Tuesday, June 27, 2017
The Maltese Catholic Church in the twenty-first century has in many ways absorbed the consumeristic mentality that is so prevalent in our culture. A case in point is what will happen this evening in Floriana. The Saint Publius Parish Church will be illuminated for a lewd event, known as the Isle of MTV. Photos above and below show this event, with the illuminated church in the background, from past events.
Allegedly, the Floriana Parish is being paid every year an undisclosed sum of money from the event organisers so that the Church façade is lit up. This money is said to be used for much needed restoration works to the building. According to The Malta Independent, tonight's event is expected to host 50,000 people, be followed in 20 countries, and attract the attention of millions (alas not for good reasons). By tomorrow morning, the side of the church will be littered and would have served its other purposes, namely as a public toilet and, even worse, as a good opportunity for intimacy of the Amoris Laetitia type.
Whatever the reasons for accepting money, it is clear that nowadays this parish, with the tacit approval of the Church authorities, approaches worship as if it were selling a product and the attendee were the consumer. Since the product is up for sale, the church must show that its product is more entertaining than anything else the world has to offer. Therefore, churchy gimmicks are the name of the game. Whatever keeps people coming back for more takes first priority and becomes the controlling principle for all things church-related. If the church doesn’t sell itself, then it will be out of business.
Such an approach makes man the centre and treats the church like a business. In contrast, the aim of well meaning traditional Catholic groups is to draw church-goers and church leaders back to Scripture. In doing so, we must recover the ordinary means of grace that God uses to equip the saints and transform us into the image of Christ.