During his visit to Peru, to celebrate the centenary of the Canon Sisters of the Cross, the Apostolic Nuncio in Caracas, Monsignor Aldo Giordano gave an interview to ZENIT, carried out by Jose Antonio Varela Vidal.
In this exchange, among other topics discussed, such as migration and the forthcoming Synod for the Amazon, the Prelate spoke about the grave situation in Venezuela and the role of the Catholic Church in the country, as well as that of Vatican diplomacy.
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The Nuncio has been in several countries of Europe, but a few days ago, he made his first trip to Peru. And he is excited about it, as he mentions his astonishment on reaching the heights of Machu Picchu, but he is also happy to be in the land of the Incas for the centenary of a Peruvian Congregation, whose nuns serve in the Nunciature of Venezuela.
He is anxious over the reality being lived in Venezuela, and talks in this interview about the unsustainable situation of the Bolivarian country, and how much more Pope Francis would like to help.
–Q: You have arrived in Lima to celebrate the one hundred years of the Canon Sisters of the Cross that also work in Venezuela. What values does the Congregation bring to the country today?
–Monsignor Giordano: These days enabled me to meet with the Mother Foundress, Teresa de la Cruz, and learn about the charism. What is most impressive is that the focus is on the crucified Christ, on the Cross. She saw Love in the crucified Christ; she saw the ideal of life, a model of life. I believe this is the point because in Venezuela we have people that are suffering, that are living a Passion, that are crucified. I believe the presence of the Canonesses is like a call to Venezuela to return to the heart of Christianity, to return to the values that are the heart of the Gospel and renew our faith.
–Q: How is Venezuela living its Passion?
–Monsignor Giordano: All this is a Passion. There are tears and sufferings, but with the possibility that from the tears, from the Passions, the Christmas of Love might be lived. And if people still believe in solidarity, believe in justice, believe in peace, then they believe in a renewed society.
–Q: What contributions is the Catholic Church making at present to the daily life of the people in Venezuela?
–Monsignor Giordano: I believe the Church has the great responsibility to maintain the faith, to always return to the faith, to the heart of the faith. Then, of keeping hope alive because, when people suffer, the temptation is to lose hope and even experience depression, experience exhaustion, experience frustration in the face of the lack of a future. And the third thing is charity; it is love that is expressed with many faces.
–Q: What is the role of Vatican diplomacy in resolving Venezuela?
–Monsignor Giordano: We are always ready to help countries. If we can help, we help — the Pope wants to help, Vatican diplomacy wants to help.
–Q: The way out it seems is through an electoral process, no?
–Monsignor Giordano: It’s the people that decide. In general, in elections, the people have the ability to decide. What path do they want? There are elections . . .
–Q: Does the Church have facilities to exercise her ministry or are there blockages and impediments?
–Monsignor Giordano: It’s difficult to say when the Church lives easier or more difficult times because if Christ gave the world His Passion, His Cross, it’s difficult to say that, when we live the Passion, it’s an easier or more difficult time.
–Q: There is strong emigration in Venezuela. Pope Francis’ position on this aspect is to seek the world’s integration, that room is given to the needy . . . Why is there resistance to this teaching?
–Monsignor Giordano: I take advantage of the moment to thank the people of Peru for receiving the Venezuelans. Over these days, I listened to the problems, which don’t exist only in Europe; we also have problems here. To begin with, the Pope’s address is very simple. The Pope makes his speech and politicians and economists must make theirs. The Pope says: we are all children of the one Father; we are all brothers and sisters. This is our faith: to be a source of fraternity. To renounce fraternity is to renounce our faith. How can one imagine that the Pope says otherwise?
–Q: However, a sector is frightened because in the immigrant presence in Europe there are many Muslims and they fear Christianity will be “displaced.”
–Monsignor Giordano: I have 20 years of experience with European institutions, also as a representative of the Holy See. The first responsibility is our house. If Europe is conscious of its roots, of its identity, of what its cultural tradition means, this house is well built, it has identity, and is ready to accept guests. If this house doesn’t exist, if it’s empty and if it’s weak, it becomes an empty place, where space is left for others to occupy.
–Q: How can this identity be reinforced?
–Monsignor Giordano: The first thing is to recover it because a family that has its identity is much more ready, more capable of receiving others. The Pope believes in the culture of encounter; he doesn’t believe in violence. He doesn’t think that problems can be solved by killing one another.
–Q: The Synod for the Amazon begins in three weeks. Why are people coming to it so polarized? It seems that some see the Amazonian problems and potential very distant . . .
–Monsignor Giordano: The Pope wanted a Synod of the universal Church on a subject that seems regional. However, the Amazon subject is global, it’s catholic, as it is a lung of the whole of humanity, of planet earth. Therefore, as subject of creation, of the environment, it’s fundamental. However, the other great topic is the inhabitants of the Amazon region, the native peoples. How can these people be served through evangelization? How can their cultural tradition be served, the encounters between indigenous cultures, the new cities? How can the economic, social problems be addressed and the lack of development that we see there today?
–Q: Francis has put himself in the front line . . .
–Monsignor Giordano: The Pope wants to go out to see the Indians, who are our brother peoples.