Priest charged with hate speech for saying being gay is ‘worse than being possessed’

A local shaking-up priest known for his anti-LGBT + outbursts is to be charged in court with hate speech in Malta.

Earlier this month, Father David Muscat launched a homophobic tirade following the murder of Paulina Dembska, a 29-year-old Polish student.

In a bubbling Facebook post, Muscat addressed Dembska’s alleged murderer, saying being gay or bisexual would amount to “schizophrenia and meanness.”

Abner Aquilina reportedly told detectives he was “taken in by the devil” when he committed the murder – but being gay, Muscat said, is “even worse than being possessed.”

His comments on Dembska’s murder, a case that sparked a nationwide outcry against gender-based violence, drew widespread criticism from activists, government ministers and religious figures.

Police confirmed that hate speech charges were filed following the remarks, the Malta timetables reported.

Muscat will appear in court on January 28 before magistrate Ian Farrugia, who faces thousands of fines and up to 18 months in prison.

He will be charged under article 82A of the penal code, which is part of the country’s anti-discrimination laws regarding “abusive or insulting words or behavior”.

Along with his rant about Aquilina, authorities said another social media comment in which Muscat said Aquilina looked like he had returned from “gay pride” because he was wearing a top. Rainbow will also be closely examined.

Maltese Archbishop issues formal warning against David Muscat

On Thursday, the Archdiocese of Malta confirmed that Archbishop Charles Scicluna had issued a private warning, known as a penal precept, against Muscat.

In a statement posted on the Archdiocese’s website, Muscat was ordered to “stop making inflammatory and hurtful comments in public forums or be banned from ministering in public.”

“The Archbishop asked Father David Muscat to remove a Facebook post in which the priest said being gay was worse than being possessed, and not to use insulting or hurtful language against any group or individual .

“The Archbishop also reminded Father David Muscat that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, members of the clergy are required to show respect, compassion and sensitivity to people of all walks of life. “

Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna.  (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP via Getty Images)

Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP via Getty Images)

These are the latest rounds against Muscat, who came under fire after commenting on 20-year-old Aquilina, who police sources say is on the verge of being charged with Dembska’s murder.

Dembska was found dead on January 2 in a public park where she once fed stray cats, and an autopsy concluded that she had been raped and strangled.

Muscat wrote in his incendiary statute: “If [Aquillina] is gay or bisexual, then this should be added to his list of disorders that include schizophrenia and meanness.

“He has a recipe for mess at a time. Poor man.

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

Scicluna quickly pushed the Roman Catholic Church away from Muscat in a televised homily.

Although he did not name Muscat by name, he “apologized on behalf of the Church to all who have been hurt by” recent “harsh” homophobic remarks by a priest.

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