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.

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