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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Religion

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Religion

The Maltese population is overwhelmingly Catholic, with some 98% subscribing to the faith. Roman Catholicism is defined by the Constitution as being the State’s official creed, and this has raised many an eyebrow, prompting people to wonder whether a true distinction between the Church and the State exists. Indeed, Malta was one of two countries in the world with no divorce legislation until very recently. The Constitution also makes provision for religious tolerance and freedom of religion however, and one is at liberty to profess any faith of his or her choice. Although the Maltese have been traditionally religious, church goers are soon to be an endagered breed as recent surveys show that just over 50% of the population attend church services on Sundays.

In Acts 28, Malta is given special mention: St. Paul is believed to have been shipwrecked during a violent storm, and to have landed on Maltese shores (hence St. Paul’s Bay). Legend has it that he resided in Malta for three months. The Maltese pride themselves that St. Paul himself brought Christianity to Malta. Heinz Warnecke has challenged this view, claiming that the location of Paul’s shipreck may have been the Greek island of Cephalonia. Acts 28 describes how Paul was bitten by a venomous viper, and was expected to swell up and die. No poisonous reptiles are known to have ever existed in Malta and this lends credence to Warnecke’s thesis. 

At the heart of the typical Maltese town or village is the Parish Church – often a large pompous temple which is also the epicentre of the village festa.

Nothwithstanding the preponderance of Catholicism, various other creeds such as Islam, Judaism and Bahai; and other also Christian sects and denominations are represented in Malta. The only mosque is in Paola.