President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami yesterday described Fr Peter Serracino Inglott as “a great man of many facets” and a close collaborator to whom he remained indebted for helping him shape his political endeavours.
One of Fr Peter’s biggest contributions was his vision of a society based on dialogue, something which Dr Fenech Adami, former PN leader and Prime Minister, set as his goal throughout his many years in politics.
“I owe Fr Peter a lot in terms of what I have been able to achieve. He was near me in my thinking, in my proposals, but always took a backstage role. Whatever I have achieved, I owe much of it to Peter Serracino Inglott,” he said.
He was speaking last night during the launch of PSI: Kingmaker, a biography of Fr Peter by Daniel Massa which celebrates the life of the much-loved priest and professor just 20 months after his death. The event was held under the patronage of President George Abela at San Anton Palace in Balzan.
An emotional Dr Fenech Adami recalled how he had first met Fr Peter, as he referred to him, at the University library and they remained “very close” throughout his political career as Leader of the Opposition and even more so as Prime Minister.
“He was a man one could rely on and I did rely on him on many issues. I was always impressed with his way of doing things... I don’t think he looked at any event as eventful but simply accepted whatever came along,” he said.
I owe Fr Peter a lot in terms of what I have been able to achieve- Eddie Fenech Adami
Dr Fenech Adami recalled how Fr Peter “shaped” the Nationalist Party into a Christian Democratic Party, giving it “a definite line of vision” which although fashionable in Italy, was something which had never been heard of in Malta.
It was Fr Peter’s vision of a “dialogical society” which influenced Dr Fenech Adami in the subsequent years in politics, helping give direction to Malta and the party.
He spoke highly of the priest who would “listen rather than impose his ideas”, a sentiment also shared by Fr Joe Borg, who spoke about Fr Peter’s “extraordinary” skill of intertwining his priestly vocation with politics, which he viewed “as a means of caring for mankind”.
Fr Peter lived his priestly vocation by being actively involved in policy-making, Fr Borg said, recalling how former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff questioned whether a priest should have been so actively involved in politics.
“Fr Peter is the priest who proposed a society based on dialogue, the priest who advised politicians on the way forward for the country, the priest who tried to mend bridges through dialogue, but the priest who also lived his vocation. It is not something you could expect from an average priest but he was not an average man,” Fr Borg said.
Senior lecturer Adrian Grima described the book as a “finely-written monumental biography” which gives the reader an in-depth look into the Malta that Fr Peter lived in. It also had, he said, an autobiographical element which brought out the similarities between Fr Peter and Prof. Massa, and their “natural affinities”.
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