Beyond the euphoria – Noel Grima

After the euphoria and the back-slapping, maybe it is time for some serious thoughts about the weekend Pope Francis spent in Malta.

The proper place to begin the appraisal is to widen the perspective beyond the shores of Malta and to look at the visit from the point of view of the world and also of the Catholic Church.

It was in a way inevitable but, for 34 hours from arrival to departure, the Pope was rather cut off from what was happening in the world and immersed in the small world of Malta, stuck for a long time in a small car, waving at the crowds that gathered wherever he went and reading speeches prepared for him well in advance.

This resulted in the Pope not being in a position to react to the terrible news emerging from the ruins of Bucha in Ukraine with large communal graves for people who had been brutally killed by the Russian or, more likely, Chechen invaders. The world needed the Pope’s leadership to express outrage but he was waylaid by people bringing out their beloved saints’ statues.

In truth, the Pope referred to Putin in his speech to the representatives of Malta without mentioning him by name. The reference was picked up by some alert international journalists but missed by most of the Maltese media.

It has already been pointed out that both the public broadcaster TVM and the Labour Party’s ONE news skipped parts of what the Pope said about corruption and the environment, though maybe TVM remedied this in the later commentaries by the many panels of ‘experts’.

From the point of view of the universal Church, this visit reinforced Francis’s emphasis on identifying with the most vulnerable and their existential problems. The meeting at the Peace Lab with migrants was an excellent example of a Christian faith less based on rich churches and more focused on helping the unfortunates of our world.

The Catholic Church under Francis has indeed changed, but it will only be in the next Conclave that this trend will be confirmed. Seeing the Pope’s evident difficulty in walking only confirmed the thought in many who were watching.

The Pope’s visit to Malta was a breath of fresh air after the hard weeks of the electoral campaign. But not even a papal 34-hour visit can erase the bad blood created among us. This is not the age of miracles and any improvement will only come from us.


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2 years ago

I’m sure that with today’s technology and surrounded by aides, the Pope caught up with the news

Ray Sciberras
Ray Sciberras
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

On his way back to Rome the Pope thanked a journalist for informing him about massacre in Ukraine.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
2 years ago

The Pope at this point in time was in the wrong place. He should have been if not in Kiev because of the attacks, in the borders of Ukraine for example Poland or Romania. There he could meet the women and children who fled the war torn homes and also to meet and thank the volunteers who are helping as much as possible.
Many people took the announcement of the Pope’s visit to Malta by the President of the Republic during the electoral campaign as a means of propaganda to give political advantage to the Labour Party.

2 years ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

Pope back to the Vatican,Maltese back to another boring,arrogant,corrupt,lejber third term. People get the government they deserve.

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