Opinion: The Kappillan of Malta

I found Father Marc Andre Camilleri’s impassionate apologia for the cafeteria plans on Christ the King Basilica more than convincing. To be honest, I did not need any convincing, and I found the whole ruckus to be quite an annoying waste of time.

The Times journalist interviewing the Kappillan seemed to be acutely aware of the need to further exaggerate the mountain that had been made out of this particularly insignificant molehill.

I have no particular opinion on the idea of cafés or restauration points within monumental, historical or simply religious buildings. Still, the Kappillan’s arguments were a sound reply to the intense criticism that had been directed at his plan. That is where my interest really lies.

I was intrigued by the rapidity with which everyone and his brother turned judge and jury of this particular permit application, subjecting it to an extreme level of scrutiny. Suddenly, we had experts in scripture citation combined with an army of amateur satirists competing for the best sketch on the matter.

God’s Café became everybody’s business to the point that, as I pointed out earlier, the Kappillan had to provide a public explanation. Which is fine. But, and there is a but, of course.

On the same day this news was burning across the papers, we also read of a Parliamentary Question by Nationalist MP Albert Buttigieg. He wanted to know which restaurants have been granted encroachment rights on public land – particularly in the Gzira and Sliema seafront.

If we had plans for the encroachment, the reasoning went, then we would know what is public land and what is encroached.

Lands Minister Zrinzo Azzopardi replied in all his wisdom that the Lands Authority is not authorised to publish the details of private operators.

Let that sink in. Information about the granting of rights on public land cannot be published. The Lands Authority needs authorisation to do so. Which begs the question: Who needs to authorise the authority?

This is not the first time either that private operators are protected by ministers with concessions shrouded in secrecy.

This Shift report earlier this month documented how (Tourism) Minister Clayton Bartolo stonewalled questions concerning concessions related to the occupation of public land in Comino by insisting that such information was “commercially sensitive”.

What weight does the general public give to that kind of reply? Is there any fragment of the outrage expressed when the news was out that coffee would be served above a church parvis?

Pavements along our promenades are full of obstructions. The streets of our capital are a free-for-all for tables and chairs. Permits and sanctions for monstrosities are the norm. The aftershock of corrupt authorities is being felt daily.

What does our Prime Minister say? Well, he took an early feel of the pulsating anger of the baying crowd (before the Kappillan’s sensible defence was out) and, in his traditional smirk, suggested that the Paola church withdraw its plans.

Oh, the cheek. Oh, the gall. A champion of misinformation and distraction, he jumps at the opportunity to turn the church into the new evil and danger.

The Kappillan said that he is sure God would not be offended by the café on the roof. The biggest danger is that we become a people who take offence at the wrong time and the wrong place, failing to set high standards for those in whose hands we have entrusted our public land.

The late fishermen were all going one way, down the harbour; the early stone-masons were going another, up to the heights where rich men were always building and poor men were always propping up poor houses. Lawyers were hurrying to catch an early tide of profitable envy and malice; shop-keepers were slamming back their barred doors, and rolling down the bamboo curtains which softly replaced them. Priests, crossing a slit of sunshine in a narrow street, passed businessmen who predictably kept to the shadows.” – from The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Montserrat.

                           

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chris
chris
1 month ago

“The Kappillan said that he is sure God would not be offended by the café on the roof.” Pull the other Rev. Entrepreneur.
The author should have stated quite clearly.
This is a case of Greedy Church Vs Greedy Government.

Eagle 1
Eagle 1
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

Do I smell an atheist? As the smell is stronger than the Kappillan’s coffee! Piggery at its best? You’re sure missing the wood for trees as to where the piggery is blatantly slapped in our faces just by simply walking along any front on this rock doomed for desertification in concrete, uglification in abodes and rape of its ODZ! We’re now at a point that pigs can fly.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

It makes more sense if they open the empty churches for the homeless by offering them shelter at night.

Anthony T Mamo
Anthony T Mamo
1 month ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

To start with, it is the duty of the government to see that there are no homeless people. The church has institutions doing that as a MISSION and has been doing it for much longer than any government ever did.

Mary Shephard
Mary Shephard
1 month ago

Once upon a time ‘good people were scandalised, saying that…. money spent on oil to anoint Jesus ‘ feet, shld hv been used for the poor……2024 years later the Kapillan is told to house the homeless! House homeless in a building crying out for repair? This Kapillan should be praised for lateral thinking. Using the parable of the coins given to 3 people, Jesus made it clesr that we are all ecpected to use God given assets.

chris
chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary Shephard

OMG! The parable of the three coins is metaphorical. Nothing to do with striving to enrich oneself.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy so long as it is not at the expense of the poor. So go have a good look at the Vatican’s financial and accounting records.

Basically the Kapillan wants to raise money to preserve the architectural fineries and gold etc. within the church already owned by the church.

Piggery at its best.

Catald Muscat
Catald Muscat
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

The parable of the coins 3 persons given 5 coins, 2 coins and 1 coin the message of Christ in this Parable is that we should use the talents given to us by God and that is our dear Kappillan doing…using his energy to praise the Lord.
You must have cheek to attack the Church that handed over to the government thousands of thousands of acres of land in Malta to have PN PL making millionares richer with public land.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  chris

I don’t think you actually saw the video of that’s what you think of going on. Also, how much do you think they’re planning on charging that they can get gold?

Polly
Polly
1 month ago

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London has been serving food in its crypt for decades and frequented by several Maltese people along with tourists worldwide. Church benefactors that are required for the upkeep and maintenance keep shrinking nowadays and other solutions have to be found. So what is the problem with new ideas?

John Caruana
John Caruana
1 month ago

Maybe it is a case of a needy, rather than a greedy church. Parishes face rising costs and dwindling congregations. It could make sense for empty churches to be offered as shelters for the homeless or, possibly for other social purposes. But even shelters need to be maintained, operated and staffed. Where will the money come from then?

Anthony Nani
Anthony Nani
1 month ago

There is another St Paul’s cathedral which is in Valletta that has rented out its cellar as a pleasant catering outlet. God did not complain.

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