Pope in Malta: “Will to end corruption should be as the strong winds”

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS) – Pope Francis has arrived in Malta for an apostolic voyage of two days. In his first speech while addressing the President of Malta George Vella, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Diplomatic Corps at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta, Pope Francis likened Malta to the “heart of the Mediterranean” due to its geographical position.
Pope Francis highlighted the importance of strengthening shared roots and values which forged the Maltese society and explained that sound social coexistence requires that the foundations of life in society, which depends on law and legality. “Honesty, justice, a sense of duty and transparency are the essential pillars of a mature civil society. May your commitment to eliminate illegality and corruption be strong, like the north wind that sweeps the coasts of this country. May you always cultivate legality and transparency, which will enable the eradication of corruption and criminality, neither of which acts openly and in broad”.
Referring to the issue of migration, Pope Francis said the Mediterranean needs co-responsibility on the part of Europe, in order to become a new theatre of solidarity and not the harbinger of a tragic shipwreck of civilization, as he referred to St Paul’s last journey when he unexpectedly came to Malta.
“Today, when those who cross the Mediterranean in search of salvation are met with fear and the narrative of “invasion”, and safeguarding onès own security at any price seems to be the primary goal, let us help one another not to view the migrant as a threat and not to yield to the temptation of raising drawbridges and erecting walls,” Pope Francis said.
While Malta was preparing to receive Pope Francis, 106 asylum seekers including 22 unaccompanied minors, remain stranded at sea on a vessel operated by German humanitarian NGO Sea-Eye after local authorities have refused to offer the vessel a port of safety.
While refering to the growing migration emergency with a particular reference to the situation of refugees from war-torn Ukraine, Pope Francis called for a broad-based and shared response: “Some countries cannot respond to the entire problem, while others remain indifferent onlookers. Civilized countries cannot approve for their own interest sordid agreements with criminals who enslave other human beings. May Malta, the heart of the Mediterranean, continue to foster the heartbeat of hope,
care for life, acceptance of others, yearning for peace, with the help of the God whose name is peace”, Pope Francis said.
The Holy Father urged the Maltese authorities to protect the environment saying that the its protection and the promotion of social justice prepare for the future, and are optimal ways to instil in young people a passion for a healthy politics and to shield them from the temptation to indifference and lack of commitment. Pope Francis warned against rapacious greed and avarice: “It must therefore be kept safe from rapacious greed, from avarice and from construction speculation, which compromises not only the landscape but the very future.”
In his speech, the President of Malta George Vella who spoke before the Pope, mentioned the war in Ukraine and argued that it was unacceptable that 75 years after the end of World War 2, another war started in Ukraine. He promised Malta would continue promoting peace amongst the other nations and that it would offer aid to migrants that come to Malta. President Vella recognised the importance given by the Pope to the issue of migration, “We all feel your pain and disillusionment whenever dead bodies are washed on our shores and when migrants arrive in pitiful situations”, he said. “Malta has never shied away from its commitments and obligations to save lives.” However, the Maltese President asked for the support of other, better-resourced countries, when handling migrants. Aside from action plans and documents, solidarity, Vella said, had to be put into actual practice. He also made a heartfelt plea to protect the environment. “Our planet is sick, angry and tired. Yet we keep ignoring its manifest signs of environmental degradation, climate change and exploitation of its resources”. The President of Malta also touched on the sensitive issue of abortion and declared “we should above all respect the sanctity of life, from its beginning to its natural end.”
Following the meeting with Maltàs highest authorities, accompanied by the President and the Prime Minister, Pope Francis saluted the crowd from the Palace Balcony in Valletta.
Hundreds of Maltese and Gozitan youths have gathered since early morning in St Georgès Square to welcome Pope Francis. Many of the youths carried yellow and white flags that represent the symbol of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis arrived at around 10.00am at the Malta International Airport. He was met at the airport by the President of Malta George Vella and Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, among other dignitaries who included the Apostolic Nuncio to Malta Mgr Alessandro D’Errico and Maltàs Archbishop Charles Scicluna. He was offered flowers by two children aged 3 and 6 who were waiting for him. Maltàs President George Vella was given by Pope Francis a medal depicting Saint Paul that was made Gozitan artist Manuel Farrugia.

Source: medNews