VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis Tuesday appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
According to a Nov. 13 announcement, Archbishop Scicluna, 59, will take up the Vatican position while remaining head of the Archdiocese of Malta, which he has led since February 2015.
The archbishop’s appointment as adjunct secretary makes him joint second in command of the CDF with secretary Archbishop Giacomo Morandi under prefect Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. Among the congregation’s leaders is also undersecretary Father Matteo Visioli.
Archbishop Scicluna, who served as the Vatican’s sex-abuse prosecutor before becoming a bishop in 2012, has continued to have a high-profile role in addressing clerical sexual abuse. He was appointed by Pope Francis to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Chilean abuse crisis earlier this year.
He also helped establish the Church’s first response to the 2002 sex-abuse crisis, and his work in the field is considered a landmark.
His nomination to a high position within the CDF takes place in advance of a Vatican meeting on child protection, which will bring together bishops from all over the world.
According to comments from Archbishop Scicluna in October, the February meeting on abuse is the time to address “not just the issue of prevention, but also of accountability,” and the meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss how to tackle issues “on the ground.”
He told CNA in September that the CDF asked bishops’ conferences to prepare guidelines countering abuse in 2001, and most have complied. He added that all existing guidelines have been now screened by the Vatican.
The February 2019 meeting of bishops is “a response to people’s expectation that we move from documents to actions,” he said.
It is not certain which Vatican department will be responsible for the organization of the meeting on abuse prevention, though it will likely fall to the CDF.
In January 2015, Archbishop Scicluna was made a member of a special doctrinal board established within the CDF in 2014 to handle appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.
He also served for 10 years, until 2012, as the promoter of justice of the CDF under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. From 1995 to 2002 he was deputy promoter of justice in the Apostolic Signatura.
The archbishop was born in Toronto to Maltese parents in 1959, though his family returned to Malta before his first birthday.
Before the start of his Vatican career, Archbishop Scicluna was defender of the bond and promoter of justice at the Metropolitan Court of Malta and a professor of pastoral theology and canon law at Malta’s archdiocesan seminary.