BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
PHE demand of some 2Maltese clergy for reform of Church finances on the island has been calmed by the intervention of Pope Paul.
The Pope has stated that most of the reforms recommended by an American firm, McKinsey and Co., would be made. This was announced by Archbishop Gonzi to a packed congregation in St. John's Cathedral, Valetta.
McKinsey and Co., management consultants, were appointed by Mgr. Luigi Ligutti, Apostolic Visitor to Malta, to examine the financial position of the Church in Malta, and to prescribe remedies for the financial mismanagement of which it was being accused by the island's Left-wing Press.
The main bone of contention was undoubtedly the fact that the Church owns about oneseventeenth of the property on Malta and its attendant island, Gozo. Private companies would like to be able to develop this to build hotels and other attractions for the tourist trade.
Archbishop Gonzi, recognising that criticism would not be stilled unless an examination of the situation was made, offered to start the investigation and finance it from his own sources of income.
But on March 25 it was announced that Mgr. Ligutti's work in the Maltese Archdiocese had enabled the Holy See to obtain important information on simplifying and organising Church finances.
It was further announced, under the authority of Cardinal Confalioneri, Prefect of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation, that Mgr. Ligutti's work in Malta was finished and the provisions of the McKinsey report were suspended.
The Pope has now decided to set up a joint commission, made up of Maltese and representatives of the Holy See, which will ensure that the maximum possible use is made of the McKinsey report. It will be adopted according to the exigencies of the island.
The McKinsey report's main recommendations were that a management agency run by laymen should be established. It also wanted to set up a financial institution where all Church funds should be banked, and the Church could begin to earn dividends by investing its money.
Archbishop Gonzi is expected to have personal talks this week with the Pope on reforming the Church property system in Malta.