Priest uses sermon to make ‘disturbing’ attack on gay people

A priest in Malta has sparked outrage for attacking the island nation’s LGBT+ rights in front of shocked church-goers.

During a service in the town of Birkirkara, Paul Vella criticised the “progressive agenda” Malta has embraced by allowing same-sex marriage.

“And what can we say about laws that go against the holiness of the marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.

“Whoever doesn’t want God in their life, as a creation made by God, needs to change.”

He added: “Whoever does not agree with their teachings needs to leave society, even if they need to be killed to make sure they don’t continue annoying humanity with their continuous agenda that is spreading to the detriment of humanity. There is a need for them to develop.

“This agenda, called progressiveness, though it is destroying man himself, is denying mankind from its own fundamental and sacred principles – that God created humanity as man and woman.”

The priest’s comments have been widely criticised and condemned as “disturbing” by social media users.

Discrimination against LGBT+ people has been banned in Malta since 2004, and in 2016 it became the first EU country to ban conversion therapy.

In 2014, Malta became the first European state to add gender identity to its constitution as a protected category, and same-sex marriage and adoption are legal.

Earlier this year, Malta was named the best destination for LGBT+ travellers, topping the Rainbow Europe list, which lists 49 countries based on their LGBT+ equality laws and policies.

The list ranks countries from 0 to 100 percent based on six categories: equality and non-discrimination, family, hate crime and hate speech, legal gender recognition and bodily integrity, civil society space and asylum.

“The Maltese have a reputation for kindness and excellent hospitality, and this is absolutely reflected in how they welcome all travellers to the island, including the LGBT+ market,” said Peter Vella of the Malta Tourism Authority.

“Malta holds a unique combination of traditional and historical culture with a contemporary and welcoming mindset towards LGBT+ travellers and our people continue to set an impressive example for other European countries to follow.”