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Pope recaps trip to Malta, meeting with abuse victims

Catholic World News - April 21, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI recalled his emotional meeting with victims of sexual abuse in Malta during his regular weekly audience on April 21. "I shared their suffering and, greatly moved, prayed with them, giving them assurances of the Church's action," he said.

Following his usual practice, the Pope devoted the Wednesday audience to a report on his recent apostolic trip. He spoke at some length on the Christian roots of Malta, mentioning the adage that "there are 365 churches in Malta-- one for each day of the year-- a visible symbol of this profound faith."

The Christian community on Malta proudly traces its origins to the preaching of St. Paul, who was shipwrecked there. The Holy Father said that he experienced "an intense moment of prayer" in the cave where the Apostle stayed.

Pope Benedict spoke about the special role that Malta can now play in preserving the Christian character of the European community and in serving as a bridge for immigrants, especially from Africa, seeking acceptance in Europe. He remarked that the Maltese cross "has never lost its authentic and perennial significance; it is the sign of love and reconciliation, and this is the true vocation of peoples who welcome and embrace the Christian message."

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