by Anura Guruge
I did not know this, but it is being claimed that the Vatican and the Philippines are the only remaining states that do not have laws permitting divorce — though I have since found that there are at least two caveats to this in the case of the latter; Muslims in the Philippines are permitted some latitude and marriages can be annulled. [I know that there are prominent Catholics in this country, Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry immediately comes to mind, that have re-married after their Catholic marriages were annulled by the Church (no doubt greased by large amounts of largess to a local cardinal or bishop, most likely the aptly named 'OutLaw' given that both these wealthy Catholics were from Boston).]
Malta, another predominantly Catholic country, on July 25, 2011 (yes, just under a month ago), enacted a parliamentary law permitting divorce. This law, however, needs to be ratified by the President before it is expected to become the law of the land in October of this year. << link 1. link 2 >>
The new nuncio to this very Catholic, but grossly under-represented country when it comes to Cardinal electors, is 59-year-old Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who was previously the nuncio to Chile (where divorce was legalized in 2004, three-years prior to Pinto’s sojourn there). [Did you know that Ireland, grudgingly, only permitted divorce in 1997? Those poor suffering women!] Pinto, recently, has stated that it is a ‘point of honor for the Philippines’ that they do not permit divorce — though a bill to legalize it has been in the works for a few years.
As is to be expected, the Philippines also has draconian laws when it comes to reproductive rights, and predictably the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is strongly opposed to any relaxation of these — though I have to wonder, a loud, how many of these bishops (not to mention Filipino Catholic priests) have fathered bastards. [I don't even want to think of the nuns.] Come on, give those lovely women a break.
What is ironic is that though they kowtow the Vatican, the Vatican has treated them with off-hand disdain. Maybe the Vatican will respect them more if they showed a bit more resolve! From what I have seen the meek have never done too well at the Vatican. Yes, I know that the expectations are that they will get at least one cardinal at the next consistory — but it is POSSIBLE that the Vatican could make such a creation conditional; i.e., you change the laws no cardinal.