Abortion is morally wrong whether the law allows it or not, says Bishop

Mark Viales
THE Panorama interview   The Catholic Church faces a chain of complex challenges as the intricacies surrounding today’s ever-evolving society place longstanding pillars of Christian values under scrutiny. 
  Strong debate on abortion, religious education, Christian family values and the true meaning of Easter make up merely a handful of issues taking centre stage.   His Lordship the Bishop, Monsignor Carmelo Zammit, is the highest representation of the Catholic Church in Gibraltar and spoke to PANORAMA on the aforementioned issues afflicting the dominant religion on the Rock.   Born in Gudja, south Malta, in 1949, Bishop Zammit was ordained to the priesthood in 1974. In the mid-seventies, former local Bishop Monsignor Edward Rapallo invited Monsignor Zammit to Gibraltar, along with other young Maltese priests.   He served the Diocese in a number of different capacities from 1976 to 1998, teaching and serving as Parish Priest in two of the parishes in Gibraltar, St Theresa’s from 1985 to 1991 and Sacred Heart Parish from 1991 to 1998.    He returned to his native Malta in 1998 where he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Malta and served the Archdiocese in a number of key roles until his appointment as Bishop of Gibraltar on 24 June 2016. He was ordained Bishop of Gibraltar on 8 September 2016.   REASON OR EMOTION?   The Bishop questioned whether the current heated debate on abortion applied reason or emotion to the argument, saying that the latter ‘could not be trusted’.   “Discussion causes no harm. It’s good to talk. But are we applying reason or emotion? If it is emotion, then reason has no force,” he said. “The emotional problem needs to be solved through assistance, it does not respond to reason.”    Monsignor Zammit called for, as many other sectors in Gibraltar already have, suitable premises where women could receive detailed advice before going past the point of no return.     “A woman in Gibraltar has no one to turn to when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. We are not talking about removing a wart,” he said. “Abortion is a terrible trauma and it is attached to life-long consequences. That is what we must address here in Gibraltar. In most cases abortion is not the only solution.”   The Bishop said that there were numerous possibilities and help that could be afforded to women who are contemplating abortion before a final decision is made.   “It is a question of psychology, medicine, material help and other alternatives which we do not have in Gibraltar,” he said. “At the moment the government has not committed to such help.”   On the question of morality, Monsignor Zammit said that laws were there not there to tell us what is right and wrong but rather what we can or cannot do in society.   “Morality is another thing,” he said. “If abortion becomes legal, then it will be easy for people to switch and consider that there is nothing wrong with it. What is legal eventually becomes moral. Abortion is morally wrong whether the law allows it or not.”    But regardless, whether the law changes or not, the Bishop insisted that a fully-functional support system must be installed to help women with this dilemma.   THERE HAS TO BE A SYSTEM IN PLACE   “Changing the law without doing anything in this area is not right. There has to be a system in place where people can be assisted to make the right decision,” he said. “We spend millions in Gibraltar to have IVF, a good hospital and Mount Alvernia, yet we are not spending a penny on helping people in this situation, which is not correct. The government has the duty to support these people.”   The Bishop has had many women visit him with great regret following an abortion in Spain as they were completely unaware of the effects of this traumatic procedure.    "That is why I say that help must be given before such a decision is reached," he said.   28-03-18 PANORAMAdailyGIBRALTAR Sports and Leisure Authority Swimming Pool to Open 7 Days a Week