“The church acts”

Pope Benedict XVI. Recalled at his general audience on Wednesday his meeting with victims of abuse in Malta. "I shared with them the suffering, and moved I prayed with them. In the process, I ared them that the Church is acting," the Pope said.

About 30.000 people attended the Pope's general audience this Wednesday – including a thousand Roman schoolchildren and several hundred priests from the diocese of Rome. Benedict took stock of his visit to the island of Malta last weekend in St. Peter's Square, saying, "The occasion was the 1.950. Anniversary of the arrival of St. Paul on this island. The shipwreck that brought him there is dated to about the year 60. Like Paul, I was able to experience the warm welcome of the Maltese people. He said that although they were barbarians, they found a very unusual human kindness. Today they are an educated people of high culture, but they have retained their philanthropy and hospitality. I want to thank everyone who gave me this welcome, especially the children and young people who were around me with enthusiasm. The highlights of my trip were the visit to the grotto of St. Paul near Rabat, where, according to tradition, he lived for three months as a prisoner; then the celebration of the Eucharist in Floriana, in front of the church of St. Publius, and finally the meeting with the young people in Valletta, in the port, in a wonderful picture where the ships were around, the artillery fired salvos of veneration and the joy really shaped everything."

Meeting under strict discretion In a departure from the program of the visit, Benedict XVI had. spoke Sunday at noon in Malta with eight former pupils of an orphanage who had been sexually abused by clerics when they were minors. The meeting, which lasted about 25 minutes, took place under strict discretion in the chapel of the Papal Nunciature in Rabat. In his German address, the pope did not mention the encounter with the abuse victims, but instead returned to St. Paul: "The shipwreck of St. Paul off the Maltese coast was first of all a disaster, but it was part of divine providence, because that is how Christianity came to this island and created a great history. Since then, the history of the Maltese people has been inextricably linked to the Catholic faith, which has deeply shaped their culture and traditions. Today, the Gospel and the teachings of the Church continue to guide the search for answers to today's challenges. The full respect of the unborn life and the sanctity of marriage in the legislation of the country speak of it."Malta is the only EU country where Catholicism is still the state religion. Divorce and abortion are forbidden, according to Verfang. "Also the apostolic spirit of St. Paul has remained alive in Malta. Still the two islands of Malta and Gozo send a multitude of missionaries out into the wide world. With their commitment, they make it clear that faith becomes stronger when it is passed on and the Maltese Cross shows all over the world what the cross means: reconciliation and peace." said Benedict XVI.

Greetings from the Pope To the German pilgrims On Wednesday, the Pope addressed a special greeting to the participants and supporters of the fundraising relay from Wittenberg to Rome "From Luther to the Pope": "The encounter with the risen Lord transformed the life of St. Paul, who proclaimed the Gospel in Malta, here in Rome and in many countries. Like him, we want to bring the message of the cross and the love of Christ to the people. Knowing that even storms and shipwrecks are part of God's plan and can lead to new beginnings and new departures. May the Lord give you the power of his Holy Spirit".

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