1950 år siden Paulus kom til Malta – roligere dager for pave Benedikt

John Allen skriver at pave Benedikts tur til Malta gikk bra:

«The pope arrived in Malta with the church under a cloud, and he must have left here satisfied that his visit had gone a long way to lifting it.» … …

Large crowds flocked to the pope wherever he went, including more than 40,000 people who turned up for an open-air Mass on Sunday in the Granaries Square in Floriana, so named because it once conserved Malta’s food supply. Despite some early morning drizzle, the sun broke out shortly before the pope arrived, and he was greeted with warm applause and cries of «Viva il papa!» … …

Prior to the trip, some media outlets had anticipated scattered protests against the pontiff, and there were indications of potential blowback. Days before the pope arrived, a few posters had been defaced with Hitler moustaches and the word «pedophile.» In the end, however, no anti-papal demonstrations materialized, and most people seemed pleased the pope was in town.

All in all, if one were to assess the state of Benedict’s papacy exclusively on the basis of his reception in Malta, it would be difficult to sustain the notion that the pontificate is in meltdown – or, to use the maritime image that ran throughout the weekend, that it’s on the brink of shipwreck.

(The official motive for Benedict’s trip was to mark the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul’s famous shipwreck on Malta, described in chapters 27-28 of the Acts of the Apostles. The image was so pervasive during the trip that Air Malta christened the flight carrying the pope back to Rome «Flight 1950.»)

For the first time in a long time, Benedict XVI even seemed to make a bit of progress on the sex abuse front. The pontiff met with a group of eight victims of abuse in a local church-run orphanage in the 1980s and 1990s, and afterwards participants described a moving encounter in which even the pope had tears in his eyes. … …

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