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PM invites Gonzi to Vatican ceremony

Malta’s delegation for tomorrow’s inauguration of Pope Francis will include Lawrence Gonzi, who was invited by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as a token of unity.

The news emerged when Dr Muscat yesterday tweeted: “Malta delegation for Pope Francis inauguration to symbolise national unity. Asked Lawrence Gonzi to join President and myself. Glad he accepted.”

A spokesman said the Prime Minister had asked Dr Gonzi and his wife Kate to join because this was an occasion of joy in a time of exciting change for the Roman Catholic Church.

It was also a signal that when it came to issues of unity, the Government would continue to reflect it in every possible way, he added.

On his part, Dr Gonzi said he was grateful for the invitation: “I accepted with pleasure hoping that this sends a positive message to the country.

“I am also pleased and honoured to be able to attend and witness this momentous event for the Catholic Church and the values it represents, especially those that Pope Francis has espoused from the very first moments of his papacy.”

The Maltese delegation for Pope John Paul II’s funeral in 2005 included Opposition Leader Alfred Sant, but Dr Sant was not at the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI.

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