Maltese President Visits Pope

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2009 ( Benedict XVI today welcomed a visit from the new president of Malta, a Mediterranean island with a 98% Catholic population.

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George Abela, who took office in April, visited the Pope in the Vatican, and also met with the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the secretary for Vatican relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

In March, the outgoing president, Edward Fenech Adami, also visited the Pontiff.

A brief Vatican statement reported that the meeting with Abela was marked by “cordial discussions.”

It added: “[W]hile reaffirming the firm ties of friendship between the Holy See and the Republic of Malta, attention turned to certain questions concerning Maltese society, in which the Catholic Church continues to play an important role. Consideration was also given to the international situation, with particular reference to the Middle East and Africa, and to the positive contribution Malta can make to resolving the problems there.”

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