Sunday, 29 November 2009

Independent: A letter to Mark Montebello OP
29.11.9? by Martin Bugeja

If it’s any consolation, your Maker made certain that you appeared on this earth in the 20th century and not the 15th. For, as surely as night follows day, your fellow Dominican Tomas de Torquemada OP would have had you consigned to the flames ages ago, as soon as you started to open your mouth to condemn the many facets of hypocrisy that stand out a mile in this powerful Maltese branch of the Roman Catholic Church, headed by holier-than-thou arch-conservatives who believe that they have a monopoly on the truth – and anyone else daring to speak their mind is sent to Coventry in subtle or not so subtle ways.

You were right of course. And you had the guts to say it out loud. Any male or female member of the local clergy engaging in the physical or sexual abuse of children needn’t worry about ending up in Corradino for a spell. They just once in a blue moon might end up being arraigned... but that’s a different story, as you well know. Such a fate is only reserved for Maltese abusers who don’t wear dog collars around their necks or veils over their heads. To hell with those shattered innocent young lives!

What’s important is that no whiff of scandal is allowed to waft its way into the consciences of those members of the faithful who can find it within themselves to call a spade a spade. Did you by any chance read last Friday’s (27 November 2009) article in The Guardian on the devastating report pertaining to the sexual and physical abuse of children by certain members of the Irish clergy from 1975 to 2004? The article quotes this salient piece from the three-volume report: “The maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church and the preservation of its assets was more important than justice for the victims”.

Regarding your recent pronouncements on the public display of that gibbet upon which Jesus paid the ultimate price for speaking His mind, I would like to inform your patronising superiors that I, Martin Bugeja can think for myself – thank you very much – and consequently did not take offence at them.

On the contrary, I wholeheartedly agree with all that you said and add that certain miscarriages of justice have occurred in courtrooms adorned with the Cross. You’re so right. It’s not displaying it, wearing it, kissing it, kneeling before it or boasting of your love for it that counts. That’s easy stuff! What the Living Image on it wants us to do is live by it. That’s the hard part, as we all know.

Like yourself, I differentiate between Jesus Christ and certain celibate ruling members of His Church that I liken to salt of the earth that has lost its flavour. In fact I don’t consider myself a Catholic any more but a person trying, succeeding and failing to live according to the words of Jesus Christ.

And I certainly won’t be waving any yellow and white flags around, come April 2010. I think I’ll pack my bags for that weekend and fly to a super – secular – country like Holland, where divorce and same-sex marriages are allowed, and ask a few of its citizens if they know anything about loving their neighbour.

[P. Attard's Note: Pope Benedict XVI will visit Malta between 17 and 18 April 2010.]

No comments:

Post a Comment