Children should be used in anti-divorce campaign – Fr Joe Borg

Media studies lecturer Fr Joe Borg suggests tapping of parishes for children from broken marriages who can speak out against divorce.

Media studies lecturer Fr Joe Borg wants to use children – tfal – from broken families as a weapon for the anti-divorce lobby. And the chief executive of the Public Broadcasting Services has admitted to being a ‘gun for hire’ for the divorce referendum campaign, although he has so far rendered his services to the ‘no’ campaign only.

These are some of the revelations from email conversations that strongly hint at the links between the ‘no’ campaign, the Church and the Nationalist Party in the campaign against the introduction of divorce for the 28 May referendum.

In the emails, seen by MaltaToday, Fr Joe Borg – a media guru to the Church but also an adviser to government – communicates with stock exchange chairman Arthur Galea Salomone and the no campaign’s chairman Andre Camilleri.

Fr Borg is suggesting that parish chaplains forward them a list of separated couples and children from broken marriages to speak “intelligently” against a law on divorce.

But Borg claims he is not referring to minors. In comments to MaltaToday, Borg said it’s important to give a voice to those “more vulnerable” to know what they think of the proposed divorce legislation.

“This is why I advised the participation of separated couples as well as their sons and daughters… I wrote they should be able to talk intelligently against divorce legislation, thus the word ‘tfal’ is used in the same way I use it when I say that ‘my brother and I, although of a certain age, are children of our parents.”

“I could not have been referring to minors as they cannot be reasonable expected to intelligently discuss the proposed legislation. I do believe, however, that we have to find a way of listening to children (even minors) as they are innocent victims.”

Borg told MaltaToday that even Labour MP Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca quoted studies that find children of divorce “at far greater risk for a host of ills than their peers from intact families.”

A lecturer on media ethics, Borg makes his suggestion to Galea Salomone, in an email discussing the stock exchange chairman’s forthcoming meeting with parish priests. Borg also suggests that Galea Salomone makes it clear that the ‘no’ movements expects the Church’s involvement “without making crusades or creating panic”, and to use the bishops’ pastoral note and the position paper issued by Borg and six other leading clergymen.

The position paper, which Borg says is approved by Archbishop Paul Cremona as “part of the Church’s position” recommends Christians to vote for or against divorce using “an informed conscience” above everything else. But a recent sermon by Gozo bishop Mario Grech made a veiled reference to this position paper when he claimed that conscience was “not dictated by theologians.”

Borg also tells Galea Salomone to ask the parish priests for “funds, and not just meaningless words but a serious contribution, parish by parish...”

Telling him to speak to them “clearly and strongly”, Borg suggests that parishes print two pamphlets against divorce to be delivered to each household, and to tap parishioners who own halls and such buildings that can be used by the ‘no’ movement.

In his contribution, Andre Camilleri also suggests that the chaplains understand that “Christians and citizens” cannot vote in favour of divorce. In yet another confirmation of the religious motivation behind Camilleri’s and his movement’s rationale against divorce, the deputy chairman of the financial services authority says: “Christians and citizens cannot believe one way in the Church, and another way outside it. They must understand what’s best for society, and exercise their right of expression, association, and vote in a way that conforms with their understanding.”

Anton Attard, on his part, has declared with MaltaToday that he is “not an active member in any movement. I was invited for one meeting which I attended.”

Likewise, he stated, he would attend any meeting by the pro divorce movement “should I be invited”.

Attard led the PN’s media campaign in the 2008 elections and today is the PBS chief executive. He was invited to a meeting with the ‘no’ movement over the organisation of a big sing-along stunt in the same way the PN had organised for the 2003 EU referendum and later for the 2008 elections.

According to the emails, Fr Joe Borg turns down a suggestion by Pierre Cordina – the radio deejay and husband of Mireille Bonello, who together provide the ‘no’ movement’s star anti-divorce couple – to use Julie and Ludwig’s song ‘Intensity’.

