Archbishop Charles Scicluna has distanced himself from a priest who praised Nazi sympathiser Norman Lowell for warning that Maltese "are now foreigners in their country".
In a speech uploaded to YouTube, Fr David Muscat told a crowd that Mr Lowell has “sowed a seed that will bear fruit in the future”.
"Everyone wants foreigners, because of money. Who else is talking about the fact that young people cannot buy a house and have to live in cages?" Fr Muscat asked.
He also took aim at the "Judaic economy" of today that focused on financial services and gaming.
The speech, which rapidly spread online on Wednesday, drew condemnation from the local church.
"The Church dissociates itself from views expressed by Fr David Muscat," Archbishop Charles Scicluna tweeted.
"Ideologies that sow hatred and discrimination on the basis of race or culture are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church".
Who is Norman Lowell?
Mr Lowell is a self-described fascist and "racialist" who is on the record as saying that disabled babies should be killed, that the Holocaust did not happen and that migrants should be gunned down at sea.
I cannot agree with Lowell's anti-Semitism. But who else is warning about tax harmonisation?"- Fr David Muscat
He has in the past been found guilty of inciting racial hatred and has also compared World War Two concentration camps to the "Disneyland of Poland".
Fr Muscat used to serve in the Mġarr parish - which is where he got to know Mr Lowell - before being moved out in 2014. He has since remained without a parish, save for celebrating the odd mass in a Mosta chapel.
'Just an adjective'
When contacted by Times of Malta, Fr David said he had no regrets about the speech.
"Bad publicity is better than no publicity at all," he said.
"I've lost trust in big political parties to such an extent that I'm even willing to support a freak".
His description of financial services as being a "Judaic" economic sector was "just an adjective", he insisted.
Fr David said that while he did not agree with some of Mr Lowell's "more extreme views, he nevertheless admired his frankness.
"I cannot agree with his anti-Semitism," he said. "But who is warning about tax harmonisation?"
Mr Lowell, he said, could not be judged by his inflammatory views.
"He will describe something as white in the morning, grey in the afternoon and black in the evening".
Fr David said he was not a member of Imperium Europa, the political party Mr Lowell founded, but that he looked forward to the party having a new leader and vision once Mr Lowell, 73, retired.
[Lowell] will describe something as white in the morning, grey in the afternoon and black in the evening.
"That is the seed that he has sowed," he told Times of Malta.
Church message on foreigners
Fr David's praise for Mr Lowell's anti-foreigner message is completely out of sync with that emphasised by the Church and particularly Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who has repeatedly called on local Catholics to accept foreigners as one of their own.
"There can be no distinction between citizens and foreigners," Archbishop Scicluna said just last May.
Fr David has made no secret of his disdain for more liberal strands of Church doctrine.
In an opinion piece he penned last March, he insisted homosexuality was a disorder and accused “gay affirming clerics” who claimed otherwise of “initiating our young into homosexuality... and perdition”.
That perspective runs counter to the message promoted by Pope Francis, who had famously told reporters “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”