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GOZO, Malta (ChurchMilitant.com) - A priest from Malta is confirming with Church Militant that, contrary to Bp. Mario Grech's claims, he did indeed threaten a priest on the subject of Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried.
Church Militant reported January 19 that the head of the Gozo diocese said he'd strip priests of their faculties if they refused to implement the new Maltese bishops' guidelines, which allow those in an objective state of adultery to approach the sacraments as long as they are "at peace with God." The report originated from Messa in Latino, which spoke with inside sources close to the situation.
Grech issued a public statement the next day declaring such reports "absolutely false."
Since that time, a priest from a Maltese diocese (who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation) has confirmed with Church Militant that the bishop was indeed seen threatening a priest over the phone on a recent plane flight. The priest was expressing concerns over the guidelines' contradiction of longstanding Church doctrine and discipline refusing the sacraments to the divorced and civilly remarried. He reportedly told the bishop he would not read the guidelines to his parish.
Bishop Grech was allegedly seen then warning the priest that he'd be disciplined if he refused to read the guidelines to parishioners.
"He is being very economical with the truth," the source told Church Militant, referring to Grech's public statements repudiating reports about his threats as "absolutely false."
"If he got suspended for not reading it [the guidelines], imagine if you don't implement it!" the source remarked.
Church Militant contacted the Gozo diocese for comment, but as of press time has received no response.