[WATCH] Archbishop says ‘hateful’ carnival float was defamatory

Archbishop Charles Scicluna says that victims of abuse should get compensation by whoever perpetrated that abuse

Archbishop Charles Scicluna said the carnival float linking him to the church's sex crimes was created by someone with a particular hatred towards him
Archbishop Charles Scicluna said the carnival float linking him to the church's sex crimes was created by someone with a particular hatred towards him

The controversial carnival float that featured Archbishop Charles Scicluna alongside two horned cherubs and the name St Joseph's home was defamatory and not satirical, the archbishop said.

The float, now banned by culture minister José Herrera, linked the archbishop with a history of sex crimes propagated by the Catholic church and was banned by the government because it "promoted hate against an institution", Herrera had said.

"I didn't criticise the people who made the float. I have no objection to seeing that whoever occupies a public role is subjected to satire. But to associate me with paedophilia is not satire, it's defamation. You have to have a particular hatred to portray the archbishop in that manner.

"I'm not trying to blow my own horn but you're stripping the archbishop of dignity with that gesture. You're not trying to make someone laugh, you're contributing to defamation," Scicluna said, adding that he was, after all, the Vatican's sex crime prosecutor.

Scicluna was responding to questions by Fr Joe Borg during an interview for Newsbook where he fielded questions by the media house's readers. 

Archbishop Charles Scicluna fielded questions from readers of Newsbook
Archbishop Charles Scicluna fielded questions from readers of Newsbook

When asked about compensation for victims of abuse, Scicluna said that, as per Catholic principles, whoever has perpetrated a wrong on a fellow man should face justice accordingly.

"Whoever hurts someone should pay for his crimes. Every victim of abuse should get compensation from that person who contributed to that hurt," Scicluna said. The archbishop was not pressed on whether this meant that the church itself would be responsible for that compensation but he seemed to be referring to the criminally responsible individuals.

When talking about migrants, Scicluna said that he had met with many of them who were under Fr Dionysius Mintoff's wings, the founder of the John XXIII Peace Laboratory. 

"I cannot ignore these migrants' presence. We need to understand that we're all human. We need to learn to work together and whoever employs these people should respect their safety. If a person is banging on our shores, we cannot ignore it," Scicluna said.

Speaking about Prime Minister Robert Abela, Scicluna praised him, said that he is "an intelligent [man], full of energy, someone who has the courage to take certain decisions."

Scicluna also praised Abela for having been a bona fide legal consultant for Caritas, the Christian NGO.

READ MORE: Culture minister ‘empirically wrong’ to ban carnival float, Book Council chairman says

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