Watch: How does Independence Day challenge the Maltese?

    Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

    Accountably, respect for the rule of law and service of the common good are for Archbishop Charles J Scicluna some of the challenges that Independence Day presents every year to the Maltese.  Governance exercised as stewardship of the state and the international community was the theme of the homily he delivered Saturday morning during Mass at St John’s Co-Cathedral on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of Independence. He explained in some detail how all this could be done.

    Mgr. Scicluna concluded his homily by praying that Malta as a nation and the “Maltese as citizens of a sovereign state, embrace stewardship as a way of governance, a way of life”.

    Shun temptation to abuse authority

    The Archbishop told Malta’s political leaders and the rest of the congregation at St John’s   Co-Cathedral that the steward is a servant and is called to serve and not to be served; all this being done in the spirit of service to the wellbeing of society and the promotion of the common good.

    “He is called to dedicate his life for the good of others and will shun any temptation to abuse his authority for personal gain, profit or advantage,” said Mgr. Scicluna. He added that the steward should have the ability and the humility to face adversity and failure when things do not go according to plan or where tough decisions are taken in good conscience come at a heavy political price.

    You are not above the law

    The second piece of advice given by the Archbishop was that leaders have to be accountable, open to public scrutiny and censure and respect the fact that they are not above the law.

    Archbishop Scicluna added:

    “Accountability is the antidote to that sense of impunity that makes a mockery of leadership as service and of democracy as an expression of the rule of law. The steward leader, in a democracy worthy of the name, knows too well that he is accountable to the people he serves both politically and legally. He will embrace politics as a service to the common good and will respect the fact that he is not above the law.”

    Develop a true sense of the state

    Every year Independence Day challenges the Maltese to develop a true sense of the state. For Mgr. Scicluna this means that  all Maltese should grow out of “an atavistic sense of entitlement at the hand of a benevolent despot (so typical of the heritage of our colonial past) and to move forward into the very uncomfortable place of participating in the destiny of our society as co-stewards.” Quoting President Kennedy’s famous maxim Scicluna said that the Maltese have to ask what they need to do for the country and not what the country will do for them.

    “We need to move from the passive quasi-parasitic dependence on the State as the Big Brother of Orwellian fame to a proactive co-ownership of the instruments of the State as the stewardship of the wellbeing of each member of society, especially those that are the weakest and most vulnerable.”

    Stewardship on the international level

    Towards the end of his homily, the Archbishop spoke of how stewardship can be exercised on the international level particularly during this era of globalisation. Such stewardship, said Scicluna, runs counter to the petty narrow-minded populist rhetoric that puts the interest of the individual states above the wellbeing of the human family. 

    He referred to the influx of migrants from the Southern Mediterranean shores that poses a disproportionate strain on Malta’s resources and territory.  While asserting that Malta rightfully expects that other European Countries share the responsibility for all this, he added that  Malta owe it to the international community as well to the other members of the European Union “that our instruments of state and sovereign status remain at the service of the rule of law, the full respect of human rights and the stewardship of the global community.”

    Malta today celebrates the 55th anniversary of Independence Day. Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna is celebrating Mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, as part of the activities organised for this occasion.

    Malta became independent on Sepember 21, 1964.

    The full homily can be accessed here