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Archbishop stresses need for strong ethical behaviour

Christian values can build an honest society

Victory Day celebrations had tourists clamouring to get a holiday snap of the band marching down Republic Street, in Valletta yesterday but many members of Parliament did not show the same enthusiasm with only a dozen turning up.

The light drizzle and the lower temperature must have come as a relief to the soldiers in full uniform who saluted President George Abela on his arrival.

As soon as the formalities of inspecting the guard of honour and standing to attention for the national anthem were over, the considerable crowd that assembled to watch the parade, flooded into St John's Co-Cathedral for Mass.

Victory Day is a national holiday marking the 1565 victory of the Maltese over the Turks following the Great Siege and the end of hostilities of WWII.

The co-cathedral was brilliantly lit up, revealing the intricate carvings that cover the walls of the grand building, where the liturgical functions of most of the national events are held.

Although notices are displayed in the temple prohibiting photographs and filming, a number of tourists managed to hide their video recorders in bags and behind items of clothing in a bid to capture the atmosphere.

During the homily, Archbishop Paul Cremona called for a common definition of what constitutes the truth as the guiding light for society. Malta, he said, needed to give greater importance to values such as loyalty, respect and solidarity.

Throughout history, the truth of Jesus Christ had guided the Maltese people, he said, adding that the Maltese showed wisdom when they chose Catholicism as the religion of the state.

Perhaps at the time, the people gave more weight to the religious aspect of that choice but, today, one could appreciate better the wisdom of that decision and the fact that it brought with it the Christian values that could build an honest society with a firm sense of community.

The Church, Mgr Cremona said, needed to convey its message that the practising of one's religion went hand in hand with Christian values. The state needed to consider whether it should fill the void left by certain relativism of current culture with the values that stemmed from Christianity.

He lamented the fact that society discussed material and economic developments but hardly ever spoke of the human values of loyalty, respect, solidarity and what hindered them: egoism, pride, greed and abuse of power.

In the financial world there was never, or very little, talk on ethics and mode of conduct before the recent financial crisis. But after the crisis, several sectors started to talk about the need for more ethical values in the financial world.

Similarly, in society there were enough clear signs of the destruction of moral and social values. The antidote, Mgr Cremona said was a clear social vision that accepted right and wrong, good and bad.

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