DAMIAN THOMPSON writing in The Telegraph reports: 'In his Christmas sermon, Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta condemned adoption by same-sex couples. He insisted that God's own son was raised by a man and a woman, and not by two men or two women.
How divisive! said the media. But now it turns out that Bishop Scicluna met Pope Francis on December 12. The bishop later told the Times of Malta: 'We discussed many aspects… and when I raised the issue that's worrying me as a bishop [the right for gay couples to adopt] he encouraged me to speak out.'
Indeed, the Pope was 'shocked' to learn that Malta's proposed Civil Union bill allows gay adoption. And Bishop's Scicluna's controversial sermon seems to have been delivered at his prompting.
None of this should be surprising: back in Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio roundly condemned gay adoption and said that gay marriage was diabolically inspired. But confusingly - and I still can't quite figure this out in my head - he did clearly back civil partnerships as the lesser of two evils. (When Archbishop Vincent Nichols appeared to do that, his critics in the Vatican were furious.)
What we can say, I think, is that the media read far too much into the Pope's 'who am I to judge?' comment about gay Christians in his impromptu interview on the way back from Rio. If Time magazine gave Francis its Person of the Year on the basis of his relaxed attitude to homosexuality, it should have done its homework more thoroughly.