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Catholic Archbishop Under Fire for Liking Pride Tweet

Archbishop Charles Scicluna
Archbishop Charles Scicluna

An aide said the archbishop of Malta "inadvertently" liked the tweet showing Chad Griffin and his partner at New York City's Pride parade.

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A prominent Roman Catholic archbishop who has previously been criticized for supportive comments about gay people is under more scrutiny now after putting a "like" on a tweet celebrating LGBTQ Pride.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta reacted positively to a tweet by Charlie Joughlin, partner of Chad Griffin, the outgoing president of the Human Rights Campaign. The tweet had a picture of them marching together in New York City's Pride parade last Sunday and the caption "Going out with a bang!" It showed up on Scicluna's Twitter feed after he put the "like" on it, but it has now been taken off his page.

The National Catholic Register, a conservative U.S. Catholic publication, queried the archbishop about the matter. Kevin Papagiorcopulo, head of media for the Archdiocese of Malta, responded Tuesday, "With reference to your email to Archbishop Scicluna on his Twitter account activity, please be informed that the like was done inadvertently and has since been removed."

Scicluna, who is adjunct secretary of the church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is "the Vatican's point man on clerical sex abuse," according to the Register. He "took a leading role in February's summit of bishops on protection of minors," the publication notes.

At the summit, he was asked why the word "homosexuality" did not come up on the first day. Scicluna (correctly) made a distinction between homosexuality and abuse. Regarding perpetrators of abuse, he said, "We don't have categories of people," only individuals. He also said both homosexuality and heterosexuality are "human conditions that we recognize, and that exist, but they aren't something that really predisposes to sin," the Register reports.

Then in March, a Maltese TV program asked him to appear, but he sent one of his priests, Father Kevin Schembri, in his place -- and Schembri made gay-supportive comments. He said, among other things, that people who are gay are created that way by God and do not need to change. Homosexuality is simply a "variant" among human beings, Schembri said.

Some Maltese Catholics called on Scicluna to disassociate himself from Schembri's remarks. A group took out a full-page ad in one of the nation's newspapers May 24 demanding that the archbishop take such action, but to date he has not, the Register reports.

Joughlin, for his part, responded to the controversy with a degree of amusement.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.