Outspoken Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s garners intense criticism in Malta’s politically tense climate, with his highly acclaimed work combating the pervasive issues of child abuse within the Catholic church flying under the radar.
Scicluna has slowly been thrust into the international spotlight as pressure to truly tackle clerical abuse continues to build upon the global stage, with the Archbishop being the focus of a feature published by world-renowned ‘The Washington Post’.
Described as “one of the rare Vatican officials who appreciates the seriousness and scale of the church’s abuse crisis”, the report outlines Scicluna’s ability to be “a listener and fact-finder, sensitive but also meticulous in pinning down dates and specifics” when facing hundreds of victims around the globe.
The ‘priest-and-lawyer-turned-sex-crimes specialist’, Scicluna has led at least four significant investigations on four separate continents under both Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. His most recent investigation was a massively high profile case in Chile.
“[Scicluna] cared. It mattered to him,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a whistleblowing Chilean abuse victim. “I’ve been telling my story and dealing with church officials forever, it was the first time I felt empathy.”
However, Scicluna candidly admitted that “nothing prepares you for the wounds, you don’t get used to it” and that he “hoped and prayed” that the institution, during his lifetime, can “become an example of best practices” for responding to and preventing abuse.”
Questions over hidden homosexuality in the Catholic Church and the religious institution’s position on priestly celibacy have long been linked to the issue of widespread clerical abuse. However, Scicluna was quick to dismiss the theories but does highlight that most victims are male and often teenagers.
“I don’t think you can pinpoint only one set of causes, this cannot be a judgment about a category of people,” Scicluna said.
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