Archbishop reinstates divorce campaign figurehead to Ecclesiastical Tribunal

Divorce law campaigner and Labour candidate Deborah Schembri has been readmitted to the Ecclesiastical Tribunal's album after her clients were told by the Curia to look for another lawyer to represent them.

"I am very glad to announce I am once again taking Ecclesiastic Tribunal annulment cases after having bee ngiven the news this morning by His Excellency the Archbishop," Schembri posted on her Facebook profile page. "Thank you for your support throughout this ordeal."

The Labour party expressed its satisfaction on the decision."Dr Schembri was suspended over her activism in the Moviment Iva during the divorce referendum campaign. The ecclesiastical authorities' decision bodes well and is a sign of good will towards unity in Maltese society."

The pro divorce movement’s chairperson Dr Deborah Schembri had her licenciate to represent clients in the Ecclesiastical Tribunal for marriage annulments withdrawn by the Judicial Vicar over her activism to introduce divorce.

Judicial Vicar Mgr Arthur Said Pullicino told MaltaToday he had personally taken the decision to remove Dr Schembri from office, and that this was in line with Canon Law - which regulates the suitability of lawyers to appear for parties in the Ecclesiastical Tribunals.

"I didn't 'remove' her from office. She excluded herself from the very start of the campaign in her public propaganda in favour of the introduction divorce," Said Pullicino said. "Canon law specifies that you must be a catholic and of good repute. As soon as she went public on divorce, I informed her clients that she was not suitable to appear for them."

The Catholic Church had defended the ban on lawyer Deborah Schembri from practising canon law in the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, due to her public activism on the introduction of divorce.

Curia spokesperson Fr Charles Tabone had said the Apostolic Letter Justi Judicis of 1988, specifies that exclusion from the ‘Album’ can be justified in the cases of “those who agree with or are active in associations or movements which promote ways of thinking or acting that are contrary to the faith and the Catholic teachings about morals, or defend proposals and advice about civil order which go against the precepts of natural and Christian law."

The Church had also said that Pope John Paul II's address to the Roman Rota on the 22 January 2002, said that legal workers in the civil field should avoid being personally involved in anything that could imply cooperation towards divorce.

Tabone maintained that the Ecclesiastical Authorities felt justified in making such decisions “because the advocate’s role is not only to defend the interests of his/her client but also to defend the validity of marriage as a life long commitment. Embracing divorce hinders this aspect of the advocate’s mission in the Tribunal.”

More in National
avatar
Int mignun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
avatar
The reality is that Malta has the highest utility bills, the highest unemployed,the highest government debt, the most corrupted government and the lowest paid workers in the Euro zone.Now if you call that a prosperous island then you're really living in coocoo land.
avatar
According to reality the difference between pre 1987 Malta and Malta now is the same as the difference between night and day. From an impoverished totalitarian police state to a prosperous European island.
avatar
And according to you DeMartino 25 years later the light at the end of the tunnel was only a mirage.
avatar
Eluf ivvotaw IVA, b'simpatija ma Dr. Schembri. Kieku ma gietx sospiza, il-probabbilta' hi, ''Rizultat Differenti,''
avatar
Mr.Masu Borg is perfectly right. !981 marks the year when Malta became a dictatorship. But even so, 25 years, a quarter of a century to see the light.....the Maltese are certainly very stupid.
avatar
Sorry Mr.Demartino , but we have been living in darkness since 1987 and not 1981.
avatar
@ Daniel. About time because we have been living in darkness since 1981!
avatar
Awguri u Prosit Dr Schembri il-Knisja terga tindemm mid-dnubiet taghha Jekk il-Knisja vera trid tigbor gieha ghad-dnubiet li ghamlet f'dawn l-ahhar 100 sena, trid tiggieled ghal-haddiem ghaliex il-haddiem li dejjem sostna lil-Knisja finanzjarjament Kien hemm xi pastorali fuq il-faqar li qed jahkem lil-haddiem? Kien hemm xi pastorali fuq il-hela u infiq b'addocc tal-Gvern, fuq id-drittijiet tal-haddiem, fuq id-drittijiet tal-minoranzi ?
avatar
DeMartino if Dr schembri was a pn candidate am sure sooner or later like many of pn candidates and voters would see the light and join our progressive labour party.
avatar
Charles Sammut is perfectly right.
avatar
Ara ma taħsbux li Cremona huwa xi progressiv. Li kien hekk ma kienx iħalli l-ħniżrijiet li saru jsiru fi-kampanja tad-divorzju. Din ta' Deborah Schembri hija biss mossa biex jipprova jtaffi r-reazzjoni kontra l-knisja. Stennew sakemm titfaqqa' kampanja oħra favur xi ħaġa li l-knisja topponi, u terġgħu tarawh kif tassew hu - mexxej ta' knisja reazzjonarja, bla qalb u mimlija ħdura. . Sadattant, prosit, Deborah.
avatar
Proset mill-qalb Debbie ghat-tieni success tieghek fi zmien ftit xhur. Kif jghid il-Malti il-borma fuq tlieta toqghod. Nistennew it-tielet success tieghek fi ftit xhur ohra. Halli lil dawk kollha li kienu fuq in-naha zbaljata li tant ippontifikaw u qablu mal-ewwel decizjoni tat-Tribunal Ekklesjastiku jinfuskaw.
avatar
Matthew Vella, don't take this personally but you need to consult a dictionary, now and then. . If you did you would know that calling Deborah Schembri a "figurehead" is actually an insult.
avatar
Nixtieq naf jien kieku Dott. Schembri kienet kandidata ghall-PN x'kienu jghidu! Kulhadd qed jitlifha l-kredibilita!
avatar
This is really good news and it proves that Archbishop Cremona is doing the difference between the OLD and the NEW church administration. I understand that the church has got it's own rules, but by this move it's doing what it preaches, maybe for the first time here in Malta! I'm sure that there are many from the OLD church administration that are not happy about these changes. Even politicians, first and foremost Eddie Fenech Adami, said that the church should have done more, and maybe according to him, should have introduced the mortal sin in the divorce referendum. But those are things of the past, just like EFA! Congratulations to Dr. Deborah Schembri.
avatar
Luke Camilleri
Bix-xieraq! Dak il-Boycott QATT ma kellu jkun! Id-diskriminazjni mhux fuqek biss kien imma fuq il-Klijenti tieghi insara u ma humhiex! Jien nipretendi li wara din id-decizjoni tal-misthija tal-Boycott tieghk mhux li jitnehha biss imma li jitnehhew il-membri ta' dan it-Tribunal u jinholoq tribunal GDID b'MEMBRI GODDA , B'INQAS MOFFA!
avatar
Ghalhekk illum hadd ma ghadu jaghti kaz ta' hadd!
avatar
Anthony Galea
It is abundantly clear that 'good' is very elastic for the Catholic Church. Any lingering shadow of credibility that the RC might have had, is now completely gone. If Dr Schembri was considered a non-Catholic or a Catholic of ill repute for her stand on divorce, how has this now changed? Or is Canon Law written on latex?
avatar
Well done Deborah.Wonder if the Gozo archbishop has got anything in this
avatar
Micheal Bonanno
@mike. Like your writing.
avatar
@ Mazzun If Deborah is a breath of fresh air your website stincks more than the maghtab landfill.
avatar
Deborah is truly a breath of fresh air. A wind of change. We need many more like her in public life! http://mazzun.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/deborah-zzid-mar-rih-tal-bidla/