THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF HIS GRACE THE ARCHBISHOP OF MALTA, Mgr. MICHAEL GONZI, K.B.E.
IT IS WELL to note that the -C Commissioner General for Malta admits in his letter in the "Catholic Herald ", for May 24, both at the beginning and at the end, the issue is not one between Archbishop Gonzi and Mr. Mintoff, as the Party line had it last year. It is a matter of principle.
In fact the Commissioner General: (1) does not seem to like the fact that the Archbishop is an " unelected authority "; (2) holds that the Archbishop wants to exercise " absolute control " over the Government. especially if it is a Labour Government; (3) and believes that the Archbishop is swayed by politico— religious elements to enter the same field as the electorate. i.e.. the political field.
All these accusations have been heard before.
That a Bishop is not elected by, and thus not subject to, the votes of the electorate is a fact which needs no apology and which every Catholic accepts as such.
That the Archbishop wants to exercise " absolute control " over the Government, is the fabrication of those who want to separate Church from State. But the Archbishop reserves the right, as it is his duty. to speak out on all matters which concern the welfare of the souls committed to his pastoral care. e.g., the danger of laws contrary to Catholic teaching. facilities for the teaching of Catechism, the censorship of films. the setting up of a gambling-den politely called a Casino), the removal of sacred images from churches.
NO DISCRIMINATION THE various Catholic Associa
tions do not discriminate against members on political grounds, so long as they are not opposed to the Church. 'these members. though having, as is their right, their own political opinions. cannot take part at the same time in party politics.
Whenever and wherever the faithful are instructed not to vote for a particular party, it is because that party is clearly against the Church.
Notwithstanding the malicious reports published last year, there has never been any official mention of imposing religious sanctions. Should such a necessity arise—and it is to be earnestly hoped that it will not—it would be met not from any political motives. but solely from the need to safeguard the salvation of souls.
It has become a commonplace I now for every and any move of the Archbishop to be tarred with the political brush by certain niembers of the Malta Labour Party. As to the statement that " twothirds of the Maltese back Mintoff against the Archbishop", for