The Archbishop of Malta has repeated his call for “truth, justice and accountability” in the case of murdered investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Driving the news

“One cannot escape the reality that Malta is caught in the eye of a storm. People I meet express a sense of bewilderment”, Archbishop Charles Scicluna admitted in an opinion piece in the Times of Malta January 5, in reference to the political and social chaos caused by corruption around Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

“They cannot understand what has happened and how we could possibly be in such turmoil.

“I must confess that I myself have had trouble comprehending our predicament, but I also have faith that hope’s ‘ethereal balm’ can heal this gaping wound in our present to enable us to forge a better future”, Scicluna wrote.

Go deeper

Malta has been mired in a political and social crisis ever since revelations late last year that senior government officials were involved in the 2017 car-bomb murder of Caruana Galizia.

Keith Schembri, the chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and both Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and Economy Minister Chris Cardona were forced to resign over the revelations, which also saw business tycoon Yorgen Fenech arrested in connection with the reporter’s death.

Last month, Muscat himself announced he would stand down over the affair January 12.

That was as Members of the European Parliament on a fact-finding mission declared they were “deeply concerned about the integrity and credibility of the investigations into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia”.

The MEPs said they were also worried about “the widespread negative perceptions of the government’s actions in this regard, as well as the declining trust and credibility in the institutions”.

Why it matters

As protests over the investigations into Caruana Galizia’s assassination continued over last weekend, Scicluna urged in his column that Maltese society “may not be able to turn back the clock, but we can reset it”.

That’s “provided we summon our collective goodwill and undertake a profound and sincere soul-searching exercise to rediscover the principles and values upon which our society has over many years been formed”, Scicluna said.

“A democracy like ours cannot function without respect for truth and justice – in practice as well as in theory – at its core”, the archbishop warned.

“Truth requires the relevant authorities being given the freedom and resources they need to ascertain all facts about wrongdoing, without exception; while justice demands that accountability applies to all, irrespective of position or title”, Scicluna continued.

The prelate warned those “fundamental pillars” of democracy would “ring hollow” unless supported by institutions “that operate effectively and which command the confidence of the people”.

“Good governance is not a label of convenience; it is the indispensable fulcrum of our Republic, of our State.

“Nor can a democratic country function effectively unless its people display tolerance and respect for one another”, Scicluna insisted.

For the record

In his column, the archbishop referred to an early December appeal from the three Maltese bishops – Scicluna, his auxiliary Joseph Galea-Curmi and Gozo prelate Mario Grech – “that during these turbulent times we all seek to work together, with a calm sense of purpose, to promote truth and justice with charity and respect for one another”.

“We [bishops] called for unity during this saddening period of strife – because we believe our country needs a calm sense of purpose if we are to rebuild our common home together”, Scicluna repeated in his January 5 article.

“Achieving this objective requires all of us also to reflect upon our individual behaviour”, the archbishop said, urging his fellow citizens to “combat the cancer of corruption”.

He also encouraged the Maltese people “to move away from the ‘me’ mentality that has taken hold in some quarters that makes us feel we can ruin the environment for our personal gain, or claim for ourselves what belongs to everybody, or that everyone has a price”.

“We should instead ask ourselves, in a genuine spirit of solidarity and mercy, ‘What can I do to be of service to my country?’ ‘What can I contribute?’ ‘What can I give?'”, Scicluna urged.

“While we are bound to have divergent opinions, we are ultimately one nation and will only make our situation better if we move forward as one nation, irrespective of our differences, promoting peace and justice together”, the archbishop concluded.

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