Pope may appoint 'land grab' Maltese archbishop as Vatican watchdog
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VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - As part of a continuing purge of conservatives from the Vatican stables, Pope Francis is expected to appoint a pro-LGBTQ+ archbishop — currently embroiled in a land-grab scandal — as head of the Church's doctrinal watchdog.
Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna is expected to replace 77-year-old Cdl. Luis Ladaria, a conservative who is currently prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Francis cleared the path for Scicluna's rise to the top when he banished the CDF's second-in-command Abp. Giacomo Morandi (age 56) to the bishopric of Italy's Reggio Emilia diocese on Friday.
Morandi was behind the CDF's ban on same-sex blessings last March. God "does not and cannot bless sin," the congregation's responsum ad dubium ("reply to a doubt") categorically stated — triggering a revolt wherein dozens of German clergymen defiantly blessed gay couples.
Pope Francis received both Ladaria and Scicluna in private recently at Santa Marta, the current papal residence, a clergy source reported.
Scicluna is managing to redefine the model of the Church in Malta in the spirit of Pope Francis.
Scicluna's appointment as CDF secretary is being seen as temporary and as a stepping-stone to his elevation to prefect of the CDF, sources told The Malta Independent. As per convention, Scicluna will be awarded a red hat.
The news of Scicluna being offered one of the most significant positions in the Catholic hierarchy coincides with the homosexualist prelate's shaming of faithful priest Fr. David Muscat for allegedly making "homophobic" comments on social media.
On the feast of the Epiphany, Scicluna publicly rebuked Fr. Muscat, instructing the outspoken cleric to stop making "inflammatory and hurtful comments" and warning Muscat that he could be barred from exercising his ministry in public.
As Maltese police launched an investigation into Fr. Muscat for "hate speech," the archbishop delivered a televised homily telling gay people, "God loves you for who you are" and apologizing "on behalf of the Church to all those who were hurt by these harsh words."
Double standards favoring the homosexual agenda are at work in the archdiocese.
Maltese sources close to the highly respected priest told Church Militant that Muscat's words, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church's characterization of homosexuality as intrinsically disordered and gravely sinful, were taken out of context.
A Catholic academic explained that "Fr. Muscat was attempting to combine the pastoral with the prophetic, but his words were weaponized by the hard-left LGBTQ+ lobby, which is now aggressively pushing the gay agenda" in the predominantly Catholic country.
"Instead of standing by his priest, Scicluna threw Fr. Muscat to the wolves to punish him and make him a scapegoat. He's earned a brownie point with Pope Francis. This will help him get the job at the CDF and move out of Malta when it's getting hot for him," the academic said.
On Monday, residents of Gozo — the second largest of the Maltese islands — protested outside the diocesan curia, asking the archbishop to stop allowing ruthless speculators to ruin their lives and the environment.
Gozitans led by the nongovernmental organization Moviment Graffitti have publicly demonstrated for months against Scicluna's decrees in multi-million euro land deals, which paved the way for apartment blocks.
"Our people see right through the hypocrisy," a Catholic lay leader from Malta told Church Militant. "You have Pope Francis and his stooges like Scicluna shouting about protecting the ecology, and, here, the head of the Church is in cahoots with people who are destroying it."
The controversial land deals involve properties preserved in a benefice established by Catholic aristocrat Cosmana Navarra in 1675. Navarra specified that her foundation, created "for all future time," was "to raise funds for pious deeds."
To generalize about categories of persons is never legitimate.
The foundation would nominate an unmarried male descendant (called abbati or "rector") as administrator. In the absence of a male descendant, a priest could be appointed until a male descendant could take over.
The foundation invested the archbishop of the time with the decisive power to appoint or dismiss the rector and the power to veto any land transfer by the rector.
In 2017, Scicluna and the archdiocese's chancellor signed two decrees. The first decree appointed lawyer Dr. Patrick Valentino (neither a descendant nor a priest) as rector.
The archbishop also renounced the right to consent to land transfers via temporary emphyteusis while retaining his veto on perpetual emphyteusis.
The second decree authorized Scicluna's legal representative to sign a contract with Valentino (as rector) and the six Stagno Navarra siblings, who claimed to be patrons of the foundation through descent.
"As a lawyer, Valentino has been representing victims of clerical sex abuse, and has negotiated with the Church on matter of compensation," a Maltese cleric told Church Militant. "Now, the same lawyer, appointed by Scicluna as rector, is representing the archbishop and evicting residents from land belonging to Navarra."
According to Moviment Graffitti, speculators are now threatening to evict residents of two Gozo localities, increasing the leases of farmers and building massive projects that are ruining Gozo's landscape and natural environment.
The Maltese hierarchy 'denounced' Catholics who prayed the Rosary in reparation for Malta's annual 'gay pride' parade.
Scicluna's support for the homosexual agenda is well known. In 2019, he publicly approved a message on Twitter endorsing New York's LGBTQ+ pride parade. The archbishop's media spokesman said that Scicluna had "inadvertently" liked the tweet.
At a February 2019 Vatican summit of bishops on sexual abuse, the prelate denied any causal connection between the prevailing homosexual clerical subculture and the sexual abuse of post-pubescent boys — mostly altar boys or young seminarians.
"To generalize about categories of persons is never legitimate," Scicluna said, emphasizing that both homosexuality and heterosexuality are "human conditions that we recognize, and that exist, but they aren't something that really predisposes to sin."
Deacon Wieslaw J. Walawender who was abused by his pastor while a seminarian studying for the Buffalo diocese at Christ the King seminary, told Church Militant he pleaded with Scicluna to help, but did not even get a reply.
Earlier, Philip Beattie, president of Pro Malta Christiana, said that the Maltese church hierarchy had "denounced" Catholics who prayed the Rosary in reparation for Malta's annual "gay pride" parade in September 2018.
"Double standards favoring the homosexual agenda are at work in the archdiocese," Beattie lamented, revealing how the archbishop gave LGBT campaign group Drachma "formal permission" for meetings. The group is pushing the Church to recognize same-sex "marriage."
Scicluna has also presided at an LGBT+ Mass organized by Drachma to end "homophobia." The Eucharist was celebrated with a homosexual rainbow flag draped over the altar.
Instead of standing by his priest, Scicluna threw Fr. Muscat to the wolves.
Before his appointment to the archbishopric of Malta in 2015, Scicluna worked at the CDF for a decade as promoter of justice (chief prosecutor). Pope Benedict XVI appointed Scicluna to a renewable five-year term as a member of the CDF in 2012. Pope Francis later promoted the prelate in 2018 to serve as one of the two adjunct secretaries to the congregation.
Since Scicluna's co–adjunct secretary Abp. Augustine Di Noia is 78, past the normal curial retirement age, the Maltese prelate could receive a rapid double promotion and make a leap from secretary to prefect.
"Scicluna is managing to redefine the model of the Church in Malta in the spirit of Pope Francis," former priest Vanni Xuereb wrote in The Times of Malta. Xuereb, who is reportedly "married" to another man, bragged that he had received a blessing from the archbishop while processing at Holy Mass.
Since his ascendancy to the throne of St. Peter, Francis has rid himself of several conservative cardinals occupying significant Vatican positions, including Cdls. Raymond Burke, Robert Sarah, Gerhard Müller and Peter Turkson. For the first time in a decade, there is no African prelate occupying a single senior position at a Vatican dicastery.