The Bishops of Malta have pleaded for “unity, truth and justice” in the midst of political and social unrest over the investigation into the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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“As spiritual leaders of Catholics in Malta and Gozo, we Bishops wish to make an appeal 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”, bishops Mario Grech, Charles J. Scicluna, Joseph Galea-Curmi wrote in a message December 3.

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The prelates’ statement came as the head of a European Parliament emergency fact-finding mission to Malta, Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, called on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to quit immediately following “serious errors of judgment” in the Caruana Galizia case.

Muscat has promised to step down mid-January to give his Labour Party time to pick a new leader.

But Mandy Mallia, Caruana Galizia’s sister, said in a demonstration Tuesday that the time for Muscat to resign is now.

“The EU must put pressure on him to go”, said Mallia.

Mallia’s call came after both Muscat’s chief-of-staff, Keith Schembri, and the PM’s Tourism Minister, Konrad Mizzi, resigned after investigators alleged they had links with Yorgen Fenech, the property and gambling tycoon who has been charged with conspiracy in Caruana Galizia’s murder.

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In the meantime, the Maltese Bishops joined President George Vella in appealing for unity amidst the turmoil.

“The difficult times we are going through should not exacerbate division”, the bishops stated.

“They challenge us to work together in a spirit of collaboration and for the greater good of Maltese society in general, so that our institutions may carry out their duty with due diligence and with impartiality”.

“As in every society, disagreement is inevitable”, bishops Grech, Scicluna and Galea-Curmi acknowledged.

“However, we are always called to express our legitimate opinions with respect for one another and with respect for the truth, without falling into the trap of hatred, lies and violence”.

The bishops called on Maltese and Gozitans to “seek the common good in a spirit of true loyalty to the principles of the Constitution”.

“We pray that our people’s passion for justice, truth and honesty, is expressed with respect towards each other, and with a strong rejection of violence, whether verbal or physical”, Grech, Scicluna and Galea-Curmi concluded.

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