The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

‘Sex at Rabat’ and Bishop Cremona

Simon Mercieca Thursday, 30 October 2014, 08:26 Last update: about 6 years ago

Is there a connection between this case of an alleged sexual abuse by a "priest" from Rabat, Fr Charles Fenech, and the resignation of Archbishop Cremona? I am sure that the true motives that brought and hastened Cremona's resignation were not related to politics and pressure from so-called Nationalist priests (as pontificated by a number of media pundits of the left) but are related to his kind-heartedness and the resulting inability to take action, where action was most needed, starting from his own Dominican Order.

The news about criminal proceedings for these alleged sexual harassments, which have allegedly taken place in some convent but not necessarily at Rabat, was made public after Cremona is no more at the helm of the Church. Now, it is up to the civil authorities, the court of criminal justice to decide on these accusations. I will continue to consider the accused "priest" innocent until proven guilty. It is expedient to point out that Fr Fenech is not a priest but a friar of the Dominican Order.

The Church is not a court of justice. Its measuring gauge is different to that of the Secular State. I am sure that it is here where Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna can contribute a new approach towards the Catholic Church in Malta. Definitely, Bishop Scicluna is not a person to shy off from taking action and assume responsibility. He has a strong will and determination to take action, where action is most needed.

This story should be taken as a blessing in disguise for the Catholic Church. The new bishop can start with a clean slate though the new incumbent will still inherit the burdens and mistakes of his predecessors. But only once he has cleared up the mess and brought the situation under control can he really start a new leaf. Nevertheless, as proceedings in this case are already under way, the new bishop is less likely to be haunted, as unfortunately happened to Cremona, with skeletons in the cupboard. On a different note, this story has obliterated all the chances for the new bishop of Malta to be from one of our Religious Orders. All that is left for at least one of these Orders is embarrassment. Now the Dominican Order needs to start thinking again how to express new charitable feelings to redeem itself. 

The public reaction to this news is the hardest aspect. The Internet community has a right, or believes it does, to say what it wants. This item of news is already serving, yet again, as another opportunity for many individuals to gush forth all their bile and hatred. Nonetheless, what we will hear from the Marxists, and their Liberal bedfellows in blogs, does not blemish the importance of the Gospel. The Bible remains a book not for the squeamish. 

It is here where Cremona has failed abysmally, leading to his personal meltdown and that of the Catholic Church in Malta. I am sure that he sincerely believed that the role of the bishop is to find beauty in every imperfection. Cremona thought that he could be a voice for the voiceless. Unfortunately, he failed to set up a proper platform with the result that his voice got waylaid and character flaws within his Church are now doing the rest. Having failed to address abuse of whatever nature, Cremona now risks being perceived as having colluded with that same abuse he had the personal and pastoral responsibility to eradicate.

"Biomorphism" is a term used in art criticism, which I shall borrow to explain the role that Cremona's church should have undertaken. Instead of creating a biomorphic church, where abstract forms or images are used to evoke all types of living forms, (finally this is the role of theology), Cremona has led his Church in Malta to be overcome by our contemporary hyper-realism: this has submerged his church and caused the unceremonious end to his bishopric. 

 

 

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