Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Turmoil in the Maltese Church

It has been a great sadness to those who love the Maltese Church to see its dirty linen being exposed so ruthlessly to public gaze. While commentators – outsiders like me – have long spoken of the need for the Maltese Church to renew itself after the debacle of the divorce referendum, those who have been at the forefront of working within the Church to save it from itself have previously held their counsel. As they should.

Loyalty to any leader or organisation is an essential quality. Loyalty should flow upwards to a leader, as well as downwards to subordinates. This does not mean that members of an organisation (including the Church) should not express their views clearly and frankly within it. But when a decision has been reached – even a decision to do nothing – it should be fully supported and public criticism should not then follow. Internal dissent properly expressed is all part of the clash of ideas that are healthy in an organisation. Public dissent that undermines the leadership, however, is destructive and self-defeating.

For reasons best known to him, one priest, who is also, like me, a commentator on the public scene, felt it incumbent, “as an act of conscience”, to state publicly what most who have been following the Maltese Church for the last few years were well aware of: that the Archbishop was not giving the Church the leadership it desperately needed.

This public act of disloyalty – albeit no doubt well-intentioned – led inevitably to a passionate response from a most respected academic close to the Church, accusing the priest and others of “crucifying” the Archbishop (for English speakers, the word “crucify” here is translated from the Maltese, meaning “dragging the Archbishop through the dirt”). Moreover, he accused the priest who had first broken the story of being driven by local politics: an old-fashioned Nationalist Party agenda which placed him at loggerheads with the Archbishop’s (correct) non-political stance on public issues.


Times of Malta

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Martin Scicluna

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