Archbishop Scicluna: Herald of the NEW Gospel

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
~ Galatians 1:6 f

At the outset of this Papacy many Catholics, including myself, held the Archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna in great esteem. When he was appointed I wrote this glowing appraisal, and again a few days later when Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith of the Catholic Herald said that Malta now has a world class bishop to lead it.

And so it seemed.

Scicluna had the pedigree too. In 1991 he obtained a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His thesis supervisor was Raymond Cardinal Burke and he presented it to Professor Urbano Navarrete Cortés, SJ. He later said:
"They wanted me to stay in Rome, in the Apostolic Signatura, but the archbishop called me back to Malta."
Between 1990 and 1995, he was defender of the bond and promoter of justice at Metropolitan Court of Malta, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Canon Law at the Faculty of Theology and Vice-Rector of the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese. His pastoral activities included service at the parishes of St. Gregory the Great in Sliema and Transfiguration in Iklin. He served as chaplain to the local Convent of St. Catherine.

Scicluna served from 2002 to 2012 as Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – that is, as the Vatican's public prosecutor – personally handling the sex abuses crises of 2002 and 2010 and carrying forward the ‘zero tolerance’ line wanted by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to tackle the issue. His job was to investigate what are known as delicta graviora; i.e., the crimes which the Catholic Church considers as being the most serious of all: crimes against the Eucharist and against the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance, and crimes against the sixth Commandment ("thou shall not commit impure acts") committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen.

Bishop (then Mgr) Scicluna had the reputation of scrupulously carrying out the tasks entrusted to him without deferring to anyone whilst in this role.

As I thought at the time, Bishop Scicluna knows where the bodies are buried.

He knows who the guilty men were - and what club they belong to.

He had spoken of the Omertà amongst the perverted Mafia in the Church.

He was moved by Pope Benedict XVI to Malta shortly before the Holy Father announced he was standing down from the Pontificate. At the time I had to wonder if this was in fact an effort to protect Bishop Scicluna from malign members of the Curia? Certainly back then I was confident Bishop Scicluna knew that to root out the filth from the Church, we need to root out the causes of this evil - not just the men who are caught having committed these crimes. Therefore this appointment was very good news. This seems like a very long time ago now.

In January 2017 came the Maltese Bishops response to Amoris Laetitia, which were an obvious attempt to go beyond the text and endorse the Kasper proposal. This was making real what everyone had feared. Despite the careful language in Amoris Laetitia which went so far, but not too far. Despite the lack of response to the dubia, despite the claims that nothing had changed, the Maltese guidelines did constitute a real change and the Pope praised Scicluna & Grech for it. The agenda could not, then, be any clearer.

Despite the facts of the error of the Maltese guidelines and the subsequent attempts to legitimise them by the Pope and Bishop Grech the moral theologian Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith pointed out at the time that:
"No Episcopal Conference can abrogate the teaching of Familiaris Consortio, let alone the constant teaching of the Church until now. In other words, faced with a choice between the teaching of St John Paul II, and the reasoning contained in these Criteria, one must go with the saint."
Many of my Maltese friends still thought at this point that Scicluna was being bullied by Mario Grech, who has form. At the time I struggled to believe this but went along with it, after all, the culture on Malta is different, clergy are still held in very high esteem and deferred to and my contacts on the Islands know better than I what is going on. However by April I had really had enough of Scicluna following several further bad decisions.

Following the devastating Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report into abuse in the Catholic Church my attention was drawn to a number of deeply troubling abuse cases on the Maltese Islands. As Scicluna was chosen to lead the Apostolic Visitation of the US church on post-McCarrick questions, one could not help but wonder how the abuse in his own backyard was left undisturbed by the Vatican's abuse super-sleuth? These revelations led to my being threatened by Gozo's bishop. I did subsequently pop over to Gozo to try and sort it out but didn't manage to bump into Bishop Grech (sadly).

However, now things have taken a further turn for the worst.

Scicluna was in the spot light at the Vatican's sham of a summit on abuse, labelled by experts a "pointless gabfest". He seemed to bluff his way through some questions, stammering that he was "not authorised" to talk about Pope Francis' shielding of Bishop Zanchetta:
He contradicted the Catechism, so desperate was he to defend the Pope's pro-gay direction:

Just a reminder that CCC 2357-8 teaches:
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved...This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.
The CDF guidelines to bishops state:
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.
It does look like Archbishop Scicluna is making up his own rules on homosexuality in that context does it not?

Now he has made that direction even more explicit, having been asked to appear on a Maltese tv show, he sent a proxy who declared that being gay, "...cannot be something bad, because He created it. God created it, and He created it in His plan."
Social media in Malta has been buzzing with furious reaction to this apostasy, eg:

Fr. Schembri has a reputation in Malta for being a proponent of homosexuality and has been pushing this agenda for years. Unbelievably, he is also the defender of the bond at the first instance tribunal. There can be no doubt that he did not make this appearance or take this line without Archbishop Scicluna's knowledge and blessing.

This is impossible for those of us who teach the faith. Has the faith changed? Because the Church has had a very clear position on homosexuality for its' entire history, and for very sound reasons: the Church is pro-family and pro-life. It is anti-lust and the misuse of human sexuality for lustful ends.

Faithful clergy and lay catechists take real risks in a modern world which goes out of its way to affirm homosexuality as normative to stand up for the counter cultural teaching of the Church. How do we deal with betrayal from inside our own tradition?

As a friend commented:
The rug has been pulled from under the feet of parents voicing an objection and seeking to withdraw their children from lgbt agenda driven PSHE lessons. Or worse still parents of children who are being encouraged to "explore" their sexuality or gender. We are on our own.
Of course such an approach garners praise from the secular majority, because it affirms their error, an error to which the only bolster holding back the flood is the Church. Clergy who rush to embrace homosexuality do not seem to realise that in doing so they are throwing families to the wolves!

No doubt Scicluna would describe this as a "pastoral approach", as "journeying with" and a "lived experience" but this is all just code for error which is listened to because too many Catholics are unaware of the beauty and power of Church teaching - a teaching which has built and maintains western civilisation with its' powerful message of a shared imago Deo: i.e. that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and imbued with a fundamental dignity by virtue of our Baptism. The Church does not identify human being by their sexual orientation but by their Baptism, there is not one Gospel for the same-sex attracted and another for everyone else. This is poor anthropology, poor theology and a capitulation to the spirit of the age.

Of course the Pope has a growing number of really disturbing relationships all sharing one thing in common. Is Scicluna working on the Pope's directions as he clearly was with the publication of the Maltese guidelines?

But what sort of arrogance must you have to think that Jesus wants you to water down His teachings? He doesn't!

The Church's mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ: this Gospel is a message of radical change, not conforming to sinful, secular norms, not affirming our sinful desires. Christ calls us to a radical change, to conform ourselves to Him and renew our lives in faith.

Scicluna is an educated Catholic with high office and a responsibility for those in his care, so why is he pursuing this direction? Word is that he is also ambitious. Can he really have sacrificed his authenticity on the altar of his ambition?

What is clear is that he now looks more ridiculous than dignified. What a dreadful shame for him, for Malta and for the whole Catholic Church.


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