Church declares full support for 1960's interdict victims' monument

In reaction to claims by Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef that the Church never backed the monument, the Archdiocese presents a letter the Archbishop had sent to the Culture Minister declaring support for the project

Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna (Photo: Curia)
Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna (Photo: Curia)

The Archdiocese of Malta declared its full support for a monument honouring the victims of the interdict of the 1960s, and called inaccurate a media report that said it had never supported the proposal.

In a statement on Sunday in reaction to a story by it- Torċa where Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef claimed the Church never backed his 2020 proposal for a monument inside the gardens of the Archbishop’s palace.

The Church said that the front-page story was riddled with inaccuracies and presented a signed letter by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna to the National Heritage Minister at the time, Jose' Herrera on 18 May 2020.

In the letter the Archbishop told the minister that him and his aides agreed with the proposal but not with the location, and they suggested that the monument be erected in a public space.

“However, since the Archbishop’s Palace in Valletta houses the Church’s Ecclesiastical Tribunal, which handles delicate matrimonial cases, the Archdiocese did not wish to risk compromising the high degree of confidentiality required for such sensitive procedures,” the Archbishop had written.

The Archdiocese had also welcomed Herrera’s proposal to use the Mall Gardens in Floriana for this purpose because it is both central and accessible.

“The Archdiocese never received a reply to this letter but continues to welcome the proposal with open arms and is fully supportive of such an initiative, as well as any initiative for a monument dedicated to all victims of physical and moral violence both by the Church and the State,” said the Church.

In the statement it also stated that the Archbishop had blessed the tombs at the cemetery within the area known as ‘Il-Miżbla’, including that of former Deputy Prime Minister Ġużè Ellul Mercer, and – on following the example set by archbishops Michael Gonzi, Joseph Mercieca and Paul Cremona – had asked for forgiveness for the Church’s actions at that period in history.