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Update 3: Fr Peter Serracino Inglott passes away

Peter Serracino Inglott, priest, philosopher and former University Rector and consultant to then Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami has died aged 75.

His funeral is next Friday. The funeral cortege will leave Mater Dei Hospital at 9.30 a.m. for the university campus where the academic world and students will bid farewell. It will proceed to the Jesuits Church in Merchants Street, Valletta where he will lie in state until 2 p.m.

The cortege will then leave for St Paul’s Parish Church in St Paul’s Street, Valletta, where Mass praesente cadaver will be said at 2.15 p.m.

Fr Peter was receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital.

Unkempt and forgetful, yet a visionary with a huge intellect, Fr Peter was rector of the University between 1987 and 1988 and from 1991 to 1996.

He studied in Malta and the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, as well as the Institut Catholique de Paris and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.

He was head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Malta between 1971 and 1996 and was one of the Maltese representatives at the Convention on the Future of Europe presided by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

He was Dr Fenech Adami's main speech writer having started to advise him after the Church-Labour government dispute of the 1980s.

Fr Joe Borg, one of his friends, remembered him as a walking encyclopaedia who was also prone to forget simple everyday things, such as where he parked his car. He also recalled how he used to live a simple life in a small house in Tarxien, where he filed his papers in empty detergent boxes.

As rector, Fr Peter piloted the University to rapid expansion in student numbers, facilities and courses - even moving house to a small dilapidated farm on campus to always be on call. He spent his last years at Dar tal-Kleru in Birkirkara.

Fr Serracino Inglott was ordained priest in Milan by Cardinal Montini, later Pope Paul VI.

PRESIDENT’S TRIBUTE

President George Abela said Fr Peter’s loss will be felt not just in the academic world but in the whole country and abroad, where he enjoyed immense respect. He was loved by his academic colleagues and all students and gave the country useful contribution in many sectors.

Dr Abela said he had known Fr Peter for a long time and admired his wisdom and free mind, which could understand any situation and form an opinion. He also admired his original thoughts and his culture.

At the same time, as a true wise man, he was not conceited and was always ready to speak to anyone without distinction. He was a priest and a man who could see good in everyone and had the utmost respect for humanity.

He was always eager to help and was recently very enthusiastic about the President’s Forum on Constitutional Reforms, to be held next month, and which he had accepted to take part in.

PRIME MINISTER'S TRIBUTE

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi described Fr Peter as one of the country's main thinkers who had given a lot to the country through his ideas and work.

Through his studies and work he contirbuted through the educational, social and cultural development of the country.

He was capable of gathering ideas, translating them into initiatives which made a positive difference to people's lives.

As university rector he implemented a policy for university to be open to all those who wanted to continue their education.

OPPOSITION LEADER's TRIBUTE

Opposition leader Joseph Muscat said Prof. Serracino Inglott was a main protagonist in the country's intellectual life for nearly half a century.

Although of different political beliefs, Dr Muscat said he held Prof. Serracino Inglott in high esteem as a man, a scholar, a priest and a Maltese who loved his country.

In spite of the different political beliefs, he said, he shared with Prof. Serracino Infloss a common ground for a fairer, more tolerant and more open society.

Culture Minister Mario de Marco and the Nationalist Party also expressed condolences.

Read The Sunday Times' interview with Fr Peter on July 11, 2010 at

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100711/interview/the-splits-on-divorce.317255

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