Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Douglas W. Kmiec

6/20/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Douglas W. Kmiec is the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta; the views expressed are not necessarily those of the President or the Department of State

In truth, there is only one way for any of us to be saved and it is by the acceptance of Our Heavenly Father.  The story of Saint Paul is that we are saved, the Pope wrote some years ago "not by the sword of the conquerors but by the sword of those who suffer.  Only following Christ leads to the new brotherliness, to the new city."

Douglas W. Kmiec is the  U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta; the views expressed are not necessarily those of the President or the Department of State

Douglas W. Kmiec is the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta; the views expressed are not necessarily those of the President or the Department of State

Highlights

By Douglas W. Kmiec

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/20/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe


FLORIANA, Malta (Catholic Online) - Modern life being what it is, you might expect to find an essay entitled "My Three Fathers" to supply just another over-sensationalized tabloid story.  This is not that tale.  Nor is this essay a remembrance of "My Three Sons," a delightful 50 and 60-ish television sitcom, starring the made for television widowed father, Fred MacMurry, three young boys ever in need of their mom, and as I remember, a dog. 

No, the present essay deals with three fathers who are far more sensational than anything conjured up by the media of today or yesteryear -- indeed, these fathers are sacred.   Walter Kmiec, 87, died gently in his sleep a few weeks ago.  Dad's body over the previous six weeks had been discovered to be ravaged by a fast-spreading cancer and then doubly weakened when the regimen of chemo and radiation proved well intentioned, but fruitless. 

My older brother, Warren, thoughtfully and lovingly cared for Dad during this treatment period, and while it fully exhausted him, care-giving to a terminally ill father is a grace unsurpassed, and the two of us here salute the thousands who day after day with no fanfare or notice care for a seriously ill relative or friend.

Dad wanted, and deserved, to die at home -- where our dear mother and Dad's bride of 60 years had passed five years before. While Dad could no longer walk or even support himself, Warren and I lovingly "danced with our father" from bed to commode to chair and back again.  Dad was a big man, and while the sight might be humorous to contemplate, I can tell you, we saw each awkward opportunity for what it was:  a genuine way to embrace our father a few more times before he slipped this earthly exile. 

In the final week, home hospice care came around the clock and commendably followed father's living will drawn in reference to the Church's teaching and witnessed so profoundly by the late Cardinal Bernardin.  On May 20, the unstoppable cancer would shut down a combination of systems vital to life, and in the night, as Tennyson wrote, "God's finger touched him, and he slept."

The Second Father?

Why Benedict XVI, of course.  Recently, the Holy Father visited the Republic of Malta where each day I am privileged to come in contact with the descendants of those who welcomed St. Paul in 60 A.D. with "uncommon kindness."  The Pope came to formally celebrate the anniversary of St. Paul's Arrival, but of course, the media largely only wanted to talk scandal.  The people of Malta didn't let them. 

The President of Malta welcomed the Pontiff to a country deeply in love with the faith, and the Holy Father returned that love in abundance to those who met him at the airport, to the tens of thousands who worshipped with him at the open-air Mass, to the young people with whom he cruised upon the bay or to those packed along the waterfront waving pennants and delighting in chanting and singing his name. 

Throughout, one witnessed a Pope caring deeply for others.   The Pontiff extended special concern for those adults who recounted abuse decades earlier as a child.  On his own time, with his own quiet charism of forgiveness, the Holy Father met the victims of abuse before the Eucharist in the chapel of the Papal Nuncio on the island.  To believers, Christ was truly present, and even this most ugly of sins was overwhelmed by the Spirit.

In greeting the Pontiff, I could not help but contrast in my mind the red carpet and military band and dignitaries greeting

Benedict XVI with the far less comfortable shipwreck of St. Paul nearly two millennia ago. As sharp a contrast as that image may be, there are several definite similarities between Paul's shipwreck here 1,950 years ago and Benedict's arrival. 

In both instances, Malta extended a welcome of "uncommon kindness," and in both instances, there was suffering in the Church.  Paul's shipwreck occurred during his journey of captivity on his way to endure a trial for his teaching of the Gospel.  Pope Benedict XVI comes at a moment when the grievous and inexcusable behavior of a few has brought distress to many. 

Nonetheless, as I greeted the Pope, I did not see despair, but hope, in his eyes.  "On behalf of the President of the United States and the American Embassy," I said, "we welcome you to this extraordinary place of "faith and family."  The Holy Father smiled and softly thanked me as Bishop Grech who stood behind him inquired whether I had received a recent letter from him.  "No, not yet," I said.  Well, thank you, said the bishop for having the courage to speak out declaring in public press that the scandal was irrelevant to the love of the Church.  (See Times of Malta, April 11, 2010).

Such declarations, you might think - and you would be right - are not the usual utterances of a diplomat.  As much as it distresses some of my colleagues for me to speak of these matters, I take my example from the Paul described in Benedict XVI's writing, where he noted that "[Paul] was not a diplomat.  When he made diplomatic attempts, he had little success.  He was a man who had no other weapon than the message of Jesus Christ."

