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MALTATODAY 10 April 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 10 APRIL 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? Pope Francis getting attacked online by those who took issue with his call for more solidarity for migrant arrivals, during his visit to the Peace Lab in Hal Far - a crucial stop on his Malta tour last weekend. Why are we skinning it? Because a Catholic country dig- itally stoning the highest repre- sentative of their religion for the sin of exercising compassion will never not be hilarious. I'm not laughing. Neither should you be. I was being figurative. Oh, right. The Pope wasn't, though. Yes and no. Of course the Pope has no executive power over what a country chooses to do with itself - or with arrivals from abroad who seek shelter. Separation of church and state is a great concept, indeed. And I'm glad we're finally exercising it. That said… Yes? Malta does obstinately cling onto certain religion-en- abled conservative concepts, and empowers them by law. Such as? The blanket ban on abortion. Okay, so what you're saying is that we should once again start treating Catholic tenets as a matter of law? I'm just saying that it's strange how we seem to want to cher- ry pick between them. That's a matter for anthropologists and sociologists to hash out. It's a beautiful day outside, and I don't have time for an extended discussion. It is indeed a beautiful day. So spare a thought for those missing out on it by remaining hunkered over their laptops and phones, trolling the Pope and all those who share his sentiments on the matter. What kind of stuff did they end up writing? 'Take them with you to the Vatican' was the consensus opinion. But the devilishly perennial 'Go back to your country' also made it into the mix. I'm confused. Weren't we all excited for the Pope to come here? It was meant to be the supplementary electoral gift following the cheques, yes. So a few nice words about migrants was all it took to change the tide? We are a fragile, fickle people it seems. We may need more of the Pope in our lives, not less. Do say: "While the topic of migration remains a sensitive one, and Malta does have some legitimate claims to additional support from the EU owing to its size and proximity to vulnerable migrant departure zones, attacking the Pope for calling for more compassion and solidarity on this front feels like exactly the wrong avenue to air said grievances." Don't say: "People can't pos- sibly be so vile. There must be some explanation for it. I blame pastizzi price increase." Faith in Roberta Metsola? RAPHAEL VASSALLO PAGES 10 & 11 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON Freedom of expression is paramount PAGE 7 No 134 – Gow Bekk Tu Jor Kantry, Pope JOSANNE CASSAR This skewed electoral system just has to change PAGE 6 EDITORIAL 'Free El Hiblu III', for the sake of our own humanity PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN Abela should set the tone with his new administration PAGE 5 If we are talking about a possible contender for the future leadership of the Nationalist Party… then we clearly have to look at things from the perspective of the only people who will actually be taking that decision

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