JOHN PAUL THANKS MALTESE FOR “FIRM ADHERENCE TO THE FAITH”
VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2004 (VIS) – President Edward Fenech Adami of Malta was received this morning by John Paul II who told him he was pleased “to welcome you to the Vatican so early in your term of office, and through you I send heartfelt greetings to the people of Malta.” President Fenech Adami was elected on April 4, 2004.
“Your visit today,” said the Pope, “occurs at an important moment in the history of your country. As Malta takes its rightful place in the European Union, it has a vital role to play in upholding the profoundly Christian identity of this Continent. In this regard I would like to express the Holy See's sincere appreciation for the support given by Your Excellency and the government of Malta for the inclusion of a reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the Preamble of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union.”
The Holy Father underscored that “since the time of Saint Paul, Malta has been renowned for its firm adherence to the faith. I pray that it will persevere in this and I am confident that the Maltese people, well known for their dedication to the Church and, in particular, their great respect for family life, will draw others to a deeper appreciation of the liberating message of the Gospel.”
Pope John Paul has been to Malta three times: in May 1990, a brief visit to Luqa on the way to Africa in September 1990 and again in May 2001.
Source: Vatican VIS news
Pope thanks Maltese leader for support on European constitution
Vatican, Jun. 25 (CWNews.com) – As he met on June 25 with the president of Malta, Pope John Paul II (bio – news) voiced “the sincere appreciation of the Holy See” for Malta's efforts to include a reference to Christianity in the new European constitution.
The Holy Father told President Edward Fenech Adami that his visit to the Vatican was coming “at an important moment in the history of your country.” He was referring to Malta's entry into the European Union on May 1. He added: “As Malta takes its rightful place in the European Union, it has a vital role to play in upholding the profoundly Christian identity of this continent.”
The effort to include an explicit reference to Christianity in the European constitution– which was energetically supported by the Vatican, and backed by Malta– was defeated by the leaders of the 25 European Union nations. Nevertheless the Pope expressed his confidence that Malta would help to revive a proper appreciation for Christian culture, noting that “since the time of St. Paul, Malta has been renowned for its firm adherence to the faith.”
President Fenech Adami, in his previous capacity as prime minister of Malta, supervised the negotiations that led to his country's admission into the European Union, and successfully campaigned for public approval of that move in a national referendum in April 2003.
After resigning as prime minister, Fenech Adami was elected to the more ceremonial post of president in April of this year. In Malta, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, it is traditional for a new president to make his first state visit to the Vatican.
During his meeting with the Maltese leader, which was held in the library of the apostolic palace, Pope John Paul spoke in English– audibly, but with some difficulty in making himself understood. The public meeting was a festive affair, with the Pope obviously delighted by the presence of the Maltese president's six young grandchildren.
Source: Catholic World News