Letters: 1 March 2015

Open letter to the new archbishop

Dear Friend,

When you were appointed and consecrated bishop I wrote you a public letter in which I prayed for you not to be another Curia administrator or a pompous celebrant in Cathedrals, wearing nice clothes like those which Jesus compared to the kings in palaces ruling and suppressing people. In his ministry, Jesus was a preacher with the people. He was not found in the corridors of Ecclesiastical Curias and Palaces of Power. Jesus was with the people and for the people. Jesus was feeding the sheep with the word of God. Jesus was with the sheep and for the sheep, to the point of giving His life.

Dear Friend, you are inheriting a Church whose members, at least many of them, moved by the Holy Spirit, are really looking to grow up more and more in spirituality. Many of the members of the Body of Christ in Malta, both priests and laity, are trustworthy servants of the talents entrusted to them. They are working all their abilities for the good of the whole body. Many members of the People of God are really experiencing great sacrifices to live up to the new commandment of Love given to us by our Master Jesus Christ.

Dear Friend, to give a complete picture, in my humble opinion, I have to say that those who in the Church are supposed to lead and give direction, are stuck. They are giving neither direction nor motivation. From the part of its leadership the Church needs a great change in spirit, direction  and personal. 

Dear friend, I am really hoping that you will not be just one of the same. This has been happening for long now. And it is too much. To be sincere with you, as you always told me to be, you are already looked at by many as one who loves pompous habits and ceremonies. As one loving to wear triumphal clothing which does not belong to the crucified Christ whom Saint Paul, our father in faith, called as the only one true Christ.  

1Cor1:22While the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, 23we are preaching a crucified Christ: to the Jews an obstacle they cannot get over, to the gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is both the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

[Dear friend, take Pope Francis, who appionted you to be our shepherd, as your model and mentor. Everyone can see the fruit of this humble and strong man. His strength comes from his humbleness. Because filled by the Holy Spirit, he is very strong. So strong that he can humble and humilate himself like a little child. He is showing that the foolishness of God is stronger than the wisdom of the powerful.

The strong and powerful are full of themsleves and they are afraid to be humble. They love boasting and showing off to be popular. Mt11:25At that time Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. 

Mary, our virgin mother, told us and taught us that Almighty God did great things with her because He looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Only the humble can be the servants of the Lord.

Dear friend, Jesus is counting on you. The Church in Malta is counting on you. Malta is counting on you for spiritual light and direction. Give us your life in Love, modesty and humbleness. Jesus needs your best so that He can do the rest. 

Dun Gorg Dalli, Madliena

Council works at Victoria

With reference to the letter entitled “A distaster called Gozo!” published last Sunday, the Ministry for Gozo wishes to point out once again that the infrastructural works being carried out during these last months at Independence and Sabina squares are the sole responsibility of the Victoria Local Council.

Marthese Attard

Communications officer, Ministry for Gozo

Hondoq application refusal desired

In January, the chairman of Mepa stated on RTK radio that work is continuing on the Development Planning Application Report (DPAR) for the Qala Creek project application, and that hopefully it should be put to the board for their final decision by April.

It is now more than 12 years since the submission of the first application, and Moviment Harsien Hondoq is looking forward to another recommended refusal from the DPAR.

This can be added to the recommended refusals already made by Transport Malta, the Church Commission, Mepa’s own Environmental Protection Directorate and Natural Heritage Panel, and numerous NGOs.

Hopefully it shall be a total refusal and no villas or bungalows will be allowed. Many people have asked for this area to be returned to a national park and hopefully Mepa will listen to the cry of the public. We also wish to remind Mepa that 85% of the residents of Qala are against this project, and hopefully their voice will be listened to after all these years. 

Paul Buttigieg, Moviment Harsien Hondoq

More bus lanes will be making traffic jams worse

In Malta we introduced bus lanes when our roads are either too small or too restricted for such purposes, but those who are giving the go ahead for “bus lanes” did not know or had not heard that in other countries they had found and declared them to be unfit.

This happened in Belfast, Ireland, Liverpool, England and other countries too, where it was found they had exacerbated or created more traffic jams, and that is what so far has happened in Malta. Any sensible road designer would admit that the solution is elsewhere!

If these are the cause of our traffic jams, then we must eliminate bus lanes, not just a few but all of them, not add more to make things even worse than they are. Our roads are limited in width or length, especially compared to those in other countries, so what could be good for others, would not be good for us. 

For example the bus lane created at the Ferries, Sliema and now even at the Strand, Gzira, are already causing traffic jams, yet the authorities have approved other bus lanes where there is just one lane left for other traffic. This is going to cause further confusion and delays. It is worth mentioning that the Irish and Liverpool councils decided to scrap bus lanes, they solved their problems otherwise. 

The new transport operator here, of Autobuses de León, recently stated on television that he intends to ask for more bus lanes, but did he realize that our roads are not capable of coping with more bus lanes when our roads are so limited, and more such lanes would be worsening the situation?

The people will not blame this company, but the local authorities for lack of finding a better solution. The situation is also hurting sales in the business communities of Valletta, Sliema, Floriana and Hamrun if not elsewhere too, as people cannot do their usual shopping and other needs because of the delays and lack of parking facilities. 

Other countries have improved the situation by building flyovers and interception lanes above other lanes, creating underground tunnels and underground parking facilities close to city centers, making traffic flow faster and better. Cannot we do the same in Malta using EU funds?

John Meli , Ta’ Xbiex