A Maltese priest has said what is on many people’s mind in a powerful and critical homily taking those who laughed as migrants drowned in Maltese seas to task.
“I am afraid that we have learnt nothing. And it is in these dark moments that you are left to conclude that not only are we not a Catholic country, we aren’t even a human country,” Fr Brendan Gatt said.
Fr Gatt delivered the insightful homily during a Mass to mark 30 months since the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
During his homily, he directly addressed something that has left a large segment of the Maltese population speechless: the joy among some at seeing refugees and migrants die before they could make it to Malta or Europe.
“The comments out there, in the media and in social media, show us that it’s not the trolls we need to fear the most, but those who celebrate the news that a boat capsized in the Mediterranean and that a number of migrants have drowned, with a laughing emoji, just as they celebrated Daphne’s murder,” he said.
Saying these people were motivated by hate and ignorance, Gatt continued on to say what truly concerned him.
“We need to worry about normal people,” he continued, “people like us, people who you might be able to call ‘good’, who continued with their life as if everything was normal, who with fearsome indifference reasoned that to have some collateral damage was necessary, that that’s the price that must be paid (because we aren’t paying it) for use to say safe and healthy.”
His comments were praised online, with some calling it a ‘phenomenal homily’.
The sensitive issue of migrants coming from Africa to Europe has been exacerbated in recent weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Malta, as well as other European countries, have declared their ports “unsafe” and are no longer allowing vessels in.
However, as ships and dinghies carrying scores of desperate African migrants fleeing their home countries in hope of a better life are now finding themselves stuck at sea with little hope of survival, Maltese people are divided on whether to save them or let them drown.
This week, however, it was too late for some: five migrants were found dead on a ship in Maltese waters that had asked the island for help, and not found it.