Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2010
Pope tells Malta to hold to its Christian roots
Benedict urged followers to pray to God to protect them from harm
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VALLETTA, MALTA - On a 27-hour visit to Malta, Pope Benedict met with sex abuse victims, encouraged Maltese Catholics to keep the faith and walked in the footsteps of St. Paul.
The shadow of sex abuse cases didn't dampen the local population's outpouring of enthusiasm nor did it obscure what the pope said was his main mission on the Mediterranean island: to reconfirm the faith of one of the most Catholic countries in the world.
Vans filled with youths waving giant Vatican flags coursed through the streets, humble stone homes hung banners and pictures of the pope from their balconies, and tens of thousands of faithful and the curious lined city streets and squares.
ST. PAUL'S ARRIVAL
Celebrating the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul's arrival in Malta, the pope was able to hold the apostle up as an example or inspiration in his talks.
In his homily during an April 18 Mass, the pope said St. Paul urged his companions to confront the stormy seas by placing their complete trust in God. To save their troubled craft, they had to cast all their supplies overboard and pray God would protect them from harm.
With God "we can do all things: without him we can do nothing."
The pope even evoked St. Paul's arrival by sailing across Malta's Grand Harbour. In his farewell speech, the pope praised the way Malta has been able to build a nation founded on Christian values. He also praised the country's defence of the unborn and of the traditional family based on marriage between a man and a woman. Abortion and divorce are illegal in Malta.
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