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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 21 APR 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled his apostolic trip to Malta, which took place last Saturday and Sunday for "the 1950th anniversary of the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul on the shores of the Maltese archipelago, and his nearly three-month stay on those islands".

  "For almost two thousand years, the history of that people has been inseparable from the Catholic faith, which characterises their culture and traditions. It is said that there are 365 churches in Malta, 'one for each day of the year', a visible symbol of this profound faith".

  The Pope recalled how in the Cave of St. Paul at Rabat, he had participated in "an intense moment of prayer", explaining that "from Paul's subsequent stay on Malta a fervent and solid Christian community was born, which two thousand years later is still faithful to the Gospel and seeks to associate it with the complex questions of the modern age. Naturally, this is not always easy or automatic, but the Maltese people find answers to the new challenges in the Christian view of life. One sign of this, for example, is the fact that they have maintained a profound respect for unborn life and for the sacredness of marriage, choosing not to introduce abortion or divorce into the country's legal system".

  Benedict XVI went on to recall how, following the celebration of the Eucharist in front of the church of St. Paul, at which the faithful "participated with great enthusiasm", he had "met a number of victims of abuse by members of the clergy. I shared their suffering and, greatly moved, prayed with them, giving them assurances of the Church's action", he said.

  "It must not be thought", the Pope went on, that Malta, "because of its geographical position, is a society 'isolated' from the world". In this context he mentioned the "contacts Malta maintains with various countries, and the fact that Maltese priests are to be found in many nations".

  "The strategic position of this small archipelago obviously attracted the attention of various political and military powers. Yet nonetheless, the most profound vocation of Malta is its Christian vocation; in other words, the universal vocation of peace. The famous Maltese cross ... has never lost its authentic and perennial significance; it is the sign of love and reconciliation, and this is the true vocation of peoples who welcome and embrace the Christian message".

  The Pope highlighted how Malta lies "at the centre of migration routes", something which "naturally brings problems; complex humanitarian, political and juridical problems, ... the solutions of which are not easy but must be sought with perseverance and tenacity, harmonising efforts at the international level. This should be done in all nations that have Christian values at the root of their Constitutional Charters and cultures".

  The final event of the Pope's apostolic trip was his meeting with youth in the port of Valletta. "I reminded the young people present", he said, "of St. Paul's own youthful experience: an extraordinary and unique experience, yet one capable of speaking to new generations from all ages because of that radical transformation which followed his meeting with the risen Christ. Thus I looked to the young people of Malta as potential heirs of St. Paul's spiritual adventure, called like him to discover the beauty of the love of God given us in Jesus Christ; to embrace the mystery of His Cross; to be victors in trials and tribulations; not to be afraid of the 'storms' of life, not even the shipwrecks, because God's plan of love is greater even than storm and shipwreck".

  Benedict XVI concluded by calling for "the intercession of the Apostle Paul, of St. Gorg Preca, priest and the first Maltese saint, and of the Virgin Mary, ... that the faithful of Malta and Gozo may always grow in peace and prosperity".
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1 comment:

  1. The Pope is a just man,
    because he did not hesitate to say the very truth what he saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears about MALTA. E.M.


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