What Vatican Diplomacy Aims to Be

According to Secretary for Relations With States

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- More than playing a leading role on the international scene, the diplomacy of the Holy See aims to be a “humble seed of peace,” says a Vatican official.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, made that point in statements to the television program “Rome Reports,” as he discussed the issue of reform of the United Nations.

The archbishop called for clarity in the U.N. proposals aimed at facilitating “action in the prevention of conflicts” in the world.

In particular, he said that it is necessary to make “a humanitarian intervention” possible, specifically when it tries “to disarm the unjust aggressor.”

Archbishop Lajolo pointed out John Paul II’s contribution to diplomacy during his pontificate, explaining that the pontifical representations, or nunciatures, have increased to 174 from 107, not including the 17 representations to international organizations.

The prelate acknowledged that on occasions the Holy See’s diplomatic action has failed, as at the time of Benedict XV and Pius XII, prior to the world wars and, recently, when John Paul II failed to prevent the war in Iraq.

“But history has given the Popes the right of reason. Unfortunately, when diplomacy is silenced, arms speak,” he said.

“I would like to add that, in addition to the known cases of success or failure of Vatican diplomacy, there is much diplomatic activity of the Holy See, covered by necessary reserve, directed to surmounting differences, to explaining the reasons and expectations of the other side, to proposing possible points of agreement,” Archbishop Lajolo observed.

“The specifically Christian vocation of our diplomacy” consists in being “a humble seed of peace,” rather than “playing a leading role on the great international political scene,” he said.

Regarding the peace process in the Holy Land and Iraq, Archbishop Lajolo said that the first step “is the cessation of all acts of violence.”

“Later, a serious dialogue must begin between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, namely, a dialogue in which each interlocutor not only presents, as is obvious, his own requests, but that he be totally committed to understand the good reasons of the other side,” the Vatican official said.

The Christian populations of those lands are a source of concern for Archbishop Lajolo, since they might leave the region because of their marginalization.

For this reason, “the Church and the Holy See cannot be detached from the ongoing negotiations,” he said.

Of Lebanon, Archbishop Lajolo said: “It is necessary that it regain full independence and be again, as it was in past centuries, a land of exemplary and friendly coexistence between components of different religious inspirations.”

The Pope and the Holy See are also very concerned about Africa, particularly the situation of some countries, such as those of the Great Lakes region, “where the sociopolitical situation is humanly unbearable,” the archbishop said.

The Vatican secretary for relations with states applauded the solidarity that arose in response to the Dec. 26 tsunami in Southeast Asia, but requested that “aid to populations and reconstruction” be continued for “a long time.”

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