Yesterday, I published an article where I referred to a post on Facebook by the archpriest of Tarxien. Fr. Christopher Ellul. Ellul lambasted the regulations that were being imposed on the Church to organize a simple religious procession on Christmas Eve. Fr. Ellul wrote to MTA to be given a permit. Honestly, I cannot understand why a priest needs to write to MTA to hold a religious procession. In all fairness, does any political party need to write to MTA to hold a mass meeting? This just goes to show how our secular state is now manipulating spirituality and religious freedom. The present Maltese Government views religion as a cultural activity whose relevancy only applies to tourists.
In response to my article, I received the following letter from Mr. Noel Zahra from MTA.
Dear Dr Mercieca
Good Afternoon. I trust this email finds you well. Reference is being made to your blog post regarding the Christmas processions and the MTA’s Risk Assessments of these events.
The MTA would like to clarify that, when assessing such events and addressing queries about events, it is always guided by the direction given by the Health Authorities.
In this case, the Standards for Safer Organised Controlled events taking place in an enclosed area, which can be found here, are applicable.
My article was picked up by the Malta Independent. The Malta Independent wrote about the lamentation of the parish priest of Tarxien regarding the conditions that were being imposed on him to be granted permission to hold the traditional religious procession. Fr. Ellul is absolutely right.
Fr. Ellul’s post brought a reaction from fellow priests. Both the Archpriest of Qorti, Fr. Mangion, and Fr. Dillon Bugeja wrote a post on Facebook and uploaded a photo of an activity that was held recently in the form of a defile’. They asked MTA whether the organizers had the necessary permit and whether the Health Authority protocols were being observed? From the photo posted that the organizers did not abide by the Heath Authorities’ rules. It seems that this type of secular event is permissible because it does not involve a procession with the effigy of Baby Jesus.