The Archbishop has apologised for the length of time it has taken for the Church to conclude its investigation into allegations of child abuse by priests at a Church orphanage.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mgr Paul Cremona said the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had sent Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Promoter of Justice, to Malta to supplement the investigation by the Curia's Response Team.

The alleged victims of child abuse, who made international headlines last April when they were received by the Pope during his Malta visit, were only interviewed for the second time this week, seven years after first going public with the allegations.

In the letter sent by the Vatican and seen by this newspaper, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said Mgr Scicluna's visit was a "means of support for an expeditious conclusion of the cases at hand". It also expressed gratitude for the sterling work done by the archdiocese in the protection of minors.

Mgr Cremona said the Church had to make sure that in future there will be no recurrence of a situation whereby investigations drag on for years. Mgr Cremona also talked about his leadership and drew a distinction between his style and that of Gozo Bishop Mario Grech when asked whether the latter had taken the limelight away from him with various public statements.

Talking about his style, Mgr Cremona said he listened to people and would be ready to change his mind if convinced by the arguments being made.

"I am not authoritarian and it is a great challenge for me whenever I have to impose a decision. I prefer dialogue," he said.

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