The Malta Independent 1 October 2023, Sunday
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‘No cause for further action’ by Church authorities on Fr David Muscat - Archdiocese

Monday, 5 June 2023, 12:17 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Archdiocese of Malta said that there is no cause for further action on behalf of the Church authorities on Fr David Muscat, following his recent conviction of hate speech on appeal.

Fr Muscat was found guilty of hate speech after he said on two posts he had made on Facebook that being gay is worse than being possessed by the devil, referring to Abner Aquilina who stands accused of the murder of Polish student Paulina Dembska.

The priest was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he had been acquitted by the court in the first instance.

The Malta Independent sent questions to the Archdiocese, asking if the Curia will be taking additional steps against Fr Muscat, as well as if the priest will be allowed to continue practising his profession.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Malta said that on 6 January 2022, Archbishop Charles Scicluna had issued a penal precept to Fr Muscat, in which he was instructed to remove the social media post containing “inflammatory and hurtful” comments.

Otherwise, he would be facing prohibition from exercising his ministry in public, the spokesperson said.

“The priest was also reminded that members of the clergy are required to display respect, compassion and sensitivity to people from all walks of life,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson continued that since Fr Muscat has to date complied with the precept, which continues to take effect, there is no cause for further action on behalf of the Church authorities.

“It is also pertinent to point out that Fr Muscat may yet choose to pursue other legal avenues related to his criminal case,” the spokesperson said.

Muscat had been charged with incitement to hatred or violence over comments about homosexuality. The priest had written on Facebook that Aquilina was gay, bisexual or possessed by the devil and that “gayness” was worse than being possessed. 

A magistrate’s court had found Muscat not guilty, ruling the priest was merely “expressing an opinion”.

The Attorney General had then appealed that decision, where the courts found him guilty on appeal.

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