The Malta Independent 5 June 2020, Friday

Updated: Prominent priest who worked for years with young people facing charges of sex abuse

Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 06:22 Last update: about 7 years ago

Kerygma Movement director Father Charles Fenech, famous for his organisation of volleyball marathons in aid of the needy some years back and a prominent figure within the church as an active agent amongst youths, is the priest accused of sex abuse, The Malta Independent is informed.

Father Fenech, who is also accused of holding one of the women against her will, is next due to appear in court on 17 December.

At least five victims alleging sexual abuse are expected to be testifying in court during the proceedings, which are being held behind closed doors. Fr Fenech is reportedly denying the accusations.

So far, Fr Fenech has failed to make an appearance in the courtroom for the three times the case was due to be heard, citing illness. He was first charged on 22 May last year.

The priest was allegedly also a long-time partner of one of the victims, however things took a bad turn and the relationship stopped. At least one of the victims is known to have accompanied Fr Fenech in a visit to Lourdes.  This newsroom is informed that a number of those testifying in court possess several affectionate phone messages allegedly sent by Fr. Fenech.

(The Malta Independent broke the news today. This is today's front page)

Fr Fenech, who has been a priest for 28 years, is the Director of Radju Maria, a religious radio station in Malta, and also hosts a programme on the same station. Fr Fenech missed his programme for the past few days. Repeated efforts by this newsroom to try and establish contact have proved futile.

He is also listed as being the current Director of the ‘Kerygma Movement’ Board on its website. The movement was famous in the 90s for its volleyball marathon and used to collect money for Dar tal-Providenza. It was also an occasion where several young men and women used to meet. The marathon had become a popular summer event but it had suddenly been stopped. 

The Kerygma Movement’s purpose is “that its members, in their diversity, but through the same belief, live the mission entrusted to them, together with the Dominican Family, committing themselves to spread good news which must be centred on Jesus Christ according to the Dominican Charisma”.

On 8 September this year, Father Fenech wrote a sermon on the Kerygma website about forgiveness. “Who knows how many times we’ve asked ourselves this question; how many times can I forgive, how many times will I be hit? It is a normal question for people who are going the extra mile to genuinely forgive and live Christian lives. Jesus, in the sermon gives us the courage to continue forgiving without any limitation. Jesus continues to emphasise that forgiveness needs to come from our hearts, and not say we will forgive and then forget. The life of a Christian is not easy. Our example is Christ on the cross who was killed because he came into the world to do good”.

In the meantime, this newsroom is informed that the accusations levelled at Fr. Fenech had been troubling Archbishop Emeritus Paul Cremona who was made aware of these allegations while serving as the head of the Maltese Church. Fr. Fenech was appointed Provincial of the Dominican Order in Malta succeeding Fr. Paul Cremona, who was later to be named as archbishop. 

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