Abela was born at Floriana, Malta, in 1954. He began his studies at the University of Malta, from where he acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (1976), and then pursued further studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, from where he acquired a Bachelor degree in Theology (1982). He also studied at the Centre Sèvres in Paris, France, from where he acquired a Master’s degree in Theology (1984), at the Loyola University of Chicago, U.S.A. (1987), and at the University of Oxford, England, from where he acquired a Doctorate in Sociology (1990). He began teaching at the University of Malta in 1985, and later, in 1990, also taught at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was principal investigator of the European Values Study in Malta, Member of the European Values Steering Committee at Tilburg in the Netherlands, and served as Evaluator and Reviewer of social research projects for the European Commission. He was also Non-Governmental Maltese Expert on Poverty and Social Inclusion for the European Commission. For three years he was director of the Institute of Social Welfare at the University of Malta. His research interests included comparative European Values Studies, sociology of the family, sociology of religion, youth, gender, poverty, and social policy. Until his premature death on April 4, 2006, at the relatively young age of 52, he was an associate Professor of Sociology and Social Policy.
- 1991 - Transmitting Values in European Malta.
- 1992 - Changing Youth Culture in Malta.
- 1994 - Shifting Family Values in Malta.
- 1996 - Il-Harsien Socjali fis-Snin Disghin (Social Welfare in the 1990s) .
- 1998 - Women and Men in the Maltese Islands.
- 1998 - Gender Issues and Statistics (ed.) .
- 1998 - Secularised Sexuality: Youth Values in a City-island.
- 1999 – European Values Study.
- 2000 - Young Catholics at the New Millennium.
- 2001 - Values of Women and Men in the Maltese Islands: A comparative European Perspective, .
- 2001 - Youth Participation in Voluntary Organisations and Women's Welfare in Society.
Chapters in books
- 1994 - ‘Values for Malta’s Future’, in Maltese Society: A Sociological Inquiry, ed. by R.G. Sultana and G. Baldacchino.
- 1994 – ‘Drug Abuse Among School Children’, in Maltese Society: A Sociological Inquiry, ed. by R.G. Sultana and G. Baldacchino.
- 1994 – ‘Religjon u Identità’ (Religion and Identity), in Kungress dwar l-Identità Maltija (Congress on Maltese Identity).
- 1995 – ‘Family and Social Values in Europe and Malta’, in The Malta Year Book 1995, ed. by S.J.A. Clews.
- 1995 – ‘Fundamentalist Religious Values of Young People in Malta’, in Fundamentalism and Youth in Europe, ed. by L. Omasi.
- 1998 – ‘Feminizatiion of Poverty’, in Gender Issues and Statistics.
- 1999 – ‘Values 2000’
- Mark Montebello, Il-Ktieb tal-Filosofija f’Malta (A Source Book of Philosophy in Malta), PIN Publications, Malta, 2001, Vol. I, p. 4.
- Ibid., Vol. II, p. 239.
- Ibid., Vol. I, p. 101.
- Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 239-240.
- Ibid., Vol. I, p. 229.
- Ibid., Vol. II, p. 257.
- Ibid., Vol. I, p. 202.
- Ibid., Vol. II, p. 162.
- Ibid., p. 240.
- pp. 253-270; see Ibid., pp. 238-239.
- pp. 669-684; see Ibid., Vol. I, p. 135.
- PIN Publications, Malta, pp. 53-73; see Ibid., Vol. II, p. 137.
- De La Salle Brothers, Malta, pp. 487-491; see Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 160-161.
- Franco Angeli Editore, Milan, pp. 43-62; see Ibid., p. 185.
- Department for the Rights of Women, Ministry of Social Policy, Malta; see Ibid., pp. 162-163.
- Department of Information, Malta; see ibid., Vol. II, p. 238.
- Mark Montebello, Il-Ktieb tal-Filosofija f’Malta (A Source Book of Philosophy in Malta), PIN Publications, Malta, 2001.