- Dec 14, 2019
People in Chile welcomed the Vatican’s decision on Jan. 30 to send Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s most respected sex crimes expert, to Chile “to listen to those who have expressed the desire to provide elements” about the case of Bishop Juan Barros, accused by abuse victims of covering up for the country’s most notorious pedophile priest.
With a total population of just about 445,000 people, Malta is one of the world’s smallest sovereign nations, but both historically and today it’s punched well above its weight in Church affairs. In the wake of Monday’s shocking murder of an anti-corruption journalist, the Church there under Archbishop Charles Scicluna may be ideally positioned to inspire and sustain a serious push for reform.
The expected legalization of gay marriage is the latest evidence of the transformation of Malta, an island nation of about 440,000 people, where divorce was illegal until 2011. Archbishop Charles Scicluna said “marriage, whatever the law says, remains an eternal union exclusive to a man and a woman.”
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Center for Child Protection at the Gregorian University, believes that the church’s typical top-down approach in handling sex-abuse allegations may not be enough. He proposes a global alliance comprised by individual priests, religious and laity along with Catholic universities, religious orders and bishops’ conferences.