On the occasion of the Season of Creation, the Church Environment Commission (KA) wishes to share some thoughts inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’, on the value of Life and the need to respect it in all its aspects. This in a time when many end up accepting fallacies and misconceptions presented in the media, which are nothing but a distortion of reality.
Recognizing the value of life implies the appreciation of the dignity of all forms of life, which stimulates us to acknowledge its vulnerability and do everything possible to protect it. This principle should apply not only when the life of animals and plants/trees is threatened, but also, and particularly, with reference to human life in its very early stages.
During the debates about the very early stages of life, the KA cannot accept rhetoric aimed at eliminating guilt feelings by hiding the truth. It strongly believes that a human being’s rights need to be respected, irrespective of size, stage of growth and development, physical or mental ability and condition of health. In a just and democratic society, everybody’s rights are safeguarded, whether one is an adult or a vulnerable creature who cannot defend itself. In this aspect, the KA fears that if we are not careful, there is the risk that the pharmaceutical and medical industry end up giving priority to economic interests rather than to moral rules and values. One needs to invest more in research that explores methods which would overcome infertility without jeopardizing human dignity.
As to the built environment, the KA sadly notes the fast change our country’s physiognomy is undergoing; Malta has become one huge building site. Despite a lot of talk about sustainability, it seems that the environmental impact of the construction industry is not being given the importance it deserves. The KA feels that it is high time the Planning Authority becomes more proactive with regard to planning rather than occupying its time processing development applications. In this respect, the involvement of Local Councils and consultation with the residents of the locality concerned are indispensable.
True development goes beyond financial gain, and should safeguard the quality of life and dignity of one and all. Genuine developers commit themselves to promote the common good and therefore, among other things, ensure that the workers under their responsibility are treated with dignity. In the light of what Pope Francis says about work, the KA considers as inappropriate the objections raised by the commercial sector in our islands with regard to the minimum wage, maternity leave, the employment of persons with special needs and the restrictions on sick leave benefit.
The KA does not agree with the notion of gauging the progress of our islands by how much they have come to resemble other countries. Unfortunately, any means to reach this end may become justifiable, even the violation of human dignity. Upholding our values and boldly denying any means of human exploitation should be our stance in local and international fora.
The KA believes that Malta should cherish and safeguard those values that have always distinguished it as a nation, and that local, national, regional and global governments should provide the necessary protection to the vulnerable, especially those who are unable to defend themselves because of their social, physical and psychological condition.