Archbishop Charles Scicluna has drawn the ire of Labour supporters, including the party’s president, for retweeting an article which compared political patronage in Malta to Mafia-run systems in Italy.
“I, for one, am not effected at all by Scicluna’s opinions. Sometimes we agree, many a times we don’t, but there are thousands of genuine practising Catholics who are often hurt by the way the leader of their church expresses himself,” PL president Daniel Micallef said. “From criticising (prematurely and presumptously) Castille’s lighting system comparing it to Las Vegas, to now endorsing statements putting at par the Maltese Government with Camorra and Cosa Nostra. Up to him – but what about other members of the clergy? What do they think? Do they encounter as I do, genuine Catholics the majority of them of old age and still with vivid memories of the dark 60s, who are deeply hurt with this attitude?”
“It’s the way these people feel which I’m concerned about – nothing else. After all, anyone with even a basic knowledge about how the Mafia works and worked knows who its allies were, who they sponsored (sponsor?) and what omerta is.”
Meanwhile, Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield accused Scicluna of “bashing” the government during Lent and the Prime Minister’s consultant Josef Caruana said the only Mafia in Malta is the Nationalist Party “which the Archbishop has supported since he was a university student”.
The opinion piece in question, published on The Shift News, didn’t specifically call out the Labour Party but rather the system of political patronage in Malta.
“In our towns and villages everybody knows who to go to if they require a referral for a job, an appointment at hospital or planning permit,” the author wrote. “Everybody knows that if people require anything they have to approach a political party. In the main, Malta has three types of corruption. The minor corruption at individual level. When one solicits the help of politicians since they can’t go through the civil service’s bureaucracy, such as moving forward a hospital appointment, gaining a permit or license without fulfilling all criteria and asking for a job, or if you’re lucky a position of trust. The political parties have created a system where the most vulnerable in society become dependent and obliged towards politicians. A system in which ministers dish out jobs and favours. A system accepted by society.”