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Updated | Pope keeps Scicluna as member of Vatican congregation

Newly-appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Mons. Charles Scicluna is keeping his foot in his old office, after he was nominated by Pope Benedict XVI as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Karl Stagno-Navarra
1 December 2012, 12:00am
Auxilary Bishop Mons. Charles Scicluna
Auxilary Bishop Mons. Charles Scicluna
The Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, who last week was ordained as Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, is keeping a foot in his old office.

Pope Benedict XVI  named Bishop Charles Scicluna a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Scicluna had been based at the congregation for 10 years as its chief prosecutor, or promoter of justice, investigating clerical sex abuse cases and earning the respect of victims and even some of the Vatican's toughest critics for his hard line against pedophile priests.

As a member of the congregation now, Scicluna will sit alongside the two dozen cardinals and handful of bishops who judge the abuse cases that come before the office.    

Scicluna's appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Malta had raised alarm that the Vatican might be backing off his hard line on abuse and forcing him out. S

cicluna insisted that was not the case and his appointment Saturday makes clear he'll remain very much involved.

future of his office, however, remains unclear. The Pope has since not named a replacement prosecutor.

In an interview with the Associated Press on the eve of his departure, Scicluna expressed full confidence in the 10 priests who worked under him and made clear that even with him gone, the Vatican now has a comprehensive law in place to prosecute any clergy who would molest a child.

But he noted rumours that the work of his office might someday shift to the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, which oversees diocesan priests and which seems to be consolidating power of late. Recently, the Pope shifted oversight of seminaries to the congregation, which for decades had been on the frontlines of defending accused paedophile priests rather than pursuing canonical prosecutions against them.

"Some people say it (competence over abuse cases) should go to clergy, for example," Scicluna said. "I don't think that's mature. But I wouldn't worry if it had to migrate to some other place because now the law is set."

His old office would regardless remain involved since it's a tribunal in its own right and would ultimately judge abuse cases that came before the Vatican.

 

 

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