Borg turns down the song on the grounds that the YouTube video for the song only has 116 views, and suggests that Anton Attard organises a group of willing singers to join the ‘no’ bandwagon.

“This song wasn’t exactly successful,” Borg tells Camilleri and Arthur Galea Salomone. “It’s not even easy on the ear. Hard to sing or hum. I suggest we make a new one, in Maltese and sung by various singers who agree with the movement’s position. I suggest we speak to Anton to see if he can do this job.”

Galea Salomone chips in, saying that having a chorus of singers would provide ‘public endorsement’ and improve the movement’s public positioning.

Additional reporting by Nestor Laiviera

More in Divorce Referendum
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Luke Camilleri
Shouldn't the Data Protection Commissioner and the Children's Commissioner see any infringment and abuse of data protection and children with such statements taken from e-amil by Fr. Joe Borg or is Fr. Joe Borg another untouchable? ------------------------------- For the attention of Data Protection and Children's Commissioner: Fr Borg is suggesting that parish chaplains forward them a list of separated couples and children from broken marriages to speak “intelligently” against a law on divorce
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Luke Camilleri
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)
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Fr Joe qal li kellu jighd outright pero it tfal diga QED JIGU UZATI FIL VERU SENSE TAL KELLMA fill mistoqsijja proposta ghad divorce!
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Jiena nahseb li rid jighd il Father u li it tfal ghandom ikunu involuti ghax fuq kollox parti mil familia li l iktar ser jintlaqtu! il mistoqsijja fuq id divorce diga qeda tikonferma li it tfal ser jigu milqutiejn u effetwatti u li nigarantixxu mantiniment its a HOAX! fil fat fill bill propost jighd hekk! "70 (7) On divorce being pronounced, the court shall on the demand of either or both of the spouses, decide on an adequate maintenance for them and the dependent members of their family, according to the following sub-articles:" U din allura dan divorce propost brisponsabilta? meta il futur u linteresi ta tfal jiigu decisi wara li jinata id divorce???? bara min hekk fill bill propost it tfal dejjem msemijien wara linteresi tal spouses! ghalek naqbel mal fr Joe
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Biex tasal tghid li it-tfal ghandhom ikunu involuti fil-kampanja kontra id-divorzju irid ikollok wiccek il veru tost u vili. Li kieku dan il kliem qalu xi hadd lajk forsi tqisu ta' li hu,izda li tigi int,qassis li bl'arroganza kollha tissugerixxi dan ma hemmx fejn il vilta tieghek tasal aktar. Ma kienx bizzejjed li abbuzajtu minn tfal fdati taht il kustodu taghkhom,tridu tkomplu timmanipulawlhom u tikkorrompulhom mohhom. Imisskom tisthu int u qassisin li jahsbuha bhalek. Tkunux VILI aktar.
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Fr Joe Borg can Say and do what he likes and thinks but Fr Marc Montebello No and was exiled from Malta. Fr Joe Borg shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Oqod Kwiet
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Ma tithajjarx tispicca l-kampanja bit-talba tal-fidili? Trid tkun veru fidil biex temmnek. X'qed jaghmel il-kummissarju tad-data protection?
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Keith Goodlip
yes Mr Borg, do what the Catholic church does best- abuse children.
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This is what married couples who want to separate do - USE THE CHILDREN AS A WEAPON! Of all the people in Malta you are the least who should speak about divorce for you have no practical experience whatsoever in marriage as you only got theory which is nothing compared to experience. But as usual you are the Mr. knows all man!
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You use children for other things too.
