Maltese Catholics Protest Priest’s Public Support for Homosexuality

A poster, part of a social campaign for tolerance of homosexual minority in Catholic church in Poland, is seen on the sreet of Warsaw on September 28, 2016. / AFP / WOJTEK RADWANSKI (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

A group of Catholic laypeople from Malta have published an open letter to their archbishop calling for the repudiation of a priest who went on national television to defend homosexuality as “natural” and morally equivalent to heterosexual love.

In their full-page article, the Maltese Society for Christian Civilisation said it represents “innumerable Catholics in Malta” in expressing “sadness, bewilderment and legitimate disappointment” over the silence of Archbishop Charles Scicluna in the face of the public scandal caused by Father Kevin Schembri for his defense of homosexuality during a television program last March.

According to the letter, during the nationally televised program, Father Schembri stated “that God created people as homosexuals, and that homosexual relations are not condemned by the Church, but are seen as legitimate forms of love.”

“According to this priest, ‘It (homosexuality) cannot be something bad because He created it. God created it, and he created it in His plan.’ Father Schembri further added that persons with homosexual inclinations do not need to change their ways and practice chastity as the Catholic Church has taught for two thousand years,” the letter declares.

The text also claims that Malta’s state television made it clear “that Rev. Fr. Schembri was sent by Your Excellency to state the teachings of Holy Mother Church on the question of same-sex attraction and homosexual relations” and instead offered “heterodox and heretical views based on revisionist Scriptural exegesis, false theology and absurd pseudo-science.”

The letter goes on to cite the forceful reaction of Pope John Paul II the first time a gay pride parade was organized in the city of Rome.

“In the name of the Church of Rome, I cannot refrain from expressing bitterness for the affront to the Grand Jubilee of the year 2000 and for the offense to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world,” the pope told the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.

“Homosexual acts go against natural law. The Church cannot silence the truth because it would not live up to its faith in God the creator and would not help discern what is good from what is evil,” the pope said.

Based on these arguments, the Maltese Society for Christian Civilisation has publicly requested that the bishop “make a public pronouncement disassociating the Church in Malta from the heterodox opinions” expressed by Father Schembri.

If the recent past is any indication, however, it seems doubtful that Archbishop Scicluna will do as this group asks.

As a spokesman for a major Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse this past February, Archbishop Scicluna stated that homosexuality does not predispose a person to sinful actions.

Homosexuality and heterosexuality are “human conditions,” Scicluna told reporters, and “they are not something that predisposes to sin.”

The archbishop’s comments seemed to contradict the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered,” meaning that it disposes to sin.

The archbishop was responding to a question regarding the extraordinary proportion of male victims to priestly abuse, which according to studies in the United States, is over 80 percent.

Recent studies of priestly abuse in Belgium and Germany would seem to corroborate reports from the U.S., and reveal that at least three out of four cases of clerical abuse are homosexual in nature.

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