Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Vatican Photo: Europapress

Vatican’s Secretary of State Went to Andorra to Address Thorny Questions of The Principality’s Life

A delicate matter faced by Cardinal Pietro Parolin was the decriminalization of abortion, which both sides address with constant dialogue and discretion.

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(ZENIT News / Andorra, 18.09.2023).- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, went, last September 7, on an official visit to Andorra. While there, he met in  the Casa de la Vall with the Head of the Government, Xavier Espot, and the country’s Consell General or Parliament.

The Cardinal also presided over a Solemn Eucharist in the Meritxell Shrine, on the 150thanniversary of the proclamation of the Virgin of Meritxell as Patroness of Andorra.

A delicate matter faced by the Cardinal was the decriminalization of abortion, which both sides address with constant dialogue and discretion.

The Catholic Church puts on the table the fundamental principle  “of the defense of life in all its stages,” conscious of the difficulties that people have, including pregnant women who need concrete support. Being proposed in the current legislature is the elimination of the criminal liability of women that abort. Andorra is one of the few Western countries with legislation that makes abortion illegal.

Andorra is a Principality with seven parishes. It’s form of Government is Parliamentary democracy with two Heads of State: the Catholic Bishop of Urgel, in the Aragonese region, whose authority was assumed in 1133, and the President of France, power that tradition dates back to Charlemagne for granting independence to the State in exchange for fighting against Al-Ándalus. The Co-Principality regime was established in 1278. Given that ecclesial life depends on the diocese of Urgel, the Holy See’s representative said that “there has never been talk” about the constitution of Andorra as diocese. Xavier Espot, said that “these conjectures neither obey the reality nor the requests made by Andorra.”

Pending also is the appointment of a Coadjutor Bishop who in the future will replace the current Archbishop of Urgel, Joan-Enric Vives, close to 75, age in which he will request officially his resignation from the episcopal position, which entails the Co-Principality.

During the Meritxell Mass, in the presence of the Authorities and Government officials, Cardinal Parolin praised the Principality’s Christian and institutional life, whose gaze is “open and penetrating,” “capable of looking to the future.”


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Rafael Llanes

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