your Commonwealth correspondent is well informed. Catholic M.P.s on both sides of the House of Commons are worried about the impression created in England by Maltese Church leaders' views on ChurchState relations. Maltese Catholics arc even more worried about the slowness of these M.P.s to understand the true nature of Mr. Mintoff's vicious quarrel with the Church.
Anyhow, Major Patrick Wall's letter in the last issue of the CATHOLIC HERALD shows that at least one such M.P. has quite understood the real aims of Mr. M The whole question boils down to this. As Catholics living in a Catholic land, we are strongly opposed to all that clashes with Catholic Doctrine. such as laicism and State interference in Church affairs. Besides, we hold that at least in a Catholic country civil law should not go against canon law. Are we to blame for that?
1 need not say that the Ecumenical Council and the revision
of the Code of Canon I.aws have aroused the greatest interest in Malta. We shall be as progressive as thc Church will let us be, for all that unfair and biased critics may say, not more.
If some Catholic M.P.s in England honestly think that our Bishops are exaggerating, they should ask Mr. Mintoff to appeal seriously to the Pope. I say seriously, because years ago Mr. Mintoff did contact the Vatican through an intermediary. His evident intention, however, was to impose a diktat on the Church. In fact. the letter corrected and signed, though not written. by him bluntly said that those were his views and he was not prepared to compromise on principles.
The Pope's decision will be final to us according to the aphorism Roma locata causa finita. If Mr. Mintoff refuses to appeal to Rome, every English Catholic will understand what that can mean. In that hypothesis. the British Government itself could act through its Legation to the Holy See.
Be it said, however, that Maltese Catholics would deeply resent any attempt to bring pressure to bear on the Vatican.
Of course. if Mr. Mintoff is amenable to reason. the matter will be settled locally and no recourse to Rome will be required. After all, his quarrel with the Church has dragged on for several years, and never has the Vatican expressed its displeasure at the behaviour of our Bishops.
(Mgr.) G. Sailplane The Cathedral, Malta.