Open main menu

Charles Jude Scicluna (born 15 May 1959) is a Canadian-born Maltese prelate of the Catholic Church who has been the Archbishop of Malta since 2015. He held positions in the Roman curia from 1995 to 2012, when he became Auxiliary Bishop of Malta. Both as a curial official and since becoming a bishop he has conducted investigations into sexual abuse by clergy on behalf of the Holy See and led a Vatican board that reviews such cases. He has been called "the Vatican's most respected sex crimes expert".[1] Since November 2018 he has also been Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the curial body responsibile for dealing with clerical sexual abuse cases on minors around the world.

His Grace

Charles J. Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed27 February 2015
Installed21 March 2015
PredecessorPaul Cremona
Other postsAdjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2018-)
Ordination11 July 1986
by Joseph Mercieca
Consecration24 November 2012
by Paul Cremona
RankMetropolitan Archbishop
Personal details
Born (1959-05-15) 15 May 1959 (age 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsEmanuel Scicluna
Maria Carmela Falzon
Previous postPromoter of Justice, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Auxiliary Bishop of Malta (2012–2015)
Alma materPontifical Gregorian University
MottoFidelis et Verax (Faithful and True)
Coat of armsCharles J. Scicluna's coat of arms


Education and priesthoodEdit

Scicluna was born to Maltese parents in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 1959. His family moved to Qormi in Malta when he was 11 months old. After secondary school, he studied at the Major Seminary there. He earned a degree in Civil Law from the University of Malta in 1984 and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Malta by Archbishop Joseph Mercieca on 11 July 1986. In 1991 he also obtained a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.[2] His thesis supervisor was Raymond Burke and he presented it to Professor Urbano Navarrete Cortés, SJ. He later said: "They wanted me to stay in Rome, in the Apostolic Signatura, but the archbishop called me back to Malta."[3]

Between 1990 and 1995, he was defender of the bond and promoter of justice at Metropolitan Court of Malta, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Canon Law at the Faculty of Theology and Vice-Rector of the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese. His pastoral activities included service at the parishes of St. Gregory the Great in Sliema and Transfiguration in Iklin. He served as chaplain to the local Convent of St. Catherine.[2]

Curial serviceEdit

In 1995 he began his 17-year Vatican career, first as Deputy Promoter of Justice at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and then beginning in 2002 as Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[4] under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He also taught as Invited Professor at the Faculty of Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University.[2] Between 1996 and 2007, he promoted the cause of the canonization of Saint George Preca.[5]

As Promoter of Justice, he was credited with constructing the 2010 universal norms that extended the Church's statutes of limitations on reporting cases of sexual abuse and expanded the category of ecclesial crimes to include sexual misconduct with a disabled adult and possession of child pornography.[6] He provided a brief history of the activities of the CDF with respect to abuse cases in a June 2010 interview.[7]

In 2005, Ratzinger tasked Scicluna with collecting testimony about the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Rev. Marcial Maciel, amid allegations of abuse.[8]

At a prayer service for priests in St Peter's Basilica in May 2010, Scicluna addressed the clerical vocation and said:[9]

The child becomes the model for the disciple who wants to be "great" in the kingdom of heaven.... How many are the sins in the church for arrogance, for insatiable ambition, the tyranny and injustice of those who take advantage of ministry to advance their careers, to show off, for reasons of futile and miserable reasons of vanity! ... Accepting the kingdom of God like a child is to accept with a pure heart, with docility, abandonment, confidence, enthusiasm, and hope. All this reminds us of the child. All this makes the child precious in God's eyes, and in the eyes of a true disciple of Jesus.

He went on to quote the gospels on the corruption of the young–"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42)–and then quoted Gregory the Great's exegesis of that verse's meaning for priests:[9]

Mystically expressed in the millstone is the hard and tedious rhythm of secular life, while the deep sea signifies the most terrible curse. Thus, after having taken a profession of holiness, anyone who destroys others through words or deed would have been better off if their misdeeds had caused them to die in secular dress, rather than, through their holy office, being imposed as an example for others in their sins. Without a doubt, if they had fallen all by themselves, their suffering in Hell would be easier to bear.

Addressing a conference on sexual abuse held in February 2012 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he explained that the CDF needed the support of the entire church hierarchy for its procedures to have their intended impact: "No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability." He said that "the deliberate denial of known facts, and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority" were "enemies of truth" and reflected "a deadly culture of silence" which he characterized as a form of omertà, the word used to describe the Mafia's code of silence to protect criminal conspiracies in the face of civil and criminal authority. He described the pastoral needs of those abused, "the radical need of the victim to be heard attentively, to be understood and believed, to be treated with dignity as he or she plods on the tiresome journey of recovery and healing", and highlighted the special care needed by those who find themselves unable to recover, "who seem to have identified 'self' simply with 'having been victims'".[10][11] He told reporters that bishops needed to adhere to church law and CDF's standards: "It is a crime in canon law to show malicious or fraudulent negligence in the exercise of one's duty. I'm not saying that we should start punishing everybody for any negligence in his duties. But what I want to say is that this is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that when there are set standards, people do not follow the set standards."[12]

Styles of
Charles Scicluna
Reference styleHis Grace
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop

