Director of Caritas Malta Anthony Gatt said that the Maltese society has four ‘wounds’ or problems which are worrying the organisation and which need to be addressed. He said that despite the fact that society was full of beautiful things, it was Caritas’ obligation to speak about such problems.
Gatt was addressing a press conference marking the occasion of the 50th anniversary since the organisation was set up in Malta. Caritas Malta was set up on the 11th November 1968.
Gatt spoke of wage gaps between the poor and rich, describing it as the first ‘wound’. He argued that despite the various measures taken to help those on the lower bands of income, the rich should share their wealth with those who do not have any.
He then spoke of drugs, saying that the number of those both caught with drugs and those seeking drugs have gone up. Speaking on the debate on the legalisation of marijuana, he said that ultimately, having cannabis accessible to users was more harmful than beneficial. He argued that by legalising marijuana the fear is that it would become acceptable to make recreational use of it.
Gatt also spoke of the differences in society, pointing out that even though Maltese people are usually described as generous, there are a number of problems when it comes to showing compassion to those around us. He cited many examples of such instances, among which refusing to give up one’s seat to an elderly person on the bus.
Finally Gatt spoke about loneliness; he said that Caritas and the Faculty of Social Wellbeing were collaborating so that loneliness may be addressed. A short video-clip was shown during the press conference. The clip portrayed Charmaine Attard’s experience dealing with depression and loneliness. Other people in the clip spoke of loneliness which can make one get to the point that where one feels that one is better off dead.
The Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing Professor Andrew Azzopardi was also present for the press conference. He mentioned the Deans’ Awards which was awarded to Mgr Grech. Azzopardi and elaborated by saying that the faculty felt that it should work together with Caritas on this initiative. He also explained that his work was not restricted to academia but that he also wanted to be present and active within the community.
Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia Mgr Charles Cordina spoke of Caritas’ history and the changes it has undergine over the past 50 years. Gatt noted that the work Caritas does would have never been possible without the assistance given by the various benefactors throughout the years.
A number of initiatives were also launched on Thursday to mark the anniversary. This included the launch of the new logo and website, and the initiative #caritasin50ways which aims to raise compassion in society. The initiative involves 50 clips on important life values.