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President of Malta: Pope Francis speaks to the whole world – Vatican News

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In an interview with Vatican News, Maltese President George Vella speaks about Pope Francis’ commitment to fighting climate change, the Pope’s 2022 visit to Malta, and the president’s gift of six computers to the Mother of Mercy Clinic at St. Peter’s.

By Christopher Wells

When Pope Francis speaks about important issues such as climate change, he’s not speaking just about one country, but is addressing the whole world, says Maltese President George Vella. 

“Obviously, the issues the Pope is talking about are not national issues, but issues that cover the whole globe… because when he’s talking about climate change, when he’s talking about the environment, he’s talking not about Malta or Rome, or any other country; he’s talking about the whole world,” Vella said in an interview with Vatican News following his audience with the Pope on Thursday. 

In keeping with protocol, the President of Malta did not discuss details of his conversation with the Holy Father, but noted that the two discussed issues important to Pope Francis, including migration and the situation in Ukraine and in the Middle East. 

President Vella highlighted the Pope’s commitment to climate change, saying the Pope is very “Franciscan” in his way of thinking, “in the sense that Laudato si’ is the hymn of St. Francis. And that is one of the encyclicals, which is a manual for the environment… Laudato si’ is a hymn to the beauty of nature. 

Memories of a ‘spectacular’ visit

Recalling the Pope’s 2022 visit to Malta, President Vella noted that all the Popes who have come to the island nation have emphasized the connection to St. Paul, who preached the Gospel there when he was shipwrecked during his missionary travels. 

The Maltese president highlighted the Pope’s visit to the John XXIII Migrants’ Centre in Ħal Far, saying, “In my opinion, the most touching part of [the visit] was when he went to the refuge of refugees, which is looked after by a Franciscan Father.”

The Pope, said President Vella, “seemed to be in seventh heaven… It was quite evident he was enjoying it, hugging these migrants and speaking from his heart. And we mentioned that today [ed.: Thursday, during the audience], and he remembers it really, really clearly.”

‘Charity in practice’

President Vella also spoke about his gift to the Pope at the audience. “We decided,” he said, “to give him something, give something to the Ambulatorio [Clinic], something which is practical” – namely, six computers “to help with prescriptions, stock controls, what have you.” 

The Ambulatorio is the “Mother of Mercy Clinic” in the Colonnade of St Peter’s Basilica, which was established by Pope Francis to aid the homeless and others in financial difficulty. President Vella visited the Clinic on Thursday afternoon, after his visit with the Pope. 

Although the Clinic does not offer major medical services, “for the people who are suffering from even minor ailments, if they go in there and they find at least somebody who welcomes them as human beings, this is the most important thing, giving them dignity.”

President Vella continued: “They might not heal their illnesses or do any particular miracles with them, but the fact that they find somebody who welcomes them, who treats them like human beings, who gives them the chance of having a shower, a haircut, have a look at the teeth and even have a checkup… This is charity in practice.”

Listen to the full interview with George Vella, President of Malta

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