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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

Was the final seconds of doomed Germanwings flight captured with a cell phone camera? French magazine defends video footage Watch

Image of This Airbus cockpit is similar to the one in the Germanwings aircraft. Since September 11 attacks, the armoring of doors has been strengthened and the three-point locking are now mandatory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

French news magazine, French Match says that a cell phone video authentically shows the final seconds of the doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 that a distraught copilot slammed into the French Alps this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Regis Le Sommier, the ... continue reading


The mystery behind the mass grave found underneath University of Cambridge Watch

Image of Archaeologists digging under the Old Divinity School, a Victorian building owned by St John's College, founded in 1511, discovered the cemetery and the remains of 1,300 people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The silent skeletons of 1,300 12th century men bear mute witness to Our Common Fate. How they got there under the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom remains a mystery, but what researchers have found sheds a light into life during the Middle Ages. ... continue reading


Polish priest performs mass exorcism on unknowing school kids Watch

Image of Polish Schoolchildren, attending what they thought was a religious camp honoring Lent were screaming and in tears when 37-year-old priest Tomas Wieczorek carried out a mass exorcism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Polish Schoolchildren, attending what they thought was a religious camp honoring Lent were screaming and in tears when 37-year-old priest Tomas Wieczorek carried out a mass exorcism. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 1,000 young people, from schools in the ... continue reading


Defiant Catholic bishops openly diverge from Pope Francis and the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Bernard Fellay was a part of the rebellious SSPX.  (Switzerland, 29 June 2009/Denis Balibouse)

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rejecting Pope Francis and consecrating bishops without the approval of the Vatican, the ultra-traditionalist movement "The Resistance" is planning to expand by consecrating again a new generation of bishops. According to one of the French bishops, Jean-Michel Faure, ... continue reading


Putting best face forward, Krakow, Poland busies itself to host World Youth Day in 2016 Watch

Image of Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is in the air in Krakow, Poland. The metropolis is readying itself to host World Youth Day in 2016. As part of the renovations to host the over two million people who are expected to attend, the city has a new airport, improved road and rail links, a ... continue reading


Did a broken heart lead to mass slaughter? Germanwings co-pilot said to be 'depressed' and 'stressed' Watch

Image of Remembered as a friendly and funny personality, Andreas Lubitz had a life-long obsession to become a pilot. There is speculation that he feared his flying license - due to expire in just three months time would not have been renewed on medical grounds.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The willful destruction of himself - along with 149 other, innocent human beings, has the world scrambling for answers. Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who slammed his plane into mountainside earlier this week. Killing everyone onboard, remains a ... continue reading


DEADLY SECRET: Co-pilot of doomed Germanwings flight hid medical condition, authorities say Watch

Image of A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A terrible tragedy that left 150 people dead may have been the result of a frightened, insecure man hiding a medical condition. Investigators say that Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz was keeping an unspecified medical condition secret from others and had a ... continue reading


CO-PILOT LOCKED CAPTAIN OUT OF COCKPIT: Chilling last minutes of Germanwings Airbus crash revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Investigators have recovered key information from the French Alps wrecked Germanwings Airbus A320's black box and voice recorder. The co-pilot, 28-year-old German, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed into a ... continue reading


STANDING FIRM: Nearly 500 British priests urge synod to stand firm on Communion for the remarried Watch

Image of An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether remarried Catholics should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, which was a proposal presented by retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 500 British priests have signed a letter urging those attending this year's family synod to issue a "clear and firm proclamation" upholding Church teaching on marriage. An extraordinary synod last year provoked heated debate on the question of whether ... continue reading


Pope Francis sends message to families of victims in Germanwings' French Alps crash, as black box and cockpit recorder recovered Watch

Image of Families are hit with grief as the search for bodies continues.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

150 people were killed in the tragic Germanwings A320 Airbus crash in the snowy French Alps earlier this week. Pope Francis has come forward with some words of comfort for all those involved in the horrific accident. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis ... 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, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Paola
April 2: Francis was born at Paola, Italy and was educated at the ... 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