[WATCH] Society will eventually ditch materialism and seek God again, Gozo bishop insists

Bishop Mario Grech was a guest on TVM's Xtra, discussing the relevance of the church in a rapidly changing society

Gozo Bishop Mario Grech
Gozo Bishop Mario Grech

Gozitan society is going through a period where materialism is suppressing the need for God but Bishop Mario Grech believes the time will come when people will feel the need to seek God once again.

The Gozo bishop was a guest on Xtra hosted by Saviour Balzan on Thursday, where the two discussed a range of subjects, including the challenges faced by a church trying to remain relevant in an increasingly materialistic world.

Asked by Balzan whether the church was caught unprepared with the rate of change society has experienced in recent years, and whether it has done enough to keep up with people’s aspirations, Grech said he was conscious of the challenges and actively tried to address them.

“I am a little less satisfied with how much participation there is in this vision, however,” he said, adding that there were still those who had not yet woken up to the reality of the revolution society is passing through.

“By revolution, I don’t mean it in a negative sense. To me, it is a very positive development… I would say [the Gozo diocese is] living in the best of times.”

Asked why he believed it was the best of times, Grech said that because though God currently appears to be far from society’s horizons, with people deriving satisfaction from other things, this was just an “illusion” and they would soon revert to a situation where they feel the need to look for God.

“[Materialism] is suppressing the need for God. We are substituting the satisfaction only God can give mankind, with the satisfaction provided by material things,” Grech said. “But even though the masses are moving in this direction, I still encounter individuals who feel that what really satisfies the human heart are not material possessions, but the infinite.”

He went on to say that as far as he was concerned “the infinite” was “God who revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ”.

“For others it may be something else. This is not something unique to the Church. To be open to the infinite is something natural to all mankind," Grech said.

Balzan pointed out that the bishop’s words were likely to only resonate with people who shared his beliefs, and not with the masses the church was trying to attract, with Grech however calling for patience.

“We must be patient, so that when people come round to asking the truly fundamental questions of life, we will have an answer for them,” he insisted.

“Today, perhaps, is not the right time. The message might not be understood. There is indifference. But this shouldn’t dishearten us from carrying on our mission. And our mission is precisely to share this conviction, and this wealth, with all mankind.”

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