Friday, 14 May 2010

The Pope and the Maltese victims of abuse by priests.

As I write there is a programme aired live on the national television station in Malta. This programme is discussing the papal visit that took place there last month. The first section of the programme is very emotional. It is an interview with the six victims of abuse from priests. These six people met the Holy Father in the chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature (see here). For this meeting apart from the Holy Father and the six victims there were present the Archbishop of Malta and the Bishop of Gozo. Some security personnel were present in the background.
A month after this event, the victims are still very emotional. They spoke of this surprise meeting (they were notified an hour before it took place) as an important part of their life story. They spoke of the meeting with the Pope as a moment of healing, of closeness with God. They all said that they appreciated the Pope humbling himself and asking them forgiveness for those members of the Church who committed such horrible crimes. They said how moved they are as what happened was no fault of his. They spoke about his radiating face, the aura of peace around him and the presence of holiness they experienced. They said that in this meeting they were in tears and they were joined in tears by both bishops and the Holy Father himself. This meeting, they said, has reconciled them with the Church and their faith is now a living one.
Of the six it is only Lawrence Grech who shows his face, the others speak in hiding. When he approached the Holy Father, Archbishop Cremona notified the Pope that he is the only one that was willing to go public. The Pope thanked Lawrence for doing this as he will serve as an example for other victims to come out; it is only this painful courage that will enable these horrors to be faced and eradicated.
This is very different from what some sections of the media say about the Holy Father and these despicable cases. 

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