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Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Pope’s Vision on Economy, Corruption, Summit of Americas

In ZENIT Interview, Discusses Mexican Migration Into US, an ‘Approaching’ of US-Cuban Relations

The Vatican Secretary of State says the Holy See has been attentive to the issue of many Mexicans immigrating into the United States, and has underscored that this is likely one of the key topics to be discussed at next month’s Summit of the Americas.

Answering several questions by ZENIT and other journalists, Cardinal Pietro Parolin not only speaks on the significance of the Summit of Americas, in which US President Barack Obama, the political leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, other American nations, and–marking a first–the Vatican’s highest political official, Cardinal Parolin, will participate, but also what this means for relations among these nations.

The Holy See’s top diplomat also explains what the Pope really means when he speaks about an economy ‘at the service of man,’ what institutions must do to live up to Francis’ standard, and what the Holy See is doing to address the challenge of Mexican migration into the United States, especially the affected children.

Moreover, Cardinal Parolin addresses the Pope’s criticism of corruption and reveals what this means on a practical level for those trying to live honest lives in the workplace or at home.

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ZENIT: For the first time in history the Holy See will be present at the Summit of Americas. Could you speak about your hopes and expectations for this hemispheric gathering and why it’s important, especially in light of participation with the nations of Cuba, Venezuela?

Cardinal Parolin: Of course. The summit of the Americas is important because for the first time all the nations and countries of America are participating. This movement of approaching between the United States and Cuba is significant. It is an occasion for the continents to grow and to form a greater basis for having greater roles and collaboration.

ZENIT: On a different, but somewhat connected note, at what point would the Holy See consider getting involved with the issue of migrants coming into the United States from Mexico?

Cardinal Parolin: We are participating in this. I was in Mexico last year to attend a seminar on migration in Mexico. I really think that from that time, we are really thinking about this topic, especially migration of children.

I think it was a very important moment, or achievement rather, because all the nations, the participants, were equally interested in establishing an economic collaboration among themselves, just to present to us this problem.

I think this was very promising. It really was a rather promising seminar. Well, granted I don’t exactly know the agenda, the program, of the upcoming [Summit of the Americas], but I believe or would imagine migration would be one of the subjects. I believe the work of the summit would focus on this.

Q: The Pope always speaks about an economy at the service of man. What does that mean?

Cardinal Parolin: It is exactly this. For the Pope, also economic activity should be put at the service of human dignity and of the growth of man. This, therefore, implies the great need to give particular attention to man, especially for those who are the most weak and vulnerable, for the poor. Therefore, an economy ‘at the service,’ not an economy that dominates, that imposes itself, but an economy that becomes really an instrument of growth personally and for the community. [This] is what he is referring to.

Q: What must the institutions do or do more of to combat this economy of exclusion?

Cardinal Parolin: The institutions must have an ethical approach to the economy, not merely economic and financial, where the criteria of profits prevail, but rather must have an ethical approach. I return to my discourse from before. There’s an approach in which in finance and economy that one admits a helping or being oriented toward the people.

And eventually also the Pope will underline that the poor must have a good commitment, in this sense, to collaborate, because the economy can become truly an economy for man.

Q: It is common knowledge that in Italy, including in politics, there has been some corruption. The Pope has said this, most recently in his visit to Napoli on March 21, in condemning a corruption “that stinks.” In the Italian Senate and Parliament there has been discussion over a law against corruption. With such possible appeals to responsibility, can they be of value for trying to fight against today’s corruption?

Cardinal Parolin: I think the president of the Senate, Pietro Grasso [president of the Italian Senate, also speaking at the Lime’s sponsored panel on ‘Money and Empire’ in Rome] spoke exactly to the point of the necessity of being responsible. And therefore this invitation from the Pope was directed at all and directed also to these phenomenons, to the people, the phenomenons that interest Italy. So, yes, ‘Yes,’ is the response. 

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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