The Malta Independent 20 September 2017, Wednesday

Updated: Mgr Charles Scicluna to be named Archbishop on Friday

Wednesday, 25 February 2015, 14:29 Last update: about 4 years ago

Mgr Charles Scicluna will be named as Malta's new Archbishop on Friday, The Malta Independent has learnt.

In the past weeks, the names that were put forward for the position, apart from Mgr Charles Scicluna, who was named curia administrator after the resignation of Mgr Paul Cremona, were Gozo Bishop Mgr Mario Grech and Mgr Joseph Spiteri, the apostolic nuncio of Ivory Coast.

The government is expected to be informed of the Vatican’s decision in the coming hours. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Curia said he can’t verify reports until an official statement is published.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Mgr Scicluna came to Malta with his family in 1960 and they resided in Qormi. He was educated at St Aloysius College and the University of Malta from where he graduated as a lawyer and in theology. He was ordained a priest in 1986.

In 1991 he also obtained a doctorate in Canon Law in Rome.

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 local 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.

In 1995 he began his 17-year Vatican career first as Deputy Promoter of Justice at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and then as Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was later to become pope. 

As Promoter of Justice, he was credited with constructing the 2010 universal norms that extended the Church's statutes of limitations on reporting cases of sexual abuse and expanded the category of ecclesial crimes to include sexual misconduct with a disabled adult and possession of child pornography. 

On 6 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Scicluna as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Malta and Titular Bishop of San Leone. The Vatican announcement described him as "highly respected among his peers around the world for his lecturing skills and his expertise in child protection issues". 

He was consecrated bishop on 24 November 2012 by Archbishop Paul Cremona, OP and served as his deputy until Mgr Cremona resigned.

On 1 December 2012 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Mgr Scicluna to a renewable five-year term as a member to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In January this year, the Vatican had announced that mgr Scicluna had been appointed to head a Vatican college within the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith to examine appeals to the ordinary session of the Congregation. He had told The Malta Independent that day that his appointment in Rome did not preclude him from becoming Malta's Archbishop.

His appointment does not come as a surprise. The Vatican Radio, on 22 January, had mistakenly already named him as Malta's archbishop.

In comments to this newspaper, Fr Joe Borg, who a few months ago said the church is going through leadership crisis described the decision as a positive one. “Mons Scicluna has proved that he is capable of taking decisions, and that he is able to evaluate criticism and change positions if need be. Through his experiences abroad, he has lived through joys and sorrows, building a very strong knowledge base. If the team around him is compliant, I believe the church can move forward.”

Fr Mark Montabello chose not to comment, when this newspaper contacted him for his reaction to the news. In the past, Fr Montabello had said the church is edging towards extinction, and that he doesn’t expect the local church to undergo the necessary reforms in the near future. 

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