Faith can be born in, and survive, a shipwreck

With critics claiming the Pope’s reputation has been shipwrecked by his inaction over the clerical abuse of children, His Holiness visited Malta last weekend to commemorate the 1950th anniversary of the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck near the island, an event recorded in the book of Acts.

Interestingly, the two issues came together on Malta when the Pope met with eight Maltese men, victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Conversion of Paul as depicted Caravaggio

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Pope Benedict promised them with tears in his eyes that the Catholic Church would seek justice for paedophile priests and implement ‘effective measures’ to protect young people from abuse.

Benedict expressed his ‘shame and sorrow’ at the pain the men and their families suffered and prayed with them during the meeting at the Vatican’s embassy in Malta.
One of the men described the meeting as ‘fantastic’. ‘Everyone was crying,’ he said. It is the first time Benedict has met with abuse victims since the worldwide clerical abuse scandal engulfed the Vatican earlier this year.

While this meeting had not been foreshadowed by the Pope, he gave three other powerfully relevant reasons for his visit to Malta.

‘For Malta, the opportunity to have the faith was born with the shipwreck. Thus we too can see how the shipwrecks of life can be part of God’s project for us, and be useful for a new beginning to our lives.

‘The second reason is that… I am aware that Malta loves Christ and loves His Church which is His Body, and that it knows that, even if this body is wounded by our sins, the Lord still loves His Church, … and His Gospel is the true force that purifies and heals.

‘The third point is that Malta is a place where waves of refugees arrive from Africa and knock on the doors of Europe. This is a great problem of our time, and naturally it cannot be resolved just by the island of Malta. All of us have to respond to this challenge, first of all so that people can live a dignified life in their own land, and on the other hand so that these refugees can also find space for a dignified life here… faith is the force which leads to charity, which allows us to respond well to these challenges.’

Faith can be born through a shipwreck, faith tells us God loves his church even if wounded by our wrong doing, and faith through charity should work fo a dignified life for refugees… add these comments to his tearful meeting with abuse victims and we have hope that the Pope may find a just and gracious way through the current ‘shipwreck’. PH

PS – I’m not Catholic, but faith and truth is where you find it and we can enriched by it, religion aside.

PPS – I’m glad to mention Malta in Utterance as I have discovered I have at least one reader from there!! See the flag counter in the Utterance sidebar.

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2 thoughts on “Faith can be born in, and survive, a shipwreck

  1. Thanks Aud. That’s part of why I do this. Things catch my attention, a word here or headline there, and with a bit research, it’s amazing what you find. To then bring it together in one place might mean people get to read some important things that otherwise would get lost in the billion words (and worlds) that are the internet.

  2. What a valuable comment and I would not have read it had I not had Utterance to take me to it. Thanks Peter.

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