Auxiliary BishopEdit

On 6 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Scicluna Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Malta and Titular Bishop of San Leone.[13] The Vatican announcement described him as "highly respected among his peers around the world for his lecturing skills and his expertise in child protection issues".[5] In an interview on the eve of his departure from Rome, Scicluna said the move was a promotion and not a manifestation of departmental rivalries within the Vatican. He said it did not indicate any alteration in policy with respect to the handling of sex abuse cases, which would continue to maintain the aggressive stance he had adopted: "This is policy. It's not Scicluna. It's the pope. And this will remain." He said he would continue to address the issue as bishop: "If you want to silence someone, you don't make him a bishop."[14]

He was consecrated bishop on 24 November 2012 by Archbishop Paul Cremona, OP, and served as his deputy.[5] The co-consecrators were Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca and Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo.


On 1 December 2012 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Scicluna to a renewable five-year term as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.[15]

In December 2013, Pope Francis charged Scicluna with the task of opposing gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Malta.[16]

In April 2014 Scicluna was appointed by the Vatican to take the testimony of clergy alleging sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.[17]

In January 2015 he was appointed to preside over the new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),[18] Pope Francis had established the new board of review on 3 November 2014 to speed up the process of hearing and ruling on appeals filed by priests laicized or otherwise disciplined in sexual abuse or other serious cases. Members of the doctrinal congregation had been examining an average of four or five appeals, mostly in sex abuse cases, at each of their monthly meetings; the substantial number of appeals and the need to examine them more promptly led to the creation of the board to judge cases involving priests.[19] On 13 November 2018 Francis gave him in addition the post of Adjunct Secretary of the CDF.[20]

Archbishop of MaltaEdit

Upon the resignation of Archbishop Paul Cremona, Scicluna was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese on 18 October 2014. During this period a number of sexual abuse cases emerged concerning a Dominican priest. On 27 February 2015 Pope Francis appointed Scicluna Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta.[21][22] He was installed on 21 March 2015 in St Paul's Cathedral in Mdina.[23]

On 30 January 2018, after Pope Francis was sharply criticized for controversial comments about the clergy sex abuse scandal in Chile, he sent Scicluna to conduct an investigation and take statements from victims who charged that Juan Barros, whom Francis named Bishop of Osorno in 2015, had personal knowledge of their abuse years earlier.[1] On 8 April, in a letter to the bishops of Chile, Francis said that Scicluna's 2,300-page report prompted him to apologize for misrepresenting the evidence of clerical sexual abuse in Chile and to summon the bishops of Chile to Rome for consultation in May.[24] On 11 June 2018 Francis accepted the resignation of Barros, along with the resignation of two other bishops in Chile.[25]


  1. ^ a b Winfield, Nicole (30 January 2018). "Pope sends sex crimes expert to Chile to investigate bishop". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Direttorju Ekklezjastiku 2016" (PDF). The Church in Malta. 30 June 2016. pp. 5–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (5 October 2012). "Mgr. Scicluna leaves the Vatican". Vatican Insider. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 21.10.2002" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Mgr Scicluna looking forward to assisting Archbishop, listen to the people". Times of Malta. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  6. ^ Scicluna, Charles J. (10 June 2010). "The Procedure and Praxis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding Graviora Delicta". Holy See. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Interview of Msgr. Charles Scicluna conducted by Gianni Cardinale on the Strictness of the Church in Cases of Paedophilia". Holy See. 10 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  8. ^ Thavis, John (2013). Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church. NY: Penguin Group., ch. 5: Cat and Mouse
  9. ^ a b "Msgr. Scicluna's Address at Prayer Service for Priests". Zenit. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  10. ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (8 February 2012). "Vatican abuse summit: Prosecutor decries 'deadly culture of silence'". National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  11. ^ Pullella, Philip (8 February 2012). "Sexual abuse silence "deadly" for Church: Vatican official". Reuters. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  12. ^ Winfield, Nicole (8 February 2012). "Vatican sex crimes prosecutor warns bishops". CNS News/Associated Press. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 06.10.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  14. ^ Winfield, Nicole (18 November 2012). "AP Interview: Vatican Sex Crimes Prosecutor on Sin". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 01.12.2012" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Pope encouraged Malta bishop to speak out against gay adoption bill". Catholic News Agency. 3 January 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Vatican appoints Bishop Scicluna to take testimony of Scottish clergy alleging sexual misconduct". Times of Malta. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Rinune e Nomine, 21.01.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Pope names former top prosecutor to head board for clergy abuse appeals". Catholic News Service. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 13.11.2018" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 27.02.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Mgr Charles Scicluna to be Malta's next Archbishop". The Times of Malta. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  23. ^ Bonnici, Therese (21 March 2015). "Mgr Charles Scicluna installed as new archbishop; 'will protect flock from the wolves'". The Malta Independent. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  24. ^ Horowitz, Jason (11 April 2018). "Pope Francis Admits 'Grave Errors' in Chile Sex Abuse Cases". New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  25. ^ Horowitz, Jason (11 June 2018). "Pope Accepts Resignation of Chilean Bishop Tied to Abuse Scandal". New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2018.

External linksEdit