The absolute majority (though somewhat dwindling) of the Maltese are Catholics. Some practice their religion to the letter, some just use it as a guide whole others consider themselves Catholic but do not really care. So far so good.

 

 

 

 

Obiously there are other religions in Malta. Islam and Judaism are also practiced in our island but the Catholic church finds no problem with those. Why? They are considered as ‘religions’ and the reason for that is that in the world they have a substantial amount of followers. And rightly so, religious authorities of these three religions moved ahead with tolerance and acceptance. A sweet example from a bitter experience was in the Simshar tragedy, where a burial of a Muslim and two Catholics was carried out in with authorities from both religons present. Many us don’t realise how much we should be grateful for this – unlike many countries, where even more religions that these three mentioned are practiced, we haven’t had a single episode of religios related violence since the Great Siege.

 

 

coexist

 

However, the Catholic church considers some religions as less equal, even as ‘bad’. They aren’t actually called religons by them but ‘sects’. Jehovah witnesses are the number one target. Before I learnt how to write I was already taught to be afraid of these people always ready to poison our minds. Many of our houses had a sticker at the entrance stating clearly that Jehovah witnesses and memebers of other ‘sects’ are not welcome. Nearly three decades later I was shocked and offended to read a pamphlet issued from the Catholic condemning Jehovah witnesses. I was shocked because I had thought that in nearly three decades the after effects of the inquisition had subsided. I was offended since I have friends who are Jehovah witnesses. I must admit that yes, many do start pestering so that you ‘convert’ to their religion. However, when I made it clear I hadn’t the slightest intention of converting or attending any meeting, they stopped and still respect me as I am. Some Catholics weren’t even able to do that.

 

 

What is the difference between a religion and a sect? In reality it’s only one thing: numbers. If there are hundreds of thousands, or millions of people around the world worshipping the same god/s as they know him/them, then that’s a religion. If they are small in number, they are a ‘sect’ a word which in itself brings to mind something bad, even diabolic.

 

 

It is not only the Catholic religion that does this. In Malasia members of a so called ‘sect’ called the Sky Kingdom were harassed by the Muslim majority. However, I confine to criticising the Catholic church, since in Malta, I’ve only seen this kind of bullying practiced by them, probably since they are the majority.

 

 

 

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