Archbishop Scicluna, Magistrate Rachel Montebello, and Church property in Gozo

Dear Dr Mercieca,

Last Friday, there was a protest in Gozo against Archbishop Charles Scicluna. If you wish to know more look up the series of articles entitled Gozo Grab (there are 10 in all) that appeared on  and you will find out the protagonists against whom the residents turned up to protest. One finds Magistrate Montebello, her father, the former magistrate Dennis Montebello, Lawyer Patrick Valentino – Rachel Montebello’s partner – and lawyer Carmelo sive Chalie Galea from Xaghra, Gozo, and H.E, Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna. The people were not protesting about the permits as Archbishop Scicluna implied when speaking to the journalists. They were protesting on the way Scicluna handed over the land.

Read the articles and you will see what a beautiful piece of lace these people with the Archbishop at the head have braided and twisted because it is he who ‘got the ball rolling’ when out of the blue, by so doing, he managed to appoint Magistrate Rachel’s partner as head of the charitable foundation and now they are going to fleece it and accumulate millions of euro in land. But why was Patrick Valentino chosen from amongst all the lawyers we have in Malta?

Remember Archbishop Scicluna renounced his right to appoint an abbot to the Foundation. It should be also remembered that Archbishop Scicluna accepted 200,000 euros to renounce this right! The Archbishop ceded this right and thus Magistrate Rachel Montebello’s partner ended up starting to look after matters and dispose of and transfer all the property that he so desired. He did not even rent it out or provide for the Diocese to receive a certain percentage per annum. The Abbot’s role would have been decisive in the final decisions taken regarding this property.

I remind you that this magistrate presided over a compilation of evidence during which at all costs she made sure that a man is kept in prison. I remind you that this magistrate like her partner is involved in property and therefore he could have been a potential competitor of her partner in this sphere. But in our country, nobody sees this as a conflict of interest!  

It is worth mentioning that Patrick Valentino was the defence lawyer of those children (today men) who had been sexually abused by the clergy and who at the time (February 2017) were in Court suing Archbishop Scicluna as head of the Church in Malta for damages. Understandably, had they succeeded, God alone knows how many others would have plucked up courage and requested compensation to the Church’s detriment.

You are a historian, and you can well understand these convolutions and intrigues.


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