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MALTATODAY 8 January 2023

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maltatoday | SUNDAY •8 JANUARY 2023 COMMENT Pope Benedict XVI's legacy MATTHEW SCHMALZ PAGE 12 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON An air of despondency PAGE 7 SAVIOUR BALZAN Disagreement on standards? Not a good omen PAGE 5 EDITORIAL Deadlocked by political bickering PAGE 2 JOSANNE CASAR You don't have to be a rocket scientist to follow a collection schedule PAGE 6 Benedict XVI's writings will be relevant decades from now, but his pontificate will inevitably be associated with controversies What are we skinning? The unwitting damage caused to a small historic shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows in Sliema, after a wall collapsed due to ongoing works at the nearby St Joseph School. Why are we skinning it? The construction industry leading to the – let's call a spade a spade – desecration of a holy symbol? The portents are slathered on pretty thick with this one. But it was an accident! One among many others, yes. Come on – this is a piece of wood with a picture in it... You can be as nihilistic about it as you like... for many, it is something that should be safeguarded for reasons which transcend monetary worth. But praying to the gods of monetary worth is the construction industry's whole MO. You're saying we should forgive them, for they know not what they do? The problem is that they very much know what they do... But plausible deniability is almost always, apparently, within reach for them. Doesn't God see all things? The same should count for Our Lady of Sorrows, surely... Can't she speak to the nuns at the school about this? You'd think so, yes... I mean not only are they employed at the institu- tion itself, but they also presumably have a direct line to Our Lady. Do you think anything will come out of that? Well, the Building and Construction Authority has moved pretty quick to reassure all and sundry that the shrine will be restored. So they're not completely oblivious to its religious import. I think it's more to do with this becoming a buzzing media story for a couple of minutes a few days back. As for the rest of us... you're right that the little accident sends quite the message. Something-something, old values (literally) crumbling under the weight of the expansive ambitions of the construction industry... But now at least, we can hope that the Church and the Catholic establishment can be counted to take the fight to construction industry, right? Eh, I don't know. They're more likely to blame it on the recently tabled 'abortion' amendment. Do say: "While construction accidents happen all the time, sometimes, sadly, to tragic effect, it's difficult to deny the symbolic weight of a shrine to the Virgin Mary being knocked down as the result of nearby digging and jigging." Don't say: "If the Virgin Mary cried when we introduced divorce, what does she make of the Mriehel Towers?" No. 173 – Malta Desecration Association

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