Citizens should be safeguarded - Paul Cremona
Archbishop Paul Cremona in his Christmas Eve message explained the importance of being safeguarded from suffering and that this is the true meaning behind the year of the citizen.
The European Union has designated 2013 as the Year of the Citizen, with the aim of all Europeans acknowledging their rights as European citizens, in order that, in a spirit of democracy, any decisions they may take during their lifetime will be for their benefit and that of others, he said.
"Democracy depends upon a balance between rights and duties. In the absence of this balance, there is bound to be suffering, because the citizens would not be afforded a fair deal. One’s citizenship should ensure that one does not suffer. Citizens should be safeguarded from any form of injustice that causes suffering. If, in spite of the fact that you are a citizen, you are suffering, by being deprived from access to education and health services, or you endure some form of injustice, then your citizenship is not worth much," he added.
"Thank God, in our country and in Europe, the situation is not so, because we enjoy democracy. In our case, it could well be that the citizens expect too much from their country, or from the European Union, without contributing enough towards the strengthening of democracy which seeks the common good," he said.
The Archbishop explained that leaders should do their utmost to ensure that any benefits emanating from their country and the European Union are available to one and all, and that nobody is marginalised for any reason whatsoever. Any form of disrcrimination should be abolished. "In an ideal situation, every citizen will have enough of everything in order that people can uphold the dignity they possess, which is inherent as children of God, and redeemed by Jesus Christ. By taking on a human form, Jesus elevated the dignity of mankind and in so doing, he communicated a message which demands due attention. God showed preference towards the marganilized; when the birth of Jesus was announced, it was the shepherds – those who lay on the periferies of society - who first received this news".
He explained; "I am convinced that if you are good Christians, it follows that you will be good citizens, since the Gospel presents to us those values which we need in order to form part of society and create a democratic environment where the rights of all citizens will be safe-guarded".
He wished everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year, and blessed the nation