Tributes have poured in for Fra Gwann Xerri, a much-loved priest and intellectual who died in Brazil where he worked for social justice.
Xerri had just celebrated his 74th birthday two weeks ago.
NGO Moviment Graffitti described him as an activist for social justice rather than somebody who stopped at charity.
Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo recalled one of the last messages he received from Xerri who warned the minister that he will be quieter than usual with less certainty in his voice because he had “very few certainties left”.
In an interview with Times of Malta in 2009, Fr Xerri had warned against Malta losing its humanity over immigration. He had said:
“We can regain our humanity. We can realise that if we’re going to act this way with immigrants we have no right to take a fake moral high ground by speaking against things like abortion, homosexuality, divorce and unmarried mothers.
“We have to remember that we are in Europe now, and it’s not a question of sucking out what we can, but being part of the solution. We are right to strongly demand and lobby for responsibility-sharing, but we have to understand that we can do more.
“We also need to realise that this is not the country’s only problem and that we are not in a national crisis because of it.
“The only crisis we are in is a crisis of the soul. We need to remember who we are, where we came from, what our history was like, and what our true values as Maltese and Catholics are.”
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