A Consultative Referendum regarding the introduction of divorce in our country has just been held. We are issuing this note prior to the announcement of the referendum result. We wish to make this reflection independently from the result of the referendum because our target is not the result, but rather the starting point for the Church’s and the country’s efforts and investment in favour of marriage and the family.
The events of the past weeks reflect a moment in the democratic process during which, rightly so, various people put forward different opinions with regard to what they feel is best for the family in our country. These ideas were expressed by different groups and individuals, including the Church; these ideas were then submitted to a free personal vote.
With reference to those persons from both sides of the camp who played an active role, we wish to convey our regret if anyone may have felt slighted by any words or actions expressed by members of the Church; from our part, we unconditionally forgive all those who may have hurt us. It is now time for each and every one of us to assess, even on a personal basis, whether we may have been a cause of suffering for others.
We feel that during these past days, not enough attention was paid to our message on the necessity to invest more in marriage and the family. We are all in agreement that marriage and the family is the most conducive environment for the benefit of the spouses themselves, their children and ultimately, for the whole of society. We need to translate our worthy desires into ideas, into concrete actions, which may serve as a means of encouragement for our youth to enter marriage with a greater sense of commitment, as well as support them throughout their married life.
The Church has always played its part in doing this with respect to those couples who opt for sacramental marriage. We promise to undertake a profound reflection in order to assess in what ways we can enhance our effforts so that the Christian family will be truly a strong source of love and stability in the life of the Church and of our society. We need to coordinate all the efforts of the Church in order to accompany married couples in their beautiful, yet arduous mission.
We appeal to all members of our society, to all those who were in opposite camps during the referendum, to put forward their suggestions and put into action all their proposals in order that this may come to pass. We need to build an environment which is conducive to marriage and the family, even in the case of sacramental marriage. In a particular way, we feel that our society should support those who are preparing for civil marriage so that they may live their choices responsibly.
As a sign of love and respect to all, we promise that as a Church, we shall do our part. For this we pray.
+ PAWLU CREMONA O.P.
Archbishop of Malta
+ MARIO GRECH
Bishop of Gozo
+ ANNETTO DEPASQUALE
Titular Bishop of Aradi