Fr Felix Cini, a Maltese priest convicted in Italy of molesting 17 children, is not a full-time priest and is not allowed to exercise his ministry in Malta, the Curia has said.

In a statement, the Curia said Fr Cini was also not allowed to be in contact with minors or to work in any parish.

The Curia said that media reports which stated that Fr Cini is "a full-time priest" were false.

“On occasions, Fr Cini requested permission to concelebrate mass. This was only granted in exceptional circumstances such as funerals of relatives and neighbours, and on special occasions. The last Mass he concelebrated was in May 2018,” the Curia said.

This follows media reports that Fr Cini, who was convicted in 2004 of child molestation and possessing child pornography, had concelebrated mass in Bormla and taken part in a Pentecost procession in May, accompanying children receiving their first communion.

Reports quoted the Curia as saying that the priest was in Malta to assist his ailing mother.

Two years of therapy

In its statement on Wednesday, the Curia said Fr Cini had been through a canonical process by the Holy See in 2008 which determined that would not be defrocked, and thus remained a priest in the Catholic Church.

The process followed a two-year therapeutic residential programme which he completed in Italy.

The Curia added that the Safeguarding Commission was closely following the situation and encouraged anyone with knowledge of a crime to report the matter to the police.

Anyone who has a concern on Church personnel can also contact the Safeguarding Commission on info@safeguarding.mt.

Fr Cini was incardinated in the Italian diocese of Grosseto. In 2010, six years after his conviction, he was forced to leave the parish of Cercemaggiore in the diocese of Campobasso, where he had been assigned to help an elderly priest, after parishioners found out about his past.

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