Archbishop Paul Cremona and Bishop Charles Scicluna.Archbishop Paul Cremona and Bishop Charles Scicluna.

A controversy almost similar to our Civil Union-cum-adoption Bill is raging in the UK. A number of prominent Catholic members of the House of Commons, including former Tory leader and current Cabinet member Iain Duncan Smith and his cabinet colleague Patrick McLoughlin, voted in favour of the same-sex union legislation.

Christopher Lamb in The Tablet of April 5 reported that Philip Egan, the Bishop of Portsmouth “said that these politicians should be denied the Eucharist”, following which the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales told Catholic parliamentarians they would not be refused Communion if they voted in favour of same-sex unions.

Forty-seven out of at least 82 Catholic MPs voted for same-sex legislation, which was passed last year. I do not agree with those in Malta arguing that the local hierarchy should have been more vociferous in its opposition: my view, whatever its worth, is that our Bishops chose a wise path in declaring the Church’s position clearly and unequivocally, as in duty bound, and stopping there.

Those of us who are trying to drag the Church unnecessarily into the issue to gain political mileage, whether pro or con, are doing the Church a great disservice.

Whether it was expedient and wise for Joseph Muscat’s administration to combine the two issues of civil union and adoption is another matter; the decision may well have been inspired out of pure party political strategy and therefore of no concern to the Church.