The Malta Independent 7 July 2020, Tuesday

The Church in Gozo out of step with Pope Francis

Sunday, 13 October 2019, 08:33 Last update: about 10 months ago

I feel that the Church in Gozo is out of step with the outlook of Pope Francis and with how the Church should live in our post modern world.

Consider the Pope's recent visit to Africa. One of his main themes was taking care of the natural environment. The world's fourth largest island, Madagascar has suffered rampant deforestation and this is more worrying because 80% of its plant and animal species are endemic. Mozambique has lost about the size of Portugal of forest since the 1970s.


In Mozambique, he deplored the "tendency towards pillaging and plundering driven by a greed generally not cultivated even by the inhabitants of these lands, nor motivated by the common good of your people". And in Madagascar, he said: "Your lovely island of Madagascar is rich in plant and animal biodiversity, yet this treasure is especially threatened by excessive deforestation. The last forests are menaced by forest fires, poaching [and] the unrestricted cutting down of valuable woodlands."

In Malta, it was like a breath of fresh air to hear the Archbishop talk about the need to be stewards of our country. This implies that we have to take care of it and that we can never pretend that we own it.

I wish that the Church in Gozo at all levels starts concretely protecting the natural environment. The Church should speak out when our villages are in danger of being transformed beyond recognition and when the pressure to build outside development zone goes unabated. And it should lead by example too. When I speak to people, I learn that the impression they have, is of a Church more interested in acquiring property and money. And sometimes vox populi vox Dei.


Joe Portelli


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