In another of his “blink and you’ll miss it” overseas trips, generally one or two-day affairs within Europe and the Mediterranean, Pope Francis arrives Saturday morning on the island nation of Malta and will be on the ground just 18 hours, returning to the Vatican by Sunday night.
On his last day in Greece, Pope Francis met with young people, telling them to get off social media and invest in real relationships and to avoid the “siren calls” of passing fads, finding their worth in God’s love instead.
Pope Francis often says that migrants are more than mere numbers, but people with names and faces. On Sunday, he had the opportunity to look into these faces himself during a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.
Just days ahead of Pope Francis’ Dec. 2-6 visit to Greece and Cyprus, both he and the Cypriot ambassador to the Holy See have issued statements highlighting, among other things, the urgency of the migration issue for the island nation and the broader Mediterranean region.
Visiting Cyprus and Greece in early December, Pope Francis will have several meetings with the countries’ Orthodox leaders and with the migrants and refugees their nations host.
Pope Francis’ planned trip to the eastern Mediterranean in December will focus on migration, Catholic-Orthodox relations and promoting peace in a region known more for its vacation spots than its ongoing political tensions.
In an interview with an Argentine news site, Pope Francis confirmed travel plans for the end of this year and spoke of several international gatherings of world leaders, including the upcoming G20 summit in Rome and the COP26 gathering in Glasgow.
Pope Francis on Wednesday said that Communion is for those who are “in the community” and politicians who support abortion are “outside of the community.”
Speaking at the largest Roma impoverished community in Europe, Pope Francis said they are not in the margins of the Catholic Church, but at its center, and that they should be at the center of society too, integrated and not hidden from view.
Pope Francis said on Tuesday, Sept. 14, that the cross is not a flag to be waved, nor a political symbol. The pontiff’’s remarks were seen as a rebuke of populist politicians such as Matteo Salvini in Italy and Viktor Orban in Hungary using religious symbols as political tools.