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I cannot understand what this issue has to do with religion. Divorce is a civil act which will disolve a civil contract. Since the church does not recognise civil marriage how can it be against a civil divorce? Being so actively against divorce, the church is by implication recognising civil marriage. Or does the church want the cake and also wants to eat it, ie. No recognition of civil marriage and no civil divorce. Am I making any sense? This goes being the Divorce issue. This is about freedom, as a Christian I believe that God created me FREE, meaning free to think, free to act and free to choose. For this purpose, God, in his infinate wisdom and infinate love endowed me with a brain. In this respect, no Bishop or Arcbishop or any Pope for that matter, least of all no two bit PN priest or PN Christian businessman is going to impose on me his believes. He or they have rights and I have mine. In otherwards I choose how to live my life and whether I finish in heaven or hell, it will be on my decision. IT IS NOBODY'S BUSNINESS BUT MINE. WHAT DOES THE B...DY CHAIRMAN OF THE STOCK EXCHANGE A PERSON BORN NOT WITH SILVER SPOON IN HIS MOUTH BUT A WHOLE SILVER SERVICE KNOW HOW US COMMON FOLK LIVE. IF HE WANTS TO BE A SAINT OR LIVE CHRISTIAN VALUES, HE SHOULD GO TO BRAZIL AND WORK IN THE FAVELS. OR HOP ON TO AFRICA AND SPONSOR A COUPLE OF AIDS CLINCS.
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MHUX BIZZEJJED LI ABBUZAJTU MIT-TFAL F'HAFNA PAJJIZI MAD-DINJA KOLLA. ISSA VERA JRID JKOLLOK WICC TA' MA NAFX XHIEX SABIEX TASAL GHAL DAN IS-SUGGERIMENT. JEW FORSI TRID TAGHMILHA TAL-HERO BHAL DAK IL-BRAVU HUK LI HA XAHREJN LEAVE GHAL DIN IL-KROCJATA. INT SKOP WIEHED GHANDEK LI L-PN UL-KNISJA LI HUMA HAGA WAHDA JIBQAW JIRRENJAW BILLI JBEZGHU BIL-BABAW KIF KIEN GHAMEL IZ-ZIJU TA' GONZIPN. U WARA IL-KNISJA SKUSAT RUHHA MINN GHEMILHA. JEKK GHANDEK BOCCI TAL-LAHAM IRRISPONDI DIN IL-MISTOQSIJA LI SE NAGHMILLEK. JEKK INT TITLEF IL-VOKAZZJONI TA' QASSIS X'TAGHMEL WARA ? KUN RAGEL U RRISPONDINI. JEKK LE QED TIKKONVINCINI SABIEX NIVVOTA IVA.
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Luke Camilleri
Will the Archbishop and the Children's Commissioner care to comment on the abuse of children in the referendum campaign for Divorce? I find it OBSCENE! Let the children be children and not a means to an end and to exploit and abuse!
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Reuben Sciberras
Well father Borg the church and its priests have always found various ways how to use children(especially boys). Have you know shame? So is this the example how true christianity shoul be? By using people and lying on everything and about everything as long as the church keeps its hold on the people. You are definetly not the true representatives of Christ. I will surely not be voting PN this time round, with your help they are taking away our freedoms.
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well if the No campaign will bring children over 18 years of age of seperated couples to speak against divorce, the yes campaign can do the same. i am sure the No campaign will choose from the parish locals, they will chose some who are against divorce law, so the yes can choose soem who are in favour of divorce. What marriage it is, or why sons or daughters don't want their parents to divorce? it depends on the seperation case, every case is different. for example, a woman seperated and is with another man, and thye have new kids. so how about that? and the children from the previous marriage , why they should be against divorce? X oh look our mother have made another baby but not with our father with another man, so ?and you still say that the first marriage is stil valid? That is so ridicolous. son speaks to his father, "dad mother has a baby but not from you from the new man she is living with". and than no to divorce? ridicolous
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duncan abela
If it was possible we should start by asking children living in marriages from hell, in single parent households and those who are the offspring of annulled marriages how they feels about their unfortunate circumstances. These unfortunate and traumatic situations already exist and would serve as a benchmark against which to measure whether the situation would be worse for offspring in divorced families. What children want is continue to be loved by both parents whatever unfortunate circumstances kills their parents' relationship. It is not divorce which poisons and inflicts traumas in children but the fact that estranged couples stop behaving civilly and use their children to hurt the other party once a relationship ends by whatever name we call it. However it is a pity that Joe Borg did not come up earlier with this methodology in encouraging through the parishes abused children of whatever age to speak out so that we could understand better the trauma endured by those who suffered whether in dysfuctional marriage setups or in Church institutions . Certainly the trauma in their case is much worse .