Malta historically, said the Pope, has been a defender of the faith defeating many foes of Christianity.  Today, the formidable foe of faith - "secularism" lies just north of Malta in southern and Western Europe and to the south in Africa, where the challenge is those who have sought to stir hatred - wrongly -- into Islamic belief.  There is a need, said, the Holy Father, to carry on the inter-faith dialogue for which Malta is so well situated at the cross-roads of Christian, Muslim and Judaic thought.

Our Heavenly Father

In truth, there is only one way for any of us to be saved and it is by the acceptance of Our Heavenly Father.  The story of Saint Paul is that we are saved, the Pope wrote some years ago "not by the sword of the conquerors but by the sword of those who suffer.  Only following Christ leads to the new brotherliness, to the new city."

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and with Dad's memory strongly laying claim upon my heart (and may it ever be so), may this Father's Day for you be a happy and blessed one.

-----------------

Douglas W. Kmiec is the  U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta; the views expressed are not necessarily those of the President or the Department of State.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Europe

GRAPHIC VIDEO on website warns away French nationals against joining Islamist State Watch

Image of Indonesia, along with France, is launching campaigns to counter recruitment among young people from Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The French government, in the weeks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, has released a website and video aimed at countering extremism. The video specifically targets young French Muslims who may be seduced into joining jihadist terror group Islamic ... continue reading


RUMORS OF WARS: Under-reported conflicts in world leave little hope of change Watch

Image of Fighting in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo displaced some 770,000 people in 2014.

By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation

While wars in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine make headlines in the West, around 30 other conflicts receive little press coverage, and the resulting lack of pressure for change could have serious implications for millions of people, experts say. LONDON (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


Was fearsome Blackbeard the Pirate - an old softie? New evidence suggests so Watch

Image of Blackbeard the Pirate was played by Ian McShane in

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blackbeard the Pirate was legendary for his ruthlessness and terrorizing shipping lanes in the West Atlantic. However - there appears to have been a kinder, gentler side to his personality as well. Wreckage culled from the Queen Anne's Revenge suggests that ... continue reading


Astonishing skull find reveals new information on interbreeding between Neanderthals and the modern man Watch

Image of The relative rarity of human fossils from this period means these ancestors of all present-day non-African modern populations have remained largely enigmatic.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A skull in an Israeli cave recently is one of the earliest known evidence of primitive Europeans yet found. The archaeological find is shedding light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa. The find suggests humans and Neanderthals were interbreeding ... continue reading


Forced into prostitution: Greece's economic crisis has married women, mothers hitting streets Watch

Image of The situation of Grecian streets is worsening, as many of the Greek women now turning to prostitution don't bear even a passing resemblance to the drug-addled stereotype of the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Greece, at the heart of the European economic crisis of a few years past, has elected the "anti-austerity" organization the Syriza Party into office. Mass unemployment remains, with more than 50 percent on the nation's young people without work. An even seedier ... continue reading


The first tax revolt: 800 years later, the Magna Carta stands boldly as spiritual predecessor to the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution Watch

Image of A copy of the Magna Carta on display.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This year will mark the eighth centennial of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede near Windsor, on June 15, 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Magna Carta was one of the first documents that limited the power of the English crown, and ... continue reading


VIDEO: 70 years later, drone flies over infamous death camps showing the shocking and HORRIBLE extent of Nazi death camps Watch

Image of The gates of the Auschwitz death camp, which in English say

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In 2015, more than 1,500 survivors of the Holocaust returned to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland to mark the 60th anniversary of the death camp's liberation by Soviet troops. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On January 27, event organizers are ... continue reading


FEAR GRIPS VATICAN: 'Islamic State is clear. They want to kill the Pope' Watch

Image of Pope Francis has frequently spoken out against the Islamic State group. The Holy See has also voiced its support for U.S. air strikes in Iraq. This has led several to think that this increases the Pope's likelihood as a terrorist target.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican is under heightened concern that a terrorist attack may be imminent. Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See, Habib Al Sadr, at the time warned that "what has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear. They want to kill the Pope. The ... continue reading


Is Hitler funny? Leader of far-right German party steps down over inappropriate selfie Watch

Image of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) is a German far-right group which is for deporting or denying entry for Muslims into Europe.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks earlier this month, as well as the numerous acts of terror perpetrated by Muslims throughout Europe over the last several years, Germany is seeing a resurgence of far-right radical groups whose attitudes and ... continue reading


Incredible footage of Lamborghini crashing at 200 MILES PER HOUR! Watch

Image of A Lamborghini Huracan crashed on the M7 motorway going 208 miles per hour. Both passenger and driver survived.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hungarian police have released footage of the first ever Lamborghini Huracan crash at more than 200 miles per hour. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2014 it was reported that a crash over 200mph occurred. A Huracan registered in the Czech Republic hit a barrier ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter