With Archbishop Paul Cremona out of action for health reasons, the former Archbishop Guzeppi Mercieca and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech have taken over the running of the local Catholic Church and are intent on leading a crusade against IVF. They believe that the Maltese church was too soft and weak on the divorce issue and feel that had it followed the militant line taken by the Gozo church, the referendum would have been won by the No camp and the introduction of divorce stopped.
Mercieca and Grech wrote the pastoral letter issued on the eve of the publication of the IVF bill and in it they made it clear that all forms of IVF are to be opposed.
Several priests were shocked about how insensitive and backward looking the pastoral letter was and refused to read it in church. A list of these priests is being compiled and action is to be taken against them.
Very few priests dare come out in the open against Mercieca and Grech. So far the only to speak very clearly has been Dr Rev Rene’ Camilleri who said that there should be church-state separation and that the state has the duty to legislate for all citizens, not just Catholics and the state has its own ethical principles that are not necessarily in line with those of the Catholic Church. He called on the church to show more empathy and be forward looking.