ALSO IMPOSED UPON THOSE WHO DID NOT WANT TO JOIN THE EU. IF YOU THE EU AND GONZI REALLY BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY HOLD ANOTHER REFERENDUM TO SEE WHETHER THE PEOPLE STILL WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU OR NOT. University Chaplaincy is run by the Jesuits. With such dark ages lecturers and guardians how can the University ever be on the forefront of modern developments?