From The Times of Malta:
Malta will not be getting permanent deacons anytime soon as their introduction – announced by then Archbishop Paul Cremona – has been put “on hold” pending “further discernment” by the ecclesiastical authorities. A Church spokesman confirmed this when asked by The Sunday Times of Malta if there had been second thoughts on this decision as no further announcements had been made since Mgr Cremona’s statement 16 months ago. On October 10, 2014, the then Archbishop had given his consent for laymen, including married ones, to be ordained as permanent deacons. Though they are not allowed to celebrate Mass, hear confession, or consecrate bread and wine, deacons are vested with the authority to administer other sacraments, namely officiating marriages, baptisms and funerals. The very first proposal for permanent deacons was floated during the diocesan synod at the turn of the millennium, and in 2012 a Church commission had backed their introduction. In his announcement, Mgr Cremona had refuted claims that his decision was motivated by the dwindling number of priests, saying it was a means to give prominence to the richness of the holy orders. Members of the clergy had welcomed the decision but at the same time described its timing as a “bolt from the blue”. Yet a week after his announcement Mgr Cremona resigned and the issue was put on the backburner until Mgr Charles Scicluna was installed as Malta’s new Archbishop in February 2015. Sources who spoke with this newspaper said that in the first 12 months of Mgr Scicluna’s episcopate the issue was not even on the agenda. “With the change in leadership, the Church has set new priorities and it seems as though the introduction of permanent deacons will remain in limbo for quite some time as there is no particular urgency for the time being,” Curia sources told this newspaper.
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Malta has a long and venerable history in the Church:
Tradition claims that St Paul himself established the diocese of Malta in the year 60 A.D when he ordained the Roman governor, Publius, as the first bishop of Malta. Thus with this act Malta became one of the first countries to convert to Christianity in the world and the first to do so in the west. The Diocese of Malta was made a suffragan seat to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Palermo by a Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV on 10 July 1156 and confirmed by Pope Alexander III on 26 April 1160.