Vatican kept convicted Maltese child molester as priest after ‘therapy’

Maltese Curia denied Felix Cini is ‘full-time priest’ but he is granted permission to say mass on special occasions

Felix Cini
Felix Cini

The Maltese archdiocese has denied reports that a Maltese priest convicted in 2004 in Italy for molesting 17 children and downloading child-porn, is a “full-time priest”.

The priest, Felix Cini, was arrested in Cinigiano, in Tuscany in 2003 and denied wrongdoing in the face of 17 witnesses who accused him of molesting them. He later pled guilty and was given a suspended jail term of two years and six months, and banned from working with children.

The Maltese Curia said Cini was incardinated in the Diocese of Grosseto, Italy, and that in 2008 he went through a canonical process by the Holy See which determined that he is not under the penalty of dismissal – which meant he was never defrocked, and remained a priest of the Catholic Church.

“This process followed a two-year therapeutic residential programme which he completed in Italy,” the Curia said.

In 2014 he was tmade parish priest of Cercemaggiore and then swiftly moved out again by the Vatican after public outrage.

“In December 2014, following a request by the Bishop of Grosseto, Fr Cini returned to Malta to live with and assist his ailing mother. In the Archdiocese of Malta, Fr Cini has neither been allowed to exercise his ministry, nor to be in contact with minors or to work in any parish. The parish priest of the locality was also informed about this,” the Curia said.

However on occasions Cini requested permission to concelebrate Mass. The archdiocese said this was only granted in exceptional circumstances such as funerals of relatives and neighbours, and on special occasions. The last Mass he concelebrated was in May 2018. “Reports that Fr Felix Cini is a full-time priest are false,” the Curia said of Cini, who lives in Bormla but is not part of the Bormla parish church.

However, he is still granted permission to concelebrate mass on occasion.

The Curia’s Safeguarding Commission said it is closely following the situation of Fr Felix Cini and encouraged anyone knowledgeable of a crime to report it directly to the Malta Police Force.

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