Re-reading the account of St. Paul's Maltese shipwreck in the Acts of the Apostles (ch.27, 28), I was reminded that this was the occasion when a snake took hold of Paul's hand and the island natives assumed that the snake's attraction to Paul marked him as an evil demon who must be killed. A bit of turnabout occurred when Paul merely shook off the snake and showed no sign of suffering its venom. The island natives then decided that Paul must be a god. Fickle folk.
Malta is a tiny island nation that remains staunchly Roman Catholic and staunchly pro-life even in the face of bullying from the United Nations and the international community (which now, regrettably, includes us in the person of Barack Obama). The Pope noted this in his address.
From that shipwreck, or better, from Paul's subsequent sojourn in Malta, was born a fervent and solid Christian community, which after 2,000 years is still faithful to the Gospel and makes an effort to combine it with the complex questions of the contemporary age. This, naturally, is not always easy, nor is it taken for granted, but the Maltese know how to find in the Christian vision the answer to the new challenges. A sign of this, for example, is the fact of having kept firm their profound respect for unborn life and for the sacredness of marriage, choosing not to introduce abortion and divorce in the country's juridical system.In light of the Pope's praise and support for Catholic Malta, one wonders what nefarious deeds our current ambassador to Malta, Doug Kmiec, must have to engage in as the Catholic and supposedly pro-life ambassador who must do Obama's bidding. Kmiec you will recall is the self-proclaimed Roman Catholic pro-life law professor who advocated that Catholics could in good conscience vote for pro-abortion Barack Obama. Like other Catholics in the public eye who have sold their souls in exchange for political power and the chance to obsequiously worship at Obama's anti-Catholic feet, Kmiec was rewarded with an ambassadorship to, of course, a deeply Catholic country.
There are likely few coincidences in the places that the Pope chooses to visit, and, with friends like Barack Obama and Ambassador Kmiec, I would imagine that the Maltese more than welcomed the presence of Pope Benedict.