The Roman Catholic Church has never endorsed the separation of religious and state power. Like most versions of Islam, it has always laid claim to both. But over the centuries its state power has progressively shrunk. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was down to the Papal States (I want to read a book on them). Today's bogus Mussolini-created Vatican City Statelet, with its postage stamps and passports for fleeing criminals, is the rump of those States.
In the twentieth century, it picked up a few client states in Europe: the clerical-fascist Irish Free State, clerical-fascist Slovakia under Father Tiso (I think someone hanged him), clerical-fascist Croatia - you get the general idea.
And until today, the Vatican thought it ran Malta.
The most important thing is not that the Malts have voted to legalise Divorce in a non-binding Referendum - which risks that the government will cave in to clerical threats of eternal damnation - but that the government put the issue out to a Referendum in the first place.
That's how they do things in Calvinist individual-conscience Switzerland. It's not what you expect in a Roman Catholic fiefdom. The general idea in the Vatican is that they tell you what's Right and what's Wrong. You don't think about it for yourself. If you do, and you come up with the wrong answer, then they refuse you Communion (used by the Church as a weapon during the Maltese referendum) or even excommunicate you (unless you are Adolf Hitler, in which case they will make an Exception).
I hope the Malts get a taste for thinking and deciding for themselves. Soon there will be nowhere for the priests left to rule. They must be getting very envious of Iran's Ayatollahs. Expect conversions.