Maltese archbishop backs controversial priest’s outreach

The leader of the Church in Malta has encouraged a priest to continue his pastoral outreach to gay people, and been assured that the priest would follow Church practice and discipline in his ministry.

Fr Mark Montebello OP was summoned to meet with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, after newspaper photographs showed the priest blessing a gay couple’s engagement rings. 

Commenting on the national broadcaster RTK, Dr Scicluna explained that the ritual blessing of rings in engagement and wedding ceremonies is reserved for couples formed by a man and a woman, and that Fr Montebello had agreed to respect Church practice and been encouraged to continue his pastoral work.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Malta said the meeting had been “cordial”, and Fr Montebello thanked Dr Scicluna and Vicar General Fr Joe Galea Curmi, for their support.