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Luke Camilleri
U hallina Father Borg, u t-tfal hallihom fl-innocenza taghhom! Jekkghandhekk il-veru interesstat-tfal ghamel naqra pressjoniha jiehdu kumpens dawk it-tfal abbuzati mill-kleru! Ghadhom issafru l-AIDA!
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Let the chilldren away of this issue.We (you) cannot put words in our kids mouth, the only reason that I (we) can see for using children is just to gain ground for our's or your's opnion or other genios tatics that are obvios. When we come for such an issue there are human beings that want to USE everything and everybody at all costs ,no matter whats the value and no matter who are you.If we can use children in the referendum why we dont let them vote aswell ,I know that it does not make sence, for me but, it does not make either sence that youngsters who have or it seem to have a future infront of them dont let them give thier SAY and my grandma who is 95(god bless her) can go and deternemine others future!
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Fr Joe Borg knows that if he ever decides he does not want to be a priest any more (although Holy Orders are as much of a sacrament as marriage is) he can leave and even get married - as others have don. But he wants to deny others the same right. Bloody hypocrite
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Zack Depasquale
Iktar ma din il-kwalita ta qassisin jindahlu f'affarijiet li ma jissahomx, iktar jikkonvincuni li l ghazla li ghamilt jien ta atteizmu hija l-ahjar ghazla ghaliha. Dawn misshom ikunu cari ghaliex ma jridux divorzju u qieghdin jiggieldu daqshekk kontrieh, jekk sejjrin jghidu fuq it-tasghlim ta Krist imisshom jafu ukoll li it-taghlim ta'Kristu kien 2000 sena ilu, u dak li kien jghodd ghyal 2000 sena ilu m'ghadux jghodd ghal-llum. Sacerdot x'hin jiddejaq jinza is-sutana u jizzewweg imma jien mizzewweg ma nistax naghmel hekk, ghax dawn is-sinjuri ghandhom hajja mizzewga ferriehija. Mill-banda l-ohra l-anqas nimmagina ma rrid dawn in-nies x sejjrin jaghmlu f'ellezjoni generali biex dejjem jibqghu ippapuwa tajjeb.
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chris caruana turner
Qedin sew, kif alla jridna. Mela meta il familja titkisser, dawn il persuni, li wiehed irid jghid li huma vera tar-ruh, qed jissugerixxu din id diska bhala mod kif jimmotivaw ruhom u jsolvu il problemi? Aktar min hekk, qed jissugerixxu li it tfal, li tant ikunu qed ibatu minhabba din il firda, jigu uzati biex juru id diffikultajiet ta din il familja. U jien nistaqsi, fejn huma is soluzzjonijiet? Zgur mhux dawn li qed jipproponu dawn ic carlatani. Kif jista jkun li il knisja taqa daqshekk fil baxx u turi l inkapacita li tghin lil familji li ghaddejin min problemi bhal dawn. Ejja nghidu li habba it talim taghha il knisja qatt ma tista taqbel mad divorzju. Imma allura ghax ma thallix lil gvern jagixxi b mod onest mac cittadini u jipprovdi soluzzjoni? Il probabilta hi li il knisja ghanda x titlef mil latt finanzjarju, habba li in nies li qed ikollom ihabtu il bieb tal kurja jitolbu annullament, jonqsu bl introduzzjoni tad divorzju.
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Of all people this "priest"? After all what does this guy know about marriage??? People like him have interest to keep the current establishment (i.e. government) in place...and not the family interest!
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CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE USED IS THIS DEBATE,IS THIS PERSON GOING OUT OF MIND??
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Is this the same one of 'Malta is burning' fame? If there is a priest who loves meddling in political affairs then this is the one. But he goes on unchecked by the local Curia as if he is God's sent to Malta! Shame on him!