A voice in the political wilderness
The Archbishop has since his appointment provided something of a voice of reason in the wilderness that is the country’s political atmosphere. It is not a voice of one political party or another which, irrespective of the message, is instantly mistrusted by about half the population – it is a voice of good sense, a voice of reason and a voice of values.
Yet each and every time the Archbishop musters the temerity, as it is perceived by some, to criticise the Republic’s state of affairs, he is assaulted by members of the masses urging him to stay in his place, to keep quiet.
But that is exactly what the Archbishop is doing – he is perfectly in his place, perhaps more so than any of his predecessors in living memory. After all, along with the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, the Archbishop is one of the country’s leaders.
Mgr Scicluna is daring to tread where his predecessors had held back. He has, however, been criticised for his environmental conscience and for his outspoken views on the subject. This newspaper, however, welcomes his comments wholeheartedly. As one of the nation’s leaders, it is most reassuring to see the Archbishop taking the environmental and moral stances that he has unflinchingly taken.
The country and its people hear enough from politicians on a day-to-day basis, perhaps too much in fact. And as such, the Archbishop’s reasoning, whether one agrees with him or not, is more than welcome if for nothing more than
his efforts to enrich and raise the tone of the national discourse. And as the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Malta, the country’s constitutionally-enshrined religion, the Archbishop is attempting to put the government and the people it governs on the moral high ground.
The Archbishop yesterday delivered a firebrand homily on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day, and he hit several nails squarely on the head when he delivered a most appropriate message to the nation.
And in so doing, he spoke not for the Church nor for the government or the Opposition – he spoke for the people and for no one else. We have heard several sermons on good governance over the years, sermons that have come from politicians seeking, for better or worse, to score political points.
But yesterday the nation was treated to a literal sermon on the subject by one who has nothing to gain or lose by stepping into this particular minefield.
He could have very easily addressed myriad other subjects in his homily marking the nation’s Independence but instead he took on this thorny subject because, in simple terms, the good governance of the Maltese people is really and truly what independence is all about.
He took the political powers that be to task with comments such as: “Governance based on spin, on obscure dealings, and on a constant reticence to allow public scrutiny, irrespective of the myriad laws and the solemn promises, is definitely not good governance. Government based on the Orwellian disregard of truth will one day implode, whereas transparency and accountability are the values that will make us Maltese truly and rightly proud of our government.”
He proposed four “transcendental values,” of unity, goodness, honesty and beauty to be “a criterion of good governance, that governance worthy of the human family towards which politics should, and hopefully does, aspire.” His comments were met with both praise and criticism in almost equal measure – indicative of the country’s bitter political divide.
As for the criticism, it is perhaps the country’s hangover from the politics of yesteryear that leads so many to doubt the Archbishop’s messages. But, it must be said, this is the year 2016 and this newspaper could not agree more with an Archbishop airing his views on the environment, the way in which the country is being run and on the dubious morality of what he sees taking place around us on a daily basis.
The Archbishop is clearly not one to preach from an ivory tower - he speaks with the voice of the people, and he speaks for the people. This is part of his role as one of the country’s leaders and it is in this role that this Archbishop will leave his mark on the country and its people.