Let no man put the saints asunder
With the current debate which is getting hotter by the day regarding the introduction of divorce, I would like to highlight the fact that some form of divorce, or at least separation, has been practised in Malta for many decades. I am referring to the division between saints.
I hope that the Virgin Mary will forgive me for bringing Her into this dirty business but it seems that some saints have a grudge against her. To list but a few we find St George and even her husband St Joseph. To make matters worse, even her alter egos, such as St Mary of the Lily or St Mary of the Scapular are not on speaking terms. Then we have St Joseph at loggerheads with St Philip and many other instances.
I am aware that the Church administration is trying to solve these problems but first of all it must correct certain mistakes and bad decisions taken in the past. I am all in favour of controlling fireworks. Fireworks, although very beautiful to watch, are dangerous, noisy and too much money goes up in smoke. I say this when one considers the fact that certain localities famous for the firework piques have done little to embellish their parish church.
Band clubs and band marches are also a sore point. Have the authorities ever considered imposing on the clubs that they must unite in all festivities and that band marches are held on a reciprocal basis? Draconian decisions need to be taken. Unite all feasts within the same parish. Have a week or two of organised celebrations. Have two statues within the same procession. There are many options. Unfortunately the current trend is to add to the divisions. The titular feast is as important as all the inhabitants of the locality accept it as such and participate in it.
Having said all this I cannot fathom why the authorities want to curtail street decorations. These are organised by groups of youths that put much work into them. These street decorations are part of our heritage and folklore. It will be a sad day if these are forced to die. Money saved from such decorations will never find its way to other activities, worthwhile or otherwise.
There are hardly any recreational youth centres in our parishes. These groups have filled in such a gap by keeping youths off the streets, keeping them busy and at the same time learning a trade.
I stress on draconian decisions but these should be in an effort to achieve unity. I would state that each parish should be given an ultimatum – unite or else no feast, titular or otherwise! I shall not be surprised if the authorities will continue on their misguided mission. Do not alienate the youths. It is better to have them whiling away the time building, sewing and painting than running in the streets seeking unhealthy and dangerous alternatives.