Church has lost control over feast celebrations (1)
It was not the anger present in the words of Vince Azzopardi, president of Għaqda Melita Banda San Ġużepp, that shocked me, but the arrogant attitude which shows the inner core. Reading his comments, I found myself recalling the many letters and articles published regarding various aspects of our traditional feast. Concerns always arise.
Whatever happened to an honest exchange of views where concerns are discussed and thrashed out in a civil manner? It is certainly hard to achieve such an understanding when a party involved seems to be ready to use force to get his point across.
Another concern is the role of the Church in all this. My honest gut feeling is that it has lost all control on any of these feast celebrations. I was watching Qalbinnies some Sundays ago about what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a priest. There were seasoned priests being interviewed, who covered many different roles over many years. But one of them was particularly sticking, the interview with Fr Dione. He was honest enough to just plainly say that the feast was something he did not look forward to, since it has the capacity to demolish pastoral efforts during a year. I think that most parish priests are battered into submission through bullying from these groups or individuals who represent such groups.
The Archbishop's recent meeting with youths involved in feasts is a breath of fresh air, since finally someone is making visible efforts; as was his pastoral letter two Sundays ago, with a very serious mandate to 'those of goodwill to help their brothers purify the feasts'. It was loud and clear. However, of late I have come to assume that these letters are a form of preaching to the converted. What is going to be the response to this letter from members of band clubs and organisers of our feasts? I do assume that these people do frequent the liturgical life of the Church and do not cross the sill only for funerals or when they have to hang the damask. But deep inside, something again tells me that most of them do not take their spiritual life seriously enough. Or that they must be really shallow not to take heed of such strong words.
Feasts have lost almost any semblance of religious expression; the Church has lost control; parish priests are bullied into submission; unethical manifestations take place before our very eyes and most of us prefer to keep our eyes and mouths shut.