FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, May 26, 2011 ( – “The people of Malta have a choice to make Saturday that will affect the entire country forever,” says Human Life International Interim President Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula. “If Malta votes to legalize divorce, it will be a vote to divorce Malta from its Catholic culture and, because of the harm that will inevitably follow for children, from its future.”

The country of Malta, whose population of just over 400,000 is about 98% Roman Catholic, is one of the few countries in the world where divorce is still not legal. But according to Barreiro, legalizing divorce will inevitably lead to even worse consequences, including the legalization of abortion. “Of course, what we see historically is that when a society adopts legalized divorce, abortion and widespread societal decay follow closely behind,” he said.

The Maltese bishops are campaigning furiously against the measure. “A choice in favour of permanent marriage is an act of faith in the family, built upon a bond of love which cannot be severed,” Maltese Archbishop Paul Cremona along with Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo and Auxiliary Bishop Annetto DePasquale wrote in a pastoral letter “Opting in Favour of Permanent Marriage” this week. “Whereas a choice in favour of divorce leads to the further destruction of marriage and the family and, as a consequence, the destruction of values and the quality of life.”

“We concur absolutely with the wisdom expressed by Malta’s Catholic bishops, when they say in their pastoral letter that Christ, “[left] no doubt that divorce is the wrong solution – a solution upon which a stable society cannot be built,” said Monsignor Barreiro.

“Studies have shown that the negative impacts of divorce are numerous and severe, considering that the foundation of any society is the family,” said Dr. Brian Clowes, Director of Research at Human Life International. “Women who are divorced are much more likely to live in poverty; children of divorce suffer much greater incidences of mental disease, poverty, and behavioral problems; and welfare costs increase dramatically when thousands of women and children suddenly require public support upon the legalization of divorce.”

Monsignor Barreiro said that the solution to problem marriages is to first undergo proper preparation for marriage, and when problems arise to seek assistance from the Church and society to solve those difficulties.

“Our Maltese brothers and sisters must understand that, historically, divorce is almost always the first domino to fall in the culture of death,” said Monsignor Barreiro. “We encourage the Maltese to stand together against this assault on their families, their children, and their future, and to reject the referendum.”

Founded in 1981, Human Life International is the world’s largest international pro-life organization and has affiliates and associates in over 100 countries on six continents.