.- The Holy Father received recently elected President Edward Fenech Adami of Malta this morning and through him sent his “heartfelt greetings to the people of Malta,” who he thanked for their “firm adherence to the faith.”
“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,” he said, “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.”
“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,” said John Paul.
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.