A pantheon of saints

The Church has 'patron saints' for everything but in Reformation England, 'the idea of praying to saints was regarded as reprehensible...'

As the Catholic Church commemorates All Saints Day, we are reminded that the Church has “patron saints” for everything, just as ancient Rome had gods for everything. The ancient Greeks had a pantheon of gods, just as the Catholic Church has a pantheon of saints.

In Religion and the Decline of Magic, Keith Thomas explains how the Protestant Reformation attempted to rid Christianity of the superstitions of the Catholic Church and to take magic out of religion. And in his book A Calendar of Saints, James Bentley lists the “saints” in the Catholic pantheon, including Abdon, Acca, Begga, Botolph, Berikjesus, Cantius, Cantianus and Cantianella, Chrodegang, Mawes, Sennen, Sozon, Ethelburga, Notburga, Guthlac, Wulfstan, Waudru and Walburga. “Relics had become wonder-working fetishes” and the use “of ecclesiastical talismans and amulets was encouraged by the Church.”

In Reformation England, “the idea of praying to saints was regarded as reprehensible... Millers had St Arnold, cobblers had St Crispin, and toothdrawers had St Apolline. St Roch was good at the plague, and St Petronill for the ague. For madmen and those possessed by the devil, there was St Romane. For botches and biles, Saints Cosmas and Damian; St Clare for the eyes; and St Agatha for sore breasts.”


John Guillaumier

St Julian’s


Optimum Ad Maiora fund generated positive returns

Following the article published in MaltaToday on 11 October (Vatican left contrite in offshore scandal with Malta at its heart), Optimum Asset Management notes:

1. Futura Fund SICAV, the bond sole subscriber, has sued the real estate company Maiora Group spa, the bond issuer, at the Tribunale di Bari (the Bari Court) to ensure the repayment of such bond in due time.

2. If reference is made to Optimum-Ad Maiora (a fund of funds), there has been no loss in such fund. On the contrary, the investment in Ad Maiora (a fund of funds) was profitable: as such it was exited generating a total return for the investor (IOR) in excess of 7%.

3. The lawsuit initiated by the IOR regards Futura-Kappa (a real estate fund), which invested in 2013 with the objective to acquire, refurbish, reposition and sell the Budapest Exchange Palace, one of the most prestigious buildings in the Hungarian capital. The IOR entered into contractual commitments to invest €41 million. Nonetheless, it only invested €17 million and is, therefore, clearly in default on the remaining €24 million. We are suing the IOR in Malta for breach of contract.

4. Optimum and the funds it managed did not participate in any activity aimed at increasing or supporting the value of the shares of Banca Popolare di Vicenza. Optimum is not involved in any investigation related to Banca Popolare di Vicenza.


Andrea Suriano

Optimum Asset Management



Church, State separation policy and other reasons for moral decline

The confinement of the religious sphere and its values to the purely private sphere in Malta may have come about because of the excessive emphasis on, and wrong implementation of, the much vaunted Church and State separation policy.  

For the man in the street this could mean that religion has no place in the public arena or that morality derived from religion should not be permitted to shape our laws as, in fact, happened when the divorce and civil union bills were enacted.

Meanwhile secularists  have managed to monopolise the shared space of society with their own lay views.

Another reason for the moral decadence could be the feel-good factor and social progress engaged in by our society.  

I once read in an English paper that it is not Marx that dented the Christian heritage there but Marks and Spencer.

That great steps have been taken towards the betterment of our national economy and standard of living is a fact that cannot be denied but we are still a nation of festoons, statues, band marches, meetings and fireworks.  

In the meantime we have neglected our appreciation of the moral and human values sustaining our Christian heritage dating back two millenniums.

The fabric of the nation is splitting at the seams, its precious nucleus – our moral core- is being ruptured.  Almost every type of crime is up.

Let’s hope and pray that with immediate effect the Church and State relationship is more orientated towards Catholic moral and religious convictions.

The Mater et Magistra is certainly a most experienced connoisseur of human and spiritual needs and exigencies and its expert advice should never be ignored.  

I think that it would be wise if the Church is consulted and heeded once again when the IVF issue and other sensitive moral matters are brought up for debate in parliament.

John Azzopardi



Old establishment is still holding power inside PN

The PN and its leaders, the official one – Adrian Delia – and de factor leader Simon Busuttil, have a very big dilemma facing them. It has been reported – and the PN has not officially denied this – Delia is facing a rebellion within his parliamentary group. 

 It has been said that these rebel MPs are mulling a vote of no confidence in Delia within the parliamentary group in order to force him to resign from opposition leader.

The big dilemma is this. The PN had boasted of being the first political party to elect its leader by the card-carrying members of the party and not by the councillors. 

If the PN’s rebel MPs have their way and Adrian Delia is forced to resign as opposition leader, and subsequently from PN leader, this would be negating the democratic vote of PN members! If the rebel MPs succeed in ousting Adrian Delia from the leadership of the party, there exists the possibility of a split within the PN and a new party is formed, since it is very clear that the “old establishment” still holds power and will not allow anyone to take away that power from them!

Eddy Privitera