In his catechesis today at the general audience, Pope Francis summarized his weekend trip to Malta and, in talking about the geopolitical situations of today, he spoke of Ukraine and said, “we are witnessing the impotence of the International Organizations.” In fact, the headline on the front page of today’s Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, was “The impotence of the United Nations Organization in the current war in Ukraine.”

On a lighter note, today is World Carbonara Day. So here’s a link to everything Italian chefs want you to know about making the perfect carbonara: Ask an Italian: What are the unbreakable rules for making real pasta carbonara? (thelocal.it)


As many of you may already know, having attended or watched on television or online, a weekly general papal audience opens with monsignori from the Secretariat of State introducing a Bible verse with the theme of the day, and then later reciting a summary of the papal catechesis, always delivered in Italian, in seven different languages.

In recent weeks there have been a number of laymen and women in these roles, and today five women opened the general audience presentations.

The papal catechesis was, as it usually is after an apostolic voyage, a summary of his weekend trip to Malta.

Pope Francis began his talk by noting that, “in the Acts of the Apostles, we read that Paul, after his shipwreck off the island of Malta, was received there with ‘unusual kindness’ (28:2). This spirit of welcome and charitable concern shown by the Maltese to the Apostle and his companions should inspire our own response to the complex issue of migration today, which is not simply an emergency but a sign of our times.”

The Holy Father explained that “Malta is at the forefront of these efforts, as I saw at the “John XXIII Peace Lab” Centre. There we were reminded that migrants bring with them unique stories and have a wealth of gifts to offer. At the Grotto of Saint Paul, I prayed for a renewal of the missionary spirit that has always distinguished the Church in Malta.”

Francis emphasized how “Our prayer meeting at the National Marian Shrine of Ta’ Pinu in Gozo reflected the strong devotion of the Maltese people to Our Lady, who always brings us back to what is essential: to Christ crucified and risen and to the joy of the Gospel with its saving message of God’s merciful love for our human family. May God bless Malta and its people with prosperity and peace.

In his remarks, the Pope again expressed his “thanks to the president and civil authorities, to the Bishops and faithful, and to the many volunteers for their generous welcome.”


At the end of the catechesis, Pope Francis said, “The recent news of the war in Ukraine, rather than bringing relief and hope, attests instead of new atrocities, like the massacre in Bucha: ever more horrendous cruelty done even against defenseless civilians, women and children. They are victims whose innocent blood cries to Heaven and implores: put an end to this war! Silence the weapons! Stop sowing death and destruction! Let us pray together for this…

“And yesterday, precisely from Bucha, they brought me this flag. This flag comes from the war, precisely from that war-torn city, Bucha. There are also some Ukrainian children who are here with us. Let us greet them and pray together with them. (Vatican photo)

“These children had to escape and come to a foreign land: this is one of the fruits of war. Let us not forget them, and let us not forget the Ukrainian people. It is hard to be uprooted from your own land due to war.”

Pope Francis pointed to the small group of children, from a baby to one about 10 years old, and asked them to come up on the stage. They did so willingly and stood around the Pope, one young man holding a drawing he had made. Huge wrapped chocolate Easter eggs were given to each child. (Vatican photo)


In his Italian language catechesis about his just-concluded trip to Malta, the Pope highlighted its geographic “position in the center of the sea between Europe and Africa that also bathes Asia. Malta is a sort of ‘wind rose’,** where peoples and cultures meet. It is a perfect place to observe the Mediterranean area from a 360º degree perspective.”

“Today we often hear about ‘geopolitics’. But unfortunately, the dominant logic are the strategies of the most powerful countries to affirm their own interests, extending their area of economic, ideological and military influence. In this scheme, Malta represents the rights and power of the ‘small’ nations, small but rich in history and civilization that should lead toward another logic – that of respect and freedom, of the coexistence of differences, opposed to the colonization of the most powerful.”

The Holy Father exclaimed, “After World War II, the attempt was made to lay the foundations of a new era of peace. But, unfortunately, the old story of competition between the greater powers went on. And, in the current war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the impotence of the International Organizations.”

** Before the use of magnetic compasses, a ‘wind rose’ was a guide on mariners’ charts to show the directions of the eight principal winds.


Michel Aoun, the president of Lebanon said in a tweet yesterday that Pope Francis would be visiting his country in June, although he did not mention a specific date.

A statement from the president’s office also said that, “Apostolic Envoy Joseph Spiteri informed President Michel Aoun that Pope Francis will visit Lebanon next June.”

