Benedict XVI receives the Grand Master in audience
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in audience at the Vatican, Fra’ Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, accompanied by the members of the Sovereign Council. Following a long-established tradition, the audience was held on the occasion of the feast of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Order of Malta.
In the friendly private conversation between the Pope and the Grand Master a number of issues were discussed, including the Order’s current actions in developing the spiritual formation of its members, the initiatives taken in furthering ecumenical dialogue, the Order’s commitments in the Holy Land and Africa, as well as the programmes developed in several countries to assist immigrants. Pope Benedict XVI has made many appeals to the international community to assist immigrants and refugees: ‘How can we fail to help those who are weak, defenceless, insecure, marginalised and often excluded by society?’
Before the papal audience, the Grand Master and his delegation were received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State.