The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

Jesus visits a festa

Sunday, 22 September 2019, 09:33 Last update: about 10 months ago

A local newspaper published a write-up by a Catholic priest from a Third World country praising Malta's pagan festas , "defying modernity" - and embracing paganism, kitsch and idolatry.

What would Jesus see if he had to visit a Maltese festa?

At the promenade in St Julian's, Jesus would notice gaudy "pavaljuni", with over-sized scrolls in red and yellow painted all over them, as well as kitsch-baroque, wooden pedestals, on which are mounted statues of angels with effeminate faces.


In the early evening, he'll witness a vulgar display by local bird-killers as they show off their fake machismo by firing guns from the roof of the drab-looking parish church. When he walks down from the church to  Spinola Bay, Jesus would observe stalls selling  junk food and all kinds of trinkets and cheap toys.

The "grand finale" of the festa consists of "solemn" mummeries by the clergy, including the parading of the statue of an effeminate-looking St Julian, flaunting perm hair, gaudily-embroidered vestments, and gold boots to match.

Imagine Jesus at the Sunday morning march, when the beer flows freely among the drunken revellers. At least, he's not at Hamrun to witness the intense "Christian" pique and rivalry during the morning march, and the revelry that follows after they all get drunk.

As a final stop to his visit at a typical Maltese festa , Jesus decides to go and pray at one of the old Maltese parish churches. The "house of God" he steps into looks like an ornate ballroom in 18th century Venice. After viewing the church replete with silver and gold, and red damask and crystal chandeliers, he cries out in sorrow:"What have you done with my teachings?"

Malta's bishops and priests have a lot to answer for on Judgement Day.


John Guillaumier

St Julian's

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