The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Watch: Greed one of the diseases spreading in Maltese society, Archbishop warns

Tuesday, 21 September 2021, 10:38 Last update: about 2 months ago

Greed is one of the diseases that is spreading in Maltese society, and the uglification of Malta is one of its symptoms, Archbishop Charles Scicluna warned on Tuesday.

He was delivering the homily during a pontifical mass held at St John’s Co-Cathedral on the occasion of Independence Day.

Quoting St Paul, Archbishop Scicluna said: “for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”

We need not mention recent events to understand that these words by Saint Paul are filled with wisdom and truth. One of the diseases that is spreading in Maltese society is greed. Greed is an expression of extreme individualism: if I am satisfied then I do not care about anybody else. But those who are content with what they have, those who eat their daily bread with gratitude because it was earned by their hard work, with a pure heart, a clear conscience and a great sense of justice, not only will they have enough but they would also have given a valuable contribution to society. One of the symptoms of greed is the uglification of the Maltese landscape,” Scicluna said.

Is it necessary to tarnish the beauty of our country for a few bucks? Aren’t we capable of controlling our desire for new projects and combining this with wisdom and prudence to create buildings and projects that are aesthetically pleasing and that are in keeping with our country’s typical landscape? Isn’t this the heritage that we received?

If we look around us at the city of Mdina, the bastions of Valletta and Cottonera, we do not only see functional buildings but also harmonious and captivating architecture. Can we say the same thing about the buildings through which we are destroying the sense of beauty in our country? Isn’t this a sign of greed, especially when we are building not necessarily to provide homes but simply to make more money. Some call this progress; but at what cost? Many times, as Saint Paul says, if we fall into temptation and are trapped by greed, we end up not only depriving ourselves and our children of the quality of life that we deserve, but we will also be depriving future generations.

We are all eager for Malta’s reputation to always be one that we are proud of. However, before blaming others and their harsh judgement, we ought to stop and examine our conscience. Is the craving for money, easy money, also destroying the moral backbone of our country? And what kind of independence are we celebrating if we are slaves of the craving for power and greed for money? These are egoistic traits that do not give us freedom, and if we are celebrating our independence and the freedom of our country from all colonial and military conditioning, we need to stop and think: have we succumbed to some form of slavery, the slavery of our own greed for power or money?

Saint Paul’s words do not condemn the economy, finance or all that symbolises progress or economic wealth. Ultimately, the passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke teaches us that Jesus also had his own fundraisers – those who helped and served him from their own wealth. But today, on Independence Day 2021, we ought to ask ourselves: does money control me or do I use it for the good of others?

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