VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Holy See diplomacy must act as “the leaven of the Gospel,” says Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who steps down as Vatican secretary of state next week.
The quotation is the title of the book that the Libreria Editrice Vaticana has just published in Italian, with the subtitle: “The Presence of the Holy See in the Life of Nations.”
The volume includes 12 addresses of a diplomatic and ecclesial nature, delivered by Cardinal Sodano, who is retiring.
The director of the Vatican press office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, noted that Cardinal Sodano, 78, has been one of the longest-serving secretaries of state: almost 16 years, since Dec. 1, 1990.
Presenting the book to the press today, Monsignor Gabriele Giordano Caccia, councilor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, explained that, according to Cardinal Sodano’s vision, the Holy See’s mission in the world consists in the commitment to “introduce the Christian leaven in the life of nations.”
The cardinal believes that the Holy See seeks “to take the leaven of the Gospel of Christ to the life of persons and nations,” according to Monsignor Caccia.
“The Church’s reason for being in the world is to continue the work of her Lord,” Cardinal Sodano states in the text.
Monsignor Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for relations with states of the Vatican secretariat, was also on hand at the meeting with journalists. He explained that “the centrality of the human person is the principle that inspires the Holy See’s diplomatic action.”
For this reason, the diplomatic mission of the Holy See is “at the service of men and nations, regardless of their religion,” he clarified.
In the book’s introduction, Cardinal Sodano welcomes his successor as secretary of state, 71-year-old Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.