I own a comfortable, ground floor, two-bedroom maisonette in Mosta in a central, much sought-after area. I could easily rent it out for €700 or more per month. With this extra cash I might finally start living comfortably because the salary I receive from the diocesan Curia is not enough to make ends meet.
Yet I decided not to make money out of it.
A foreign student came to pray at the Thursday Holy Hour. After prayers we started a lively chat and I discovered why many of his compatriots are leaving in droves to find work abroad, especially in the EU. Here in Malta many of them are paying hundreds of euros for rent but then leave after a few years because they sense a deterioration in the standard of living and spiralling inflation.
I felt ashamed. There is in Christian thought the concept of collective sin, and as the Catholic Social Teaching says, “structures of sin”. How can I stand upright on Judgment Day when the Lord Jesus tells me: “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in your home.” (Matthew 25,43).
So I decided to let this foreigner into my maisonette for free. Now there are three in this place and I don’t charge them rent.
I do feel to be the worst sinner in the world but I get consolation from the Gospel parable. “There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he replied but later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the second one and told him the same thing. ‘I will sir,’ he said. But he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? ‘The first,’ they answered.” (Matthew 21,28-31)
Preaching is easy ... acting is harder. This decision means I am back in dire straits and will have to again start doing those petty jobs to earn that extra cash to survive. Usually I plant trees and rebuild eroded rubble walls in the countryside – a skill I learnt from my maternal grandfather in Wied il-Għasel. Being a manual job, it is mentally relaxing.
This revelation about my personal life may be a surprise to many – especially those in the Catholic media who have denigrated me as a xenophobe spreading hate after attending Norman Lowell’s birthday party.
So why on earth did I attend when I do not share many of his views including his esoteric visions, his anti-Judaism etc.? Why did I do this act of madness?
I did it (and will do it again) not just to shock and awe, like the bare-breasted Femen protestors in front of Vladimir Putin who did not look the other way – I would do like him. There are other reasons.
I hail from Mosta and July 29 is a significant date for Mosta parishioners because it coincides with the ħruġ min-niċċa – an untranslatable term, for it is not just the physical exit from the niche of the statue of Santa Maria in preparation of the village feast.
But more importantly this date coincides with the first anniversary of the solemn proclamation of the elevation of Mosta parish church to the title of Minor Basilica by no less than the Archbishop.
What a splendid coincidence! If only I knew that it would cause such a commotion, I would have taken with me holy water to bless Norman – he could do with a blessing.
Joking apart, levels of lunacy are relative in a world that is a stage. Take for example our local Church.
We are all heaping praises on Pope Francis and one person at RTK has appointed himself the Supreme Pontiff’s chief Swiss Guard. He described our bishop as the special envoy in the world suppressing sexual abuse.
However, I would be bemused to see what Bergoglio actually thinks of what is happening in our diocese. I’m referring to the honouring of our parish churches and clergy with titles and dignified designations that serve only to feed pride, pomposity and rivalry in the flock.
This kind of racism is like pornography ... everybody secretly watches it but nobody wants to admit it in public
We seem to forget that when the Pope appeared in the balcony just after being elected, his first shake-up was the refusal to wear the mozzetta (a fancy clerical vestment).
But in Malta, despite the fact that the majority of priests are well over 60, we’re still creating collegiates with their associated paraphernalia and canonries which will only serve to attract to the Church wierdos who promulgate a type of clericalism that in the future will make the problem of sexual abuse much worse.
I also wonder what Bergoglio would think of our lavish restorations, redecorations and commercialisation of our churches and artistic patrimony. Just after his election, Pope Francis told about 5,000 journalists gathered for an audience: “How I would like a church that is poor and for the poor.”
And what about the big chasm in stipends between the priests who actually work (parish priests and associates) and others with lucrative university jobs who consider themselves to be the defenders of papal teachings?
During a general audience last year the Pope said that the devil enters the soul from the pockets. That is why our possessed nation needs a communal exorcism. We have become so obsessed with the gaming and financial services industries that we have closed our eyes to the transformation of our country from a republic based on work to a pirate island in the Mediterranean.
Nobody questions whether the tax planning and avoidance schemes are sinful. They were legally created by no less than Lawrence Gonzi from Catholic Action who many regard as the bastion of Christian values. But what is legal is not necessarily moral.
What Gonzi created is evil to the core and anti-European. Joseph Muscat simply exploited it.
We created an economic structure that needs droves and droves of foreigners to keep it running.
With this perspective who is the true racist and enemy of European solidarity and cohesion? Am I racist by just stating facts? “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galations 4,16).
But this kind of racism is like pornography ... everybody secretly watches it (almost) but nobody wants to admit it in public. Then comes the addiction.
That is why the mainstream media denigrates Lowell. However, they secretly admit than Norman is appealing to many. Consequently, they denigrate him as being the court jester of Maltese politics and an asset to easily ridicule Imperium Europa.
Despite his oddities our local court jester managed to triple his votes. Simultaneously, the Archbishop’s seminary and RTK radio are at their historical lows. Even Radju Marija has surpassed RTK.
“It is by their fruit that you will know them.” (Matthew 7,16).
The director of Radio Maria Italia, Fr Livio Fanzaga, said that Salvini won the election because he held the Rosary beads in his hands. The writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time before a local version of Salvini sprouts.
This is what I meant when I said the seeds sowed will bear fruit in the near future. There are many promising young souls among the 10,000 voters who opted for Imperium Europa warts and all in the last European Parliament election. Thus, I want to guide which plant will grow into a tree in order to keep it on the straight and narrow.