A group of academics are urging Pope Francis not to receive outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Saturday and to distance himself from this “propaganda exercise”.

The scheduled meeting with Pope Francis comes at a time of revelations of criminal activity at the highest levels of power in Malta and calls for Dr Muscat’s resignation, the 22 academics said in a letter addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio. 

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They believed it was “totally unwise, and pastorally undesirable, to involve the Holy Father in a propaganda exercise in an attempt to postpone an inevitable outcome” given the grave allegations plaguing the government in full view of local and international media.

Malta’s political stability has been rocked over the past two weeks following the fallout from the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation. 

On Sunday, Dr Muscat said he will be resigning as a leader of the Labour Party on January 12 and in "the days after" will resign as a Prime Minister. 

So far, several professions have expressed their concern over the past few days, including pharmacists, lawyers, architects and accountants.

Malta's bishops have meanwhile appealed to the Maltese to work together with a calm sense of purpose, to promote truth and justice with charity and respect for one another.

Read the letter attached below.