The spiritual penthouse - Ranier Fsadni
No one is more conventional than a wild-eyed rock star smashing his guitar on stage. Nothing is more old-fashioned than taking hallucinogens, unless it’s infanticide. No one is more puritan than a vegan, although you’re getting close with affluent middle-class families intent on consuming only organic, fair-trade food and giving the children memorable learning experiences rather than toys.
And nothing is more ritualised than the weekly discussion programme. Before an attentive audience, over a panel representing a range of opinion, the presenter presides with thoughtful neutrality. Ready to consider each view, while remaining detached from them all, the presenter is the priest, in sponsored vestments, leading the worship of a pluralist, open society. The best programmes attract millions of viewers.
It’s important to remember all this, given the way the discussion of plummeting Sunday Mass attendance is going. Blame is being cast on conventionality, old-fashioned ways, puritanism and ritualism. Yet none of these things, in themselves, have lost their power to attract, fascinate and guide tastes and behaviour. If there’s something wrong with these in the Maltese Church, the...