VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 21, 2017 (Zenit.org).- Meetings in Russia Foster Path to Peace, says Cardinal Parolin.
Here is our translation of the synthesis by Vatican Radio (Marina Tonarro) of Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin’s interview by Ria Novosti Agency, on the occasion of his trip to Russia (August, 21-14, 2017).
“I’m going to visit Russia for the purpose of talking about, in addition to topics of a bilateral character and those regarding the life of the Catholic Church, also questions connected with the conflicts that afflict many, too many regions of the world. So that every effort will be made to re-establish justice and peace, in respect of the dignity and inviolability of every human person,” said the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, in an interview with the Russian State agency Ria Novosti, explaining the reason for his important visit to the country, which begins today and will end on Thursday.
Planned for the first day is the Cardinal’s meeting with the Catholic Bishops of the country, a conversation with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department for Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate and, in the evening, a Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow. And among the most important meetings planned for the next few days are those with the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov. During the conversations, particular attention will be given to the Middle East and to the dramatic situation of Syria and Iraq, but also to the war in Ukraine and the unresolved situations of the southern Caucasus.
“There are various worrying international dossiers,” explained the Cardinal in the interview with Novosti agency, “and I think that particular attention will be able to be dedicated to them during the visit, especially in the situations where Russia is more directly active. In reality, the list would be long and it will not be the only object of discussion on this occasion, because diplomatic contacts are constant. However, the drama lived by the population, especially in some of the situations just mentioned, calls for assiduous attention at all levels.”
In regard to international relations, the Vatican Secretary of State stressed that the message of the Holy See is always that of putting above the interests of a particular State mutual respect and sincere dialogue, “even when such an attitude can be rather unpopular for vast strata of the population, for various reasons.”
Tomorrow the Cardinal will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “After the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Patriarch at Cuba, there is no doubt that relations between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church are going through a positive period,” pointed out Cardinal Parolin. However this goal becomes in turn the beginning of a new path, that of even more intense dialogue, in an attempt to understand one another ever better, overcoming the misunderstandings and the differences that can exist.”
Finally, responding to a question of a possible opening for a trip by Pope Francis to Russia, he said that at the moment “the topic of an eventual papal visit is not part of the agenda of the conversations,” but the hope is that every meeting, especially with Patriarch Kirill, “may contribute to prepare the way for the development of increasingly positive and intense contacts.