Tuesday, 25 January 2022, was indeed a memorable day for the LGBTIQ+ community. In an occasion that by all accounts can be deemed to be a first, a good number of the LGBTIQ+ organisations in Malta, namely Allied Rainbow Community (ARC), Drachma LGBTI, Drachma Parents Group, LGBTI+ Gozo, and the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Malta (MGRM) held a positive and flowing conversation with Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi.
The representatives of these organisations were able to share aspects of their life as well as their work. They talked about the challenges they encounter but also the positive changes they have seen in these last few years. One of the things that they spoke about was Pride. For an indefinite period of time LGBTIQ+ persons were made to feel worthless and shameful of their identity and themselves. They were and still are persecuted in a significant number of countries. LGBTIQ+ persons wanted to embrace their sexuality, they wanted to move away from the shame and move towards self-acceptance and to be proud of who they are, and that is how Pride came about.
These representatives also talked about the invaluable work they conduct with Malta’s LGBTIQ+ community, the support that is given, the awareness that is raised and the rights that they have worked for. In this discussion with the Bishops, the LGBTIQ+ community was exploring ways of how to make LGBTIQ+ Catholics feel more at home with the Church. The Bishops showed great sensitivity to the needs of the LGBTIQ+ Catholics and pledged to continue supporting a welcoming space for all.
One area of interest was the importance given to the continued development of the human sciences and what they are showing us. Such data is necessary for the Church to deepen its reflection and pastoral attitudes in the light of evidence-based research on the LGBTIQ+ reality & their families. The representatives from LGBT+ Gozo and MGRM passed on two such surveys which they had conducted independently. Both bishops gladly appreciated this current information.
Archbishop Scicluna stressed that we need to move away from the language of ideology and speaking without first stopping to think. His main message was that we should always keep in mind that we are talking about human persons, and that we should therefore treat each and every person with respect and dignity, as this is the only way to show the love of Christ.
This two-hour meeting held at the Archbishop’s Curia in Floriana had a profound sense of synodality that was clearly felt and expressed by all those present. One activist was so moved that the meeting was described as a truly comforting and healing experience.
Drachma Parents Group
Allied Rainbow Community – ARC
Malta LGBTIQ Rights Malta (MGRM)