During these festive days when it is easy for us to be alienated, we are duty-bound to reiterate the appeal we made this past June for the leaders of our nation, together with those of the European Union, to offer concrete solutions to the phenomenon of immigration in the Mediterranean Sea.
The developments of these last few days concerning those persons who were on board the vessel Open Arms and those presently on board the vessel Sea Watch 3, offer an invitation to Malta and European countries to express solidarity in a concrete manner. It is of great concern for us that instead of helping, Europe refuses to offer shelter; when doors are shut rather than opened to those on the open sea. At the same time, we recognise the efforts of the Maltese authorities to help that mother and her infant child who were brought to Malta by the Armed Forces.
As a people, because of the small size and also because of the strategic geographical position of our country, we always understood and promoted international solidarity, and that is what we need to do in this present situation as well. What use is it for Christians to recall the birth of a child if they do not seek to save these our human brothers and sisters? What use is it for society to promote life while choosing to abandon human beings to face death at sea? As we recall the need for solidarity, we understand that we are also committing ourselves to show this same solidarity with those who urgently need help because they are fleeing a cruel environment which violently scorns human dignity; they are fleeing a cruel fate of slavery and even torture and death.
We bishops, whilst understanding the complexity and sensitivity of both the problems as well as the solutions associated with immigration, urge our leaders to make courageous choices that are always in favour of life, and we also encourage a solidarity which expresses itself not only in words or in monetary donations, but through concrete actions.
✠ Charles J. Scicluna ✠ Mario Grech
Archbishop of Malta Bishop of Gozo
✠ Joseph Galea‑Curmi
Auxiliary Bishop of Malta