Some serious shade was thrown Joseph Muscat’s way this morning in a Newsbook interview with Archbishop Charles Scicluna following a Carnival float controversy which saw a ‘paedophile priest‘ float being banned from participating in this year’s festivities.
Broadcasted live on Facebook, the 30-minute interview instantly kicked off with a tough question on the float, with Archbishop Scicluna being challenged on its swift censorship.
“I have no objection to people who have a public role becoming the subject of satire,” Scicluna started. “And Carnival is indeed a time when satire is given a lot of importance.” It was then, however, that Scicluna turned the focus of the debate from religion squarely into politics.
“I would imagine that, besides a float about the Archbishop, there would also be floats about politicians. I would imagine they gave us way more prompts for satire this year.”
Scicluna went on to say that he would expect other floats to make reference to controversies from Malta’s political sphere… including two specific cases involving former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
“I’m curious to see whether there will be floats sponsored by specific watch or wine brands,” Scicluna continued sarcastically.
The comment was no doubt meant to be a reference to the news emerging towards the end of 2019 that detailed the perhaps all-too-close relationship former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had with Yorgen Fenech, the business magnate and suspected mastermind of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
On Christmas Eve, it was revealed that Fenech had gifted Muscat a €20,000 limited edition Bvlgari watch back in December 2014… not to mention another €2,000 watch on a separate date.
Three days later, Lovin Malta also confirmed that Fenech attended Muscat’s Girgenti birthday party… as an additional report stated Fenech gifted Muscat three bottles of Pétrus, a premier Bordeaux red wine: a 1974 vintage to mark Muscat’s birth year and two 2007 vintages to mark Muscat’s twin daughters’ birth year. The bottles would have cost at least €5,000.
“One has to distinguish between art being the expression of satire and it being used just as mud-slinging”
During the interview, Archbishop Scicluna went on to reiterate that, while satire should be expected and accepted, he felt like the divisive float could only have been made by people of “particular malice”.
“Let us call things by their name and surname,” Scicluna said, going on to claim that, while he’s the victim of mud-slinging all year round, it was “unjust to associate any bishop with child abuse… but particularly Charles Scicluna.”
Beyond Malta’s shores, Archbishop Scicluna is known as “the Catholic Church’s top sexual abuse investigator”… even being sent on high-profiles missions like one in Chile this time two years ago.
Back in 2005, Scicluna had also uncovered evidence of sexual abuse that had resulted in the removal of the late Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.