Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s point man on clerical sex abuse, has apparently publicly approved a message on social media endorsing New York’s “gay pride” parade.
The archbishop, who is adjunct secretary at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and took a leading role in February’s summit of bishops on protection of minors in the Church, “liked” a tweet from Charlie Joughin, a supporter of LGBT rights in Washington, D.C.
The tweet, dated July 1, was a photo of two men celebrating the New York parade with the words, “Going out with a bang.”
The city’s June 30 “World Pride” event ended “LGBT Pride Month,” which took place throughout the month of June and included parades in cities around the world.
The Register asked Archbishop Scicluna July 2 if he could confirm whether or not he had himself “liked” the tweet and if so, whether he would like to comment.
Kevin Papagiorcopulo, the head of media for the Archdiocese of Malta, told the Register, “With reference to your email to Archbishop Scicluna on his Twitter account activity, please be informed that the like was done inadvertently and has since been removed.”
The tweet no longer shows up on his Twitter page.
The archbishop has been embroiled in controversy over same-sex issues since the February summit of bishops at the Vatican when he told reporters that both homosexuality and heterosexuality are “human conditions that we recognize, and that exist, but they aren’t something that really predisposes to sin.”
He was responding to a question querying why the word “homosexuality” was completely absent from the summit’s opening day despite the John Jay Report showing that more than 80% of clerical abuse victims were post-pubescent boys.
Archbishop Scicluna said in dealing with abuse cases “we don’t have categories of people” but individuals. In relation to decades of widespread homosexuality in U.S. seminaries he said, “You cannot not address misconduct of that nature, which is sinful, but this is not about the sexual abuse of minors.”
But more controversy was to follow when a priest, appearing on a Maltese television program in March, spoke approvingly of homosexuality as created by God and “part of his plan.” Archbishop Scicluna had asked the priest, Father Kevin Schembri, to appear on the program in his place.
Father Schembri, who is the archdiocesan defender of the bond, told the program that if a person recognizes he is “a gay person as created by God, he does not need to change” and would be “harming himself” if he did not accept himself “as a gay person.” Homosexual love is simply a “variant” created by God, he added in the television interview.
Father Schembri’s comments led to a number of complaints sent to the archdiocese, according to sources. They also told the Register at the time that the incident was indicative of a disturbing level of tolerance of homosexual behavior in the once deeply Catholic country, especially among clergy.
When Archbishop Scicluna failed to publicly correct the priest and reassert the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, a lay group of Maltese Catholics took out a full-page advertisement in The Times of Malta on May 24, calling on the archbishop to discipline Father Schembri.
The open letter restated the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and called on the archbishop to also “make a public pronouncement disassociating the Church in Malta” from Father Schembri’s “heterodox opinions.”
To date, the archbishop has issued no such public correction.