The Vatican has not confirmed that information but papal spokesman Matteo Bruni said yesterday, “it is one of the things we are studying.”

In March. Pope Francis received Lebanon’s President Aoun and last November he welcomed Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati. There is a Muslim majority in Lebanon but also a great number of Christians. The Lebanese constitution dictates that the president must be a Christian and prime minister a Sunni Muslim.

Ever since the explosion that rocked the port of Beirut in August 2020, that killed 200 people and brought down numerous buildings in the capital, the country has faced enormous financial problems. The Pope has spoken out many times since that explosion, asking the country’s leaders and international organizations to help Lebanon return to better times, and has received numerous religious and civil leaders from the country. He has mentioned many times wanting to visit the country.



day’s general audience, held in the San Damaso courtyard, was the first since February in the presence of the faithful. Approximately 500 attended this week’s audience.

At the end of the general audience catechesis in Italian and summaries in a number of languages, Pope Francis, in the presence of a priest from Lebanon, made a heartfelt appeal for aid to that “beloved nation.”

Fr. Georges Breidi, 35, of the Congregation of the Maronite Lebanese Missionaries who is studying in Rome at the Gregorian University, presented the Holy Father with a Lebanese flag. As Fr. Breidi stood, holding one end pf the flag, Pope Francis held another as he read his appeal. The priest later said brief words in Italian and both the Pope and priest stood together with the faithful present at the audience to pray in silence for Lebanon. (Vatican media photo)

Dear brothers and sisters, one month after the tragedy that struck the city of Beirut, my thoughts still go to dear Lebanon and its particularly tried population. And this priest who is here has carried the flag of Lebanon to this audience.

As Saint John Paul II said thirty years ago at a crucial moment in the country’s history, I too repeat today: “Faced with the repeated tragedies that each of the inhabitants of this land knows, we become aware of the extreme danger that threatens the very existence of the country. Lebanon cannot be abandoned in its solitude “(Apostolic Letter to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the situation in Lebanon, 7 September 1989)

For over a hundred years, Lebanon has been a country of hope. Even during the darkest periods of its history, the Lebanese have kept their faith in God and demonstrated the ability to make their land a place of tolerance, respect and coexistence unique in the region. The affirmation that Lebanon represents something more than a state is profoundly true: Lebanon “is a message of freedom, it is an example of pluralism both for the East and for the West” (ibid.). For the good of the country itself, but also of the world, we cannot allow this patrimony to be lost.

I encourage all Lebanese to continue to hope and to find the strength and energy necessary to start again. I ask politicians and religious leaders to engage with sincerity and transparency in the reconstruction work, dropping partisan interests and looking at the common good and the future of the nation. I also renew my invitation to the international community to support the country to help it emerge from the serious crisis, without being involved in regional tensions.

In particular, I address the inhabitants of Beirut, severely tested by the explosion: take courage, brothers and sisters! May faith and prayer be your strength! Do not abandon your homes and your heritage, do not let the dreams fail of those who have believed in the future of a beautiful and prosperous country.

Dear pastors, bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, lay people, continue to accompany your faithful. I ask you bishops and priests for apostolic zeal; I ask you for poverty, no luxury, poverty with your poor people who are suffering. You must give the example of poverty and humility. Help your faithful and your people to stand up and be protagonists of a new rebirth. May all of you be agents of harmony and renewal in the name of common interest, of a true culture of encounter, of living together in peace, of brotherhood. A word so dear to St. Francis: brotherhood. May this harmony be a renewal in the common interest. On this foundation it will be possible to ensure the continuity of the Christian presence and your invaluable contribution to the country, the Arab world and the whole region, in a spirit of brotherhood among all the religious traditions that exist in Lebanon.

It is for this reason that I would like to invite everyone to live a universal day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon this Friday, September 4. I intend to send my representative that day to Lebanon to accompany the population: the Secretary of State (Cardinal Pietro Parolin) will go in my name to express my closeness and solidarity. We offer our prayers for all of Lebanon and for Beirut. We are also close with the concrete commitment of charity, as on other similar occasions. I also invite the brothers and sisters of other confessions and religious traditions to join this initiative in the ways they deem most appropriate, but all together.

And now I ask you to entrust our anxieties and hopes to Mary, Our Lady of Harissa. May she support those who mourn their loved ones and instill courage in all those who have lost their homes and part of their lives with them. May she intercede with the Lord Jesus so that the Land of Cedars may flourish again and spread the perfume of living together throughout the Middle East Region. And now I invite everyone, as far as possible, to stand up in silence and pray in silence for Lebanon.