The bold stance by the Maltese Church to protect every human life especially the unborn
Presently in the Maltese parliament an amendment is being discussed which, if it will be approved, will consequently introduce abortion to Malta. As we know Malta, together with Andorra in our European continent, abortion is totally prohibited.
Bishops Mgr. Charles J. Scicluna and Mgr. Joseph Galea-Curmi of the archdiocese of Malta and Mgr. Anton Teuma of the diocese of Gozo, were very clear in their response. In the Pastoral Note they sent to be read in all masses celebrated over the weekend of December 3 and December 4, they unanimously affirmed science itself tells us that there is a human being who is living in the womb.
When we speak of caring for life from the first moment of conception, and of the respect towards the dignity of this life that has started, we do not speak in this way because our faith tells us that there is human life from conception, or because the Church tells us so. It is science that tells us this. Even a scan of the baby in the womb shows the gradual development of the human life when the baby has not yet been born. In the womb there is someone, not something. What faith tell us is to cherish this life that has started because every life is a gift of God.
The bishops did not mince their words in showing the legal loopholes of the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment does not only speak of a situation in which a mother is in danger of dying because of her pregnancy. We know that when there is this sort of danger, doctors always try to save the mother and the baby, and when they are not successful in saving both of them, they save the mother. Whenever this has happened over the years, legal problems were never created for the mothers or the doctors. There was no need for the law to be changed for the mother to be saved were she in danger of dying. However, the proposed amendment introduces something new. It also speaks of situations in which it is not the mother’s life that is in danger, but her health, and proposes that health can be safeguarded by killing a new human life. This means abortion.
Our bishops really care for us and our children since they are opening our eyes in order not to find ourselves in the same situation many countries of the world are in because they have opened their doors to abortion. They wrote: The experience of a number of countries shows that abortion was introduced precisely because of the use of this word ‘health’, as is being proposed in the amendment. This is a very serious matter. We know that when health requires treatment, every type of treatment necessary should be given, and when the mother needs help, she should be given all the support that she needs. However, a human life should not be killed to safeguard somebody’s health. When respect for the dignity of the baby in the womb is denied, the foundation of respect for the dignity of each human being – including that of the woman and the professional – is destroyed.
In front of the introduction of abortion to Malta we, people of faith and good will, cannot remain silent. With our bishops and in the words they wrote in the Pastoral Note, we wish to express our wholehearted appeal for our voice to be heard clearly in favour of the protection of life at each of its moments – from the first moment of conception to its natural end, and at each of its moments. We also make a special appeal to those who bear the great responsibility of taking a decision regarding the amendment, so that their choice will be in favour of life and not in favour of death.
To clearly convey the message to our parliament representatives tomorrow, Sunday 4 December 2022, at 3.00 pm. there will be a march in favour of human life in all its different phases. The march is being held by the Life Network Foundation in collaboration with Doctors for Life and I See Life. The Maltese Church is backing this manifestation. It will start from the Auberge de Castille’s Square. All the parishes were invited to organize transport for all those who want to attend.
Adding to this the Bishops of Malta and Gozo, on Thursday 1 December 2022, sent a letter to the members of the Parliament of Malta regarding the amendment proposed concerning the termination of pregnancy. Here is the text which was also sent to the Maltese members of parliament:
We wish to express our profound concern, shared by many others, over the contents of Bill no. 28 of 2022 which, if approved by Parliament as proposed, will permit abortion to take place in Malta.
According to official statements, this amendment’s origins lie in the desire to enshrine into law that no criminal action would be taken against a doctor or mother should a baby in the womb die as a result of a medical intervention performed by a doctor with the intention of saving the life of the mother.
In reality, saving the mother’s life has always been the acknowledged priority when it has not proved possible to also save an unborn child’s life and no criminal proceedings have ever been instituted against either a doctor or mother when this unfortunate predicament has arisen.
However, not only is this amendment unnecessary, but it also opens up the possibility to terminate the life of a child even when the mother’s life is not in danger because it permits an abortion to take place when the mother is at risk of suffering from a health condition that is not life threatening.
As shown in other countries, introducing a risk to health into the law facilitates terminations on a spurious pretext. It is abortion. Nothing more, nothing less. We view this as an extremely serious and retrograde development.
Where a health condition requires treatment, we should do all we can to ensure that treatment is administered; when the mother is in difficulty of one sort or another, we should do all we can to ensure she is provided with whatever support and help she requires. However, terminating the life of another to safeguard someone’s health must never be an option.
The crux of this matter does not lie in verbal assurances but in the text of the Bill. And the text of this Bill facilitates abortion in no uncertain terms and, to make matters even worse, does so right up to the point of birth.
A new life comes into being at the moment of conception. In the mother’s womb resides a human being, not an object that can be simply discarded or destroyed. Our heartfelt appeal to you is to recognise the great responsibility you have on your shoulders to protect the weak and vulnerable; and to preserve life, not destroy it.
We pray that you will recognise the importance and implications of the choice before you and urge you in the strongest possible terms to choose life instead of death.
✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
✠ Anton Teuma
Bishop of Gozo
✠ Joseph Galea-Curmi
Let us pray and work so that abortion will not just never be introduced in Malta but also be eradicated in all the countries of the world. Pope Francis’ words, which we Maltese had the grace of welcoming just seven months ago, are crystal clear in his 30-minute press conference during the flight from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, to Rome, on September 15, 2021:
… The problem of abortion. Abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder. Abortion, without hinting: whoever performs an abortion kills. You take any embryology textbook of those students that study in medical school. At the third week of conception, at the third, many times before the mother notices, all the organs are already there. All of them. Even the DNA. […]
It’s a human life, period. This human life must be respected. This principle is so clear. And to those who can’t understand it I would ask two questions: Is it right, is it fair, to kill a human life to solve a problem? Scientifically it is a human life. Second question: Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? I said this publicly […] when I did, I said it to COPE, I have wanted to repeat it. And period. Don’t continue with strange discussions: Scientifically it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? This is why the Church is so strict on this issue because accepting this is kind of like accepting daily murder.
With Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI let us pray for the unborn:
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.
Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.
Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity. Amen.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap