The pope chose tiny Malta to send a clear message on the abuse ie. Benedict XVI met unexpectedly and under strict secrecy. on Sunday in Rabat with eight men who had suffered sexual abuse as minors at the hands of Catholic clerics.
It was only a meeting of 20 minutes in the chapel of the nunciature, framed by moments of prayer. But especially for some foreign observers, it was the real news of the 14. Pope's trip abroad. Just a few hours earlier, late Saturday evening, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi had not wanted – or been able – to confirm the conversation. "Such meetings take place when they take place," said the Jesuit. He only referred to similar events in the USA and at the World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008. At the time, a few weeks apart, the pope had wanted to send a signal that he was not indifferent to the fate of the abused. Ultimately surprise co There, too, the meetings took place in an atmosphere of tense expectation, but ultimately as a surprise coup. The pope, the Vatican explained, was keen to exercise discretion so as not to create media prere – also with regard to the victims. Benedict XVI. also stressed the importance of holding the talks in a spiritual framework. It should become clear that it is about a failure that must also be worked through in the categories of religious guilt and forgiveness. Moreover – and Lombardi stressed this once again to journalists on Sunday – the church leadership does not associate any legal consequences with the meetings. No admission of guilt, no anticipation of state and canonical judgments. The investigations in the dioceses in question would have to take their own course. Yet the Vatican continues to rely explicitly on the competence of local church leaders – even if Benedict XVI. which she had recently strongly challenged in the case of the Irish church. Things are different in Malta. One indicator of this is that Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta even has the confidence of Maltese homosexual activist Patrick Attard. The latter, after all, had started a Facebook group "No to Pope Benedict in Malta". "I wish we had a pope like our archbishop," Attard told the local press – polemically, but with high praise for Cremona, whom he describes as humble, compassionate and wise.
Preservation of faith and moral values As host, Cremona presented to its head, without conflict and loyally, the themes that formed the real message of the Pope's trip to Malta: Preservation of faith and moral values, especially when it comes to the protection of life and marriage. And finally, the reminder of the great tradition of hospitality, which, in view of the landing of the Apostle Paul before 1.950 was a leitmotif of the weekend visit from Rome. Benedict XVI. The Pope's trip abroad was consistently on this theme, in his speeches to President George Abela, to missionaries at St. Paul's Rabat, in the mass at the large representation square at the gates of the capital, Valletta. Accentuated he spoke of it also again at a meeting with well 12.000 young people in the port of Valletta late Sunday afternoon.
Appeal to young Christians "You should be proud that your country both protects the unborn and promotes stable family life by rejecting abortion and divorce," exclaimed Benedict XVI. to the young faithful. In Europe, he warned, gospel values "are once again at odds with the prevailing culture, as was the case in the time of St. Paul." The Pope knows that Catholic Malta is a strong partner for the Vatican, especially in the EU. His appeal to the young Christians was correspondingly energetic: "Do not be afraid!" – Paul's shout to his fellow passengers as they were shipwrecked off Malta. The faithful will need this fearlessness, in the storms outside and inside the church.