Malta’s Main LGBTQ+ Group Rejects Catholic Group’s “Rosary Rally”

Participants at Malta Pride 2022

The leading LGBTQ+ rights association in Malta has condemned a protest that a conservative Catholic group organized to protest Pride Week in the European island nation.

Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) strongly criticized a rosary rally staged by Pro Malta Christiana (PMC) on the day after Pride week ended.  The stated purpose of the rally was to pray “in reparation” for the events that had just taken place. PMC’s claim, reported by Lovin Malta, was that:

“We are not motivated by any personal animosity towards persons with same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria, but rather our love for Christian civilization and the morals and institutions that are so essential to it. Since these structures are being publicly and ostentatiously attacked, it is only fitting that Catholics make a public act of reparation.”

MGRM’s statement opened comically, saying that “Rosary Rally is the drag name we did not know we needed.” The statement continued, “Practicing religion in this way, by aggregating ‘in reparation’ of other people’s realities cannot be the right way to practice love and respect. We cannot think of anything less Christian than that.”

Malta’s week of events for Pride was attended by thousands of LGBTQ+ folks and allies, including the prime minister and other politicians. Lovin Malta reported MGRM’s accounts of the celebrations: 

“We marched in yesterday’s Pride March alongside 12,000 people who we are certain included Catholics, Muslims and other people who are faithful to their religions,” the group said. “We celebrated love and acceptance. We marched to celebrate happiness and give others who are struggling support in the knowledge that they are not alone in this journey.”

Other leaders supported MGRM’s remarks. Sandra Gauci, a Maltese blogger, expressed her reaction to the “Rosary Rally” by saying, “Pride started from love and the celebration of it. THIS rosary thing stems from hate. Stop using religion to excuse your prejudice.”

This “Rosary Rally” is not the first time a post-Pride action was held by conservative Maltese Catholics. The positive news is that Malta, where most residents are Catholic and the faith is even the state religion, is a global leader on LGBTQ+ rights. In 2018, ILGA-Europe ranked Malta as first among 49 European countries when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. The country has banned conversion therapypassed marriage equality, and referred to as the “gold standard” on transgender rights. Maltese church leaders have been quite inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, too. The anti-Pride protestors may have a loud voice, but they do not represent the majority of Maltese Catholics. 

Anushah Sajwani (she/her), New Ways Ministry, October 22, 2022

2 replies
  1. Alexei
    Alexei says:

    Reading this story reminded me of Chapter 8 in John’s gospel:
    “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”
    I think the rest of the story speaks for itself. The “Rosary Rally” was just beads, but it seems with the same intended effect. Even as a child, hearing this bible story I wondered – if she was “caught in the act” how did the guy get away? Then I wondered if perhaps he wasn’t one of the crowd carrying the rocks to punish the woman. Or was this all a set-up? OK, I’m just wondering, but I have no doubt about what Jesus thought about this. I can’t even imagine him walking with the “Rosary Rally” crowd, out of respect for his/our Mother.

  2. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    This reminds me of these lyrics from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass:
    “God gave us the cross
    We turned it into a sword
    To spread the Word of the Lord
    We use His holy decrees
    To do whatever we please”

    In the case of this response to a celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride, it is the rosary (a prayer of meditation and petition) that is turned into a faux weapon. It’s also kind of silly – the idea that this public display of praying the rosary could in any way be a “reparation” for a celebration the ones praying deemed as evil. Somewhat along the line of thinking Bishop Paprocki’s cathedral exorcism could “cleanse” the State of Illinois for enacting marriage equality into law.


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