Bishop: Poor public morals are threatening our society
A sick public morality leads to malpractice, injustice and corruption of public administration, Gozo Bishop Mario Grech has warned.
Urging political parties to strengthen public morality, Mgr Grech said a strong social framework could not be built without solid and ethical foundations.
Moral and ethical standards did not just bind public authorities but also citizens, who often were the ones who actually instigated corrupt public behaviour.
“Unfortunately... there are cases when what counts is who you know, not what you know... and, at every level, there are those who are happy to maintain the status quo,” he said.
During his homily to mark the feast of St John the Baptist last weekend, Mgr Grech said public morality was a good gauge for tax collection.
A just system was one that taxed those who earned more, he said, adding that citizens had a moral obligation to abide by the law.
Any form of tax evasion – such as collaborating to avoid paying VAT – was morally wrong.
Social justice was also crucial to public morality and, in a society with a strong moral backbone, the poor and the weak deserved positive discrimination.
However, he cautioned those who abused social services or sought to be boarded out with the help of false medical certificates.
“If we had a strong public morality there would be less theft and we wouldn’t tolerate it as much.
“It’s a pity that our idea of theft is so narrow – whoever doesn’t turn up for work is stealing, so is unlawfully occupying public land,” the bishop said.
Public morality also affected institutions, he added, questioning what standards the media, banks, hospitals and sport organisations adhered to.
Mgr Grech raised the issue of precarious work, pointing out that, in certain cases, workers failed to speak out about their trampled rights for fear of losing their job.