Yesterday there was a very surreal debate in Parliament. Undoubtedly different people will have different takes about it.

Some would point towards The Malta Independent, which on a number of consecutive days published the results of its survey showing that people are really concerned about corruption in government circles with the Panama Papers scandal being the main, though not only, culprit. In the light of these results they would describe the attitude of the Government MP as, at best, surreal. They hardly addressed the issue.

Others would say that the Government was right to emphasise all the good it believes it did, is doing and will do for the country. They consider the Panama Papers scandal as a passing blip.

Government says that it has the confidence of Parliament. The Opposition says that it has the confidence of the people.

In my other incarnation as an opinion writer in the Sunday Times of Malta I have already said that no amount of huffing, puffing and concocting of stories clearly aimed at alienating the public from the scandal will drive the scandal away.

However whether you agree with this or not may I suggest that you – and most importantly politicians on different sides of the divide, most of whom are decent and very honest persons – reflect on the following words of Pope Emeritus Benedict. It is good to learn how the real God manages power-as-service, in total contrast to what is done by the self-appointed gods who rule it over the masses.

"Anyone who is not numbered among the powerful will be thankful whenever he sees someone powerful not helping himself at life’s table. When the powerful person sees the power or possessions that have been given him as a mandate to be of service to others…As long as power and wealth are seen as ends in themselves, then power is always a power to be used against others and possessions will always exclude others. At that moment when the Lord of the world comes and undertakes the slave’s task of foot-washing – which is, in turn, only an illustration of the way he washes our feet all through our lives – we have a totally different picture.

"God, who is absolute power itself, doesn’t want to trample on us, but kneels down before us so as to exalt us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be small. He doesn’t always have to take the highest place or the box seats.

"God is trying in this way to wean us away from our ideas of power and domination. He shows us that it is in fact a trifling matter if I can give orders of a great crowd of people and have everything I could want – and that it is truly great if I undertake the service of others.

"Only when power is changed from the inside, when our relationship to possessions is changed from within and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and people be able to live at peace with one another. Jesus shows us what man ought to be, how he ought to live, and what we ought to work toward."

- Benedict XVI, 'Benedictus, Day by Day with Pope Benedict', Ignatius Press.


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