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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Europe

Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


Over 1,400 girls raped and abused by Muslims in English town Watch

Image of For more than 12 years a large community of Pakistanis living in England have enjoyed sexually abusing girls while officials turned a blind eye a new report reveals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a 12 year period, hundreds of children were systematically raped, beaten and sex trafficked in a northern English town, and the government commissioned report on the incident reveals that it is still going on today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Guilty? Corruption case moves forward against the head of International Monetary Fund Watch

Image of Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing charges currently in France.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one of the most powerful women in the world, has been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as a French finance minister. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scandalous details come to light over defrocked nuncio's abuse of young boys Watch

Image of Shoeshine boys int he Dominican Republic say that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loathsome details have come to light over defrocked Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Shoeshine boys say that Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual ... continue reading


Archbishop appeals his defrocking for sexual abuse allegedly committed in Dominican Republic Watch

Image of If found guilty in a criminal trial, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, from Poland, is accused of child sex abuse while he served in the Dominican Republic. He has since appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal's decision to defrock him, according to the Vatican. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


SHOCKING: Are there more British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State than for British military? Watch

Image of Many young men facing poor job prospects in the U.K. find the IS narrative of defending Islam hard to resist.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a shocking figure that has many questioning immigration laws. Britain's Ministry of Defense has confirmed that there are approximately 600 British Muslim service members in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. In a momentous slap to the West - and ... continue reading


British Archbishop demands Muslim leaders enforce discipline on youth or face the consequences Watch

Image of George Carey, a former Archbishop recently spoke on the dangers of the Islamic State, as well as the British Muslims who go overseas to fight for it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has called for Britons that are fighting for the Islamic State to be banished from Britain. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lord George Carey of Clifton said that Muslims must  discipline their young people, or see them ... continue reading


Pontifical Council Statement on the Violence in Iraq Watch

Image of Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis:

By Vatican Radio

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. VATICAN CITY (Vatican Radio) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious ... continue reading


British rapper makes 14-year-old girl post sex video online Watch

Image of The girl, who can't be named for legal reasons, accepted a friend request from rapper Logik, whose real name is Kyle Burns.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a sick incident that highlights what's going on around the eyes and ears of semi-attentive parents. A British rapper who goes under the stage name of "Logik" asked a 14-year-old girl to pose an indecent 60-second video of herself to which he promised ... continue reading


A new tomb may be the burial place of Alexander the Great Watch

Image of This road leads up to a newly discovered tomb which could hold the remains of one of Alexander the Great's generals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists in Greece have discovered an immense tomb that they believe may be connected with Alexander the Great, whose conquests stretched from Greece to India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This tomb, which dates to around 300 BC, may have held the body ... 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, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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