By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tPope Benedict XVI this morning delivered a strong appeal to Malta to resist secularizing currents during his homily at a large open-air Mass, staged in a public square called “the Granaries” because it was once used to protect Malta’s food supply.
tIn effect, Benedict urged Malta to make its cultural exchange with Europe a two-way street, evangelizing the secular world rather than being evangelized by it.
“Not everything that today’s world proposes is worthy of acceptance by the people of Malta,” Benedict insisted.
“Many voices try to persuade us to put aside our faith in God and his Church, and to choose for ourselves the values and beliefs by which to live,” the pope said. “They tell us we have no need of God or the Church.”
Instead, the pope urged the Maltese to hold onto this conviction: “At every moment of our lives we depend entirely on God, in whom we live and move and have our being.”
In the first place Benedict was making a spiritual point, but the argument also had clear cultural, social and even political resonance in terms of defending Christian principles.