[WATCH] When the market takes over politics, ‘correct the rules’ Archbishop tells MPs

In Independence Day homily, Archbishop Charles Scicluna tells political class to correct the market rules that put the least powerful at a disadvantage

Archbishop Charles Scicluna
Archbishop Charles Scicluna

Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s homily on Independence Day has called on politicians to stop the economy from taking over politics, and correct the market rules that are putting the least powerful at a disadvantage.

Malta celebrates its 58th year as an independent country, having spent 10 years after 1964 as a British dominion under Queen Elizabeth, before becoming a republic.

In a tribute to the Maltese welfare state, whose hallmark of state-provided healthcare, welfare and pensions remain jealously guarded qualities of the island-nation, Scicluna called on polticians to “correct the market rules” that cause those at a material disadvantage “personally, emotionally or socially – to be left behind or unable to participate in the market race.”

But he also said this solidarity should also be practised with refugees in the Mediterranean, whom he said “are knocking at the door of our hearts.”

“While we are right to insist that we should not and cannot carry a burden that far outweighs our resources, this cannot be justified to turn a deaf ear and harden our hearts when we hear a desperate cry for help,” Scicluna said, while also saluting the Armed Forces of Malta for their role in effecting rescues at sea. “May they be a symbol of humanity so that all of us as human beings and as an authentic members of civil society may be a means of help to all those who are most in need.”

Scicluna, whose homilies on national feasts always impart gentle words of warning to Malta’s political class, also told aspirants to politics not to view the career as a way of acquiring wealth or status.

“I wish to honour the great generations of Maltese and Gozitans who, through politics, dedicated selfless service to the common good; that is, offering to serve without expecting anything in return. May we continue to have politicians like these because independence – which we acquired in 1964 – needs to be applied with a great sense of responsibility, good governance and rule of law, correctness, integrity, honesty and, above all, rectitude,” Scicluna said.

The Archbishop said humility in politics was “a lesson quickly learnt” in a world of constant public scrutiny and harsh criticism

But he added that humility was the conduct of a person “well-grounded in public service... capable of genuine self-evaluation, devoid of escapism and inferiority complex.”

And he augured for a democratic dialogue devoid of wounding words but with a spirit of “decency, love, and charity: dialogue that is sincere, honest, and faithful.”

In a message on Malta’s natural and historic heritage, Scicluna also implored MPs to safeguard the island;s architecture, art, and nature, as “a common and shared commitment to safeguard the beauty that makes our islands an extraordinary and priceless environment.”

“We must start by putting aside our personal interests in order to understand that these will only truly be protected when we look after one another.

“While initiatives to increase wealth within our country are important, it is vital that we continue to safeguard our cultural, architectural, and natural heritage. We have a duty to do this for future generations; but we would also be short-sighted not to realise that safeguarding our heritage is the biggest contribution we can make to safeguard our wealth.”

Scicluna also paid tribute to the memory of Queen Elizabeth II. “Let us pray that our world will be blessed and endowed with leaders who bear beautiful witness to service, faithfulness, good governance, and loyalty,” he said.