Malta, Religion

Valletta Malta

Malta is the most religious country in Europe.

In a survey in 2010 95% of the population said that they were practising Catholics.  Nearby Italy (where the Pope lives) only registered 74%.  The least religious countries are all in the north where over 80% of respondents in Estonia, Norway, Denmark and Sweden all said that religion isn’t important!

Interestingly this survey didn’t seem to include the Vatican State where I imagine the response would have been 100% religious.

There have been four Papal visits to Malta the last in April 2010 to celebrate the 19,50th anniversary of the shipwreck of St Paul on the island.  His ship ran aground in St Paul’s Bay (obviously) and I am not making this up but in 1997 I too suffered the same fate.  Taking a speed boat ride with Tony Oki Koki ‘Mr Crazy’ Banis the boat broke down and we were stranded on the rock for twenty minutes or so until rescued.

Later that week I visited the town of Rabat to visit his grotto next to his church where he is supposed to have spent his time on Malta in hiding from the Roman soldiers who were searching for him – rather like Saddam Hussein, two thousand years later hiding from the American troops – also in a cave.

Mosta Cathedral 2St Paul's Grotto Malta

20 responses to “Malta, Religion

  1. What makes the Scandinavians more adverse to religion?


    • That is a good question. These are just my thoughts:
      Scandinavia has religious roots in Norse paganism. Even today in Iceland they believe in elves and fairies.
      Christianity didn’t reach Scandinavia until a thousand years after Christ. Most of the Saints seem to have preferred to stay in the sunny Mediterranean rather than venture to the chilly Baltic.
      Catholicism is weak in Scandinavia, most are Lutherans so there is less blind faith.
      Maybe it is just too cold to get up and go to Church on Sunday morning?


  2. You answered my question above. Interesting about the Scandinavians.


  3. Was this the same Paul who was banished to a cave on Patmos? And hid in a cave above Ephesus? I had not heard of St. Paul in Malta, but he seems to have been familiar with caves. And how serendipitous to have shipwrecked in St. Paul’s Bay!


    • Patmos and Ephesus was St John of Gospels fame but according to modern theologian scholars not necessarily the same man. Funny how they all lived in caves. I don’t think we need to take these Saint stories too seriously!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So why do you suppose Malta remains at such a high percentage when IItaly doesn’t? Geographical isolation?


    • Perhaps they think some divine intervention will stop anyone else taking over their country again. In the past it has been ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Habsburg Spain, The Knights of St. John, France and Britain. In the Second-World-War Germany wanted it so badly that they bombed it continuously for two years. Sometimes you need God on your side!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting about us Scandinavians as Norway had a state church up untill a few years ago! And if your parents were members of the church and you were not member of any other faith you automaticaly became a member of the Church of Norway.Not to many years ago our prime minister was a priest.
    But our church is lutheran not catolic this only got a lot more members with the polish and latin american imigrants. The Norewegian catholic church are in big trouble for membership fraud at the moment. So just how many people of faith we have is a bit uncertain. With both churches having been in the media for their doubious ways to count their followers.


  6. Interesting history! Had no idea! Malta is such a curious place…


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