Church’s leadership ‘in a disastrous state’ – Fr Gorg Dalli

Former Swieqi parish priest Gorg Dalli says church’s problems emanate from the Curia, but not the archbishop.

Fr Gorg Dalli (File Photo)
Fr Gorg Dalli (File Photo)

With several opinion writers expressing their criticism at the  Church’s leadership – or lack of it – the outspoken Fr Gorg Dalli yesterday insisted that the problems with the leadership are for everyone to see, arguing that the Church’s leadership is in a “disastrous” state.

But contrary to the majority of opinion writers – who have cited Archbishop’s Paul Cremona “lack of leadership,” and the church’s conspicuous absence from the civil unions bill debate – Dalli argued that the problems emanate from the Curia itself, claiming among others that some problems have existed for 25 years.

Speaking on the latest edition of Reporter, Dalli underlined that one must distinguish between the Church and the Curia, stressing that while the former is failing to identify its mission “of teaching Christian values and the gospel,” the latter is rife with leadership problems and stumbling blocks.

“The bishop is not the problem, but the problem lays at the Curia and the people in charge. There are problems which have been present for 25 years, but to date, the archbishop has been reluctant to ring out the changes,” he said.

He added that the Church’s main problem are its vision and mission. “The Church cannot pretend to be another political group which takes stands just like any other party, but conversely, it must strive to carry out its true mission: that of teaching the gospel.”

On the other hand, Dalli said, the “church’s leadership is in a disastrous state,” and argued that these problems are there for all to see.

Asked whether Pope Francis’ leadership has influenced the Church in Malta, Dalli insisted that while the Roman Catholic Church has been influenced by the new pope, the local Curia has not changed.

“The church is not the curia, it is everyone. It is an insult to tell me that I am not part of the church, but I would take it as a compliment if you tell me that I am not part of the Curia,” he said.

Moreover, Fr Dalli took umbrage at PN leader Simon Busuttil’s comments in which he blamed Joseph Muscat of “silencing the Church” especially over its stance on the civil unions’ bill – describing it as “ignorant” and “speculative.”

On his part, the former head of the Church’s environment commission, Victor Axiak, argued that the criticism levelled at the church’s “lack of vociferous stands,” is all about perception – adding that criticism at the church’s refusal to take a stand on certain controversial issues is not right.

He however said that that the leadership must give the Church a clear direction, adding that “the church must listen and understand the people more. It has to be focused on strengthening the Catholic religion and its people, and not on other superficial things.”