Archbishop apologises after priest’s ‘obscene, homophobic’ rant about murder suspect

Father Muscat speaking on chat show Xaraban

Malta’s archbishop has joined criticism of Father David Muscat, who went on a homophobic rant following the murder of a young woman.

Muscat ignited outrage with a Facebook post addressing Abner Aquilina, the man accused of murdering 29-year-old Polish student Paulina Dembska.

Dembska was found dead Sunday (2 January) in a public park in Malta, with an autopsy finding she was raped and strangled. Aquilina reportedly told police he was “taken over by the Devil” and that he was acting as a “soldier of God”, according to The Malta Independent.

Muscat, who once said marriage equality will bring about the “end of the world“, wrote on Facebook that being gay would be even “worse than being possessed”.

“If [Aquillina] is gay or bisexual, then this must be added to his list of disorders which include schizophrenia and malice,” the priest said.

“He has a recipe of disorders all at once. Poor guy.

“Abner needs help,” he added, “it’s even worse than being possessed. Being gay is worse.”

Maltese Archbishop apologises for David Muscat’s vile words

The priest’s comments have drawn widespread condemnation from lawmakers and religious leaders alike.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna apologised Thursday (6 January) on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for David Muscat’s comments and said he would take action.

“These were not words of love,” Scicluna said during a televised homily, “but stones thrown by a heart that has to learn to love more, as Jesus did.

“I want to apologise on behalf of the Church to all those who were hurt by these harsh words, and their mothers and fathers who also feel betrayed by the church they love.”

Two government ministers have called on police to look into Muscat’s “hateful” remarks.

“I have asked the police to investigate and take action against the latest obscene and homophobic comments made by Father David Muscat,” inclusivity minister Julia Farrugia Portelli wrote on Facebook Wednesday (5 January).

Sharing a screenshot of an email to the Malta Police Force commissioner Angelo Gafar demanding that the priest be held accountable, she added: “There are clear laws in this country.”

Equality minister Owen Bonnici told One TV’s Piazza programme: “A line has been crossed.

“I ask the authorities to take the necessary decisions.

“One cannot make remarks which incite hatred or negative sentiment against a section of society.”

LGBT+ group The Allied Rainbow Communities wrote in a Facebook statement on Tuesday: “[LGBT+ people] are not damaging society by being who we are.

“But bigots tend to have a lasting negative impact.”