Although strictly speaking divorce has nothing to do with married priesthood, we feel the duty to comment on such a big change on our islands! Well well well! People sometimes don’t believe in changes yet changes occur. Many readers don’t believe that the Pope might ever call for married priests. We can tell you that in our country they were boasting that we were never going to have a divorce law. We have like 95% baptised Catholics, priests and other religious persons did everything to convince parishioners to go out and vote NO. The biggest weapon in the hands of one bishop was to threaten of NOT giving Holy Eucharist to people who would vote no. In some villages and towns the church’s influence is truly threatening. Yet the Yes won.

As married priests, were we have to do ‘secular’ jobs in order to earn a living, we listen to different opinions and it was no surprise that people were going for divorce. Most people do not study theology. Yet they have a unique treasure: their own experience. Many couples were facing hard times. Yet the church chose not to listen to these experiences and insisted on only one version of the gospel. Other theologians were showing Christ’s true intention about the family and giving totally different interpretations about divorce in the gospel.

In this sense, we can say that Malta is very near the Vatican in spirit. Walking in Malta seems to be the Vatican where we have so many priests and nuns and 365 churches on an island which is 25 kilometres long!! So if change is possible in Catholic Malta then we are sure that the change for married priesthood will come for sure. Obviously we don’t know the date and time. But the Holy Spirit will surely do His work silently and unobtrusively.

Another surprise in Catholic Malta was that some Catholics formed their own group in favour of divorce! Surely it was unheard of some years ago yet it happened. They were telling everybody that being a Catholic does not mean of having one idea. Catholicism was never meant to be the same for everybody in all circumstances. People listen to their own experience which reflects God’s will in their own lives. Some people were calling for divorce after several years of experience, prayer and discernment. Because morality is not simply following the rules especially in our inner experiences were nobody can tell you what to do.

Unfortunately the biggest loser in Malta is the Catholic Church. Trying to pressure people and telling them of not being good Catholics etc…will backfire!

People will leave the Catholic Church for various reasons…

10. They strongly disagree with the parish pastor and/or the bishop, not the people, having control of parish-level decisions, especially financial decisions

9. They don’t feel welcomed (e.g., because they are divorced or gay)

8. They are scandalized at the way the pope and bishops treat victims/survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse

7. They know a large number of priests are gay, but the RCC is secretive about this and many other facts

6. They believe the Church wants to control each church member’s entire system of ethical beliefs and moral decision-making processes from womb to tomb, and they no longer accept this old way of thinking

5. They no longer believe one or more specific church teachings, doctrines, or practices (e.g., abortion, homosexuality, divorce, euthanasia, birth control, primacy of the ordained priesthood)

4. They are disgusted at the way the pope and bishops treat women

3. They are convinced that the Roman Catholic Church’s policy of keeping known and credibly accused child sex offenders employed by the church is a major public safety risk

2. They can’t stand the hypocrisy of the hierarchy, especially about sexual issues

1. They feel the Roman Catholic Church no longer teaches the values found in the gospels

On the other hand, in Catholic countries like Malta some still accept everything and anything from the church for some practical reasons…


10. They want their kids enrolled in the parish Catholic school

9. They want to have a Catholic funeral and be buried in consecrated ground

8. They stay in the hope that a new pope will change things

7. They like the “smells and bells” (e.g., Midnight Mass at Christmas, stained-glass windows, statues), their parish church, their pastor, and they don’t or can’t envision a true religious/spiritual experience without these essentials

6. The sexual abuse scandal, the treatment of women and gays, and other hot-button issues (e.g., abortion, homosexuality) don’t rank high on their religious/ethical priority list

5. They believe that if they leave the Catholic Church their family, friends, and/or neighbors will ostracize them

4. Leaving (changing) is not an acceptable option: “I was born a Catholic, and I’ll die a Catholic.” (The thought of leaving fills them with uncontrollable fear)

3. They get all their news about the church from the pulpit in their parish, the parish weekly bulletin, and the bishop’s diocesan newspaper. They do not get or seek out contrary opinion (e.g., CNN, the New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert)

2. The Catholic Church, not Jesus Christ, not the Bible, not God, is the main source of their religious/spiritual identity

1. They believe everything, or almost everything, the pope and the bishops teach or proclaim (e.g., there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, the Real Presence, the Infallibility of the Pope, the sexual abuse scandal was caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s). In other words, they are comfortable proclaiming themselves to be Roman Catholic, believing what the pope, the bishops, and their pastor tell them what they must believe, and behaving how these men of religion tell them how to behave (taken from Voice of the Desert)

Human Rights Organisation report lists Vatican for failure to protect children. This too was well known yet the bishops chose to defend the criminals instead of reporting to the authorities regarding abusive priests!

The sexual abuse is not simply a past action but it’s still happening in our days!
We receive several emails, people telling us that a particular priest is abusing children or women. Obviously our intention is not to publish names but rather call the Catholic Church to allow married priests in order to give a proper formation to non-married priests.

Sacking progressive voices is not the answer! Because it’s not one priest who is rebellious but rather he is the voice of the new change in the church. Silencing one person is surely not listening the Holy Spirit for change. It may be postponing the issue but not forgetting it completely! A practical consequence for silencing the prophets is that people leave to go elsewhere.

Homilies [in Maltese]