The key words of the present pontificate are: to fight poverty, both material as well as spiritual; to make peace and to build bridges, assured the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in a text published by La Civilta Cattolica.
The Vatican Secretary of State intervened on May 10, 2017, at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, during a Round Table on the occasion of the publication of the 4000th issue of the Jesuit Review, on the theme: “Magellan’s Look: The Diplomacy of Bridges in a World of Walls.”
La Civilta Cattolica — said the Vatican’s “Number 2” before the President of the Italian Council, Paolo Gentiloni and numerous ambassadors –, “is a qualified instrument to understand and reflect further on the teachings of the Sovereign Pontiffs, from Blessed Pius IX to Pope Francis. It is born of a community of reflection and prayer, which for 167 years has accompanied the path of the Catholic Church.”
Recalling “a season tragically marked by the blind violence of fundamentalist terrorism” and by “the growth in power of a new affirmation of nationalisms and populisms, “ Cardinal Parolim invited to address this “change of epoch” and to rediscover “Magellan’s look.”
“At the origin of Ferdinand Magellan’s extraordinary adventure, and other similar ones that history has known, was an attitude rooted in confidence in God’s Providence, on one hand, and in man’s capacities on the other. In general, these fierce explorers aspired to something greater, namely, to write a new page of humanity’s adventure,” said the Secretary of State.
Cardinal Parolin highlighted in the explorers’ attitude “a threefold dynamism of spirit: a restless sense, the humility of incompleteness and the courage of the imagination.” Three attitudes that give “interior freedom” to be able to “stay on the high seas, that is, ready to scrutinize a horizon in permanent change, without withdrawing to safe ports guaranteeing an apparent calm but which, in fact, impede taking up again courageously the long voyage of history.”
The Pope’s Connecting Thread
They are “three precious coordinates, to also understand today Pope Francis’ attitude and papal diplomacy in face of the urgent challenges of our time.” The Cardinal reflected on these “reference elements” of the Argentine Pope’s pontificate, notably the “connecting thread of the Apostolic Journeys, “ever attentive to situations of material and moral malaise, which wound humanity of our time.”
He also spoke of “another characteristic element of the Pope’s sensitivity: the reality is always superior to the idea. We find ourselves in the real, in concrete life, before confronting ourselves with ideas and systems of different thoughts. In other words, it is about embracing the other, as he presents himself and where he is, that I can undertake with him a fraternal voyage towards truth and reconciliation.”
The Secretary of State also analyzed the “geo-politics of a voyage from the peripheries to the center.” “We are also witnessing a sort of new ‘Copernican revolution’ in the light of the Gospel . . . we know all the attention the Pope gives to the existential and geographic peripheries of our time. He begins from a simple fact: poverty, the frailty of the man of today and the weakness of a de-structured and ‘de-centered’ society, which wounds the dignity of the human person.”
New Ways of Communication
On the plane of international relations, he noted three whole challenges adopted by the Pope: “engagement for peace, nuclear disarmament, protection of the environment.” “A series of other global perspectives gush from these horizons: the promotion of a civilization of encounter, the accompaniment of the migratory phenomenon, the sharing of the goods of the earth and the dignity of work, particularly for the young generations.”
“Scrutinizing the horizon with ‘Magellan’s look,’ the Pope is seeking to open new ways of communication and of encounters, notably by building ideal bridges between one Continent and another, between different cultures and religions, between legal systems and thought often far from one another,” he said.
For Cardinal Parolin, “the key words of the present pontificate are: to fight against poverty, both material and spiritual; to make peace; to build bridges.” These three points “guide a personal, social and global path. A difficult path, if we remain trapped in the prison of our indifference; an unrealizable path, if we believe that peace is simply a utopia; a possible path, if we accept the challenge of having confidence in God and in man, and if we engage ourselves in reconstructing a genuine fraternity, taking care of Creation.”
It is necessary to “have much courage and to leave behind the complaisant certitudes that we have acquired, by engaging in a genuine conversion of heart, of priorities, <and> of lifestyles,” he concluded.