Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 4(1965)2(140-141)

CANON VINCENT BORG, D.D., H.E.D., Arch. Ch.L. — The Seminary of Malta and the Ecclesiastical Benefices of the Maltese Islands, Malta, 1965,

The Protestant historian R.V. Lawrence rightly remarked that the, practical reform in the Tridentine Council which was most far-reaching was probably the establishment of Seminaries. And he was right, because the chief factor for the Catholic Restoration which followed that Council was the institution of Seminaries for the education, both spiritual and cultural, of young men who aspired to the priesthood'. Catholic Bishops were charged with the duty of opening seminaries in their respective diocese and were authorized to levy a general tax on all ecclesiastical institutions and to incorporate some benefices to the Seminary for their upkeep. This decree was complied with also in Malta.

In the above-mentioned publication, Canon Borg speaks of the steps taken in Malta in that direction, especially after Mgr. Duzina's Apostolic Visitation .(1575). In the I and II Chapters, he gives a brief but exact account of the institution of the Jesuit College, which was to serve as a Diocesan Seminary. In the III Chapter the A. speaks of the steps taken by Bp. Cagliares for the erection of the Seminary proper, of its opening and endowment by Bp. Cocco Palmieri in 1708 and of its further development under Bp. Alpheran de Bussan, who built the baroque-style Seminary of Mdina. In the IV Chapter, Canon; Borg deals with "a new page in .the history of the Maltese Seminary", when Bp. Pace Forno undertook a radical reform, splitting that institution into 2 sections — the Major and the Minor Seminaries, reforming the curriculum of studies, and obtaining from Rome the faculty of granting academic degrees in Theology. The A. closes with the agreement between the Holy See and the [p.141] British Government concerning the application of the revenues of some benefices in the Government's gift towards the education of the Clergy.

Canon Borg's book is but one of the two' sections. of his dissertation  for the Academic Degree in Divinity. We hope that he will publish the other section consisting of a brief historical survey of Maltese Ecclesiastical benefices, followed by a historico-juridical study of the Indult granted, in 1521, by Pope Leo X, reserving the conferment of all ecclesiastical benefices in Malta and Gozo, excepting of course the bishopric, to clerics born of Maltese parents in the Maltese Islands.

Canon Borg's new publication is written in a scholarly manner and consequently deserves the attention of historians and is a must in our public and private libraries.

Mgr. A. Bonnici