Newsdesk (July 14, 2021 9:02 AM, Gaudium Press) In an exclusive interview with the French daily La Croix, published on July 11, 2021, a few days after his visit to Strasbourg, Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke on various subjects, including relations between France and the Holy See and reforms of the Roman Curia. In conversation with La Croix correspondent Loup Besmond de Senneville he also addressed sexual abuse and bioethics issues.
On the bioethics law recently adopted in France, Cardinal Parolin explained that “it is important for Catholics to be able to make their voice heard, with arguments based on their faith, even in such sensitive debates.” And he continued: “even if the law has already been adopted, because they do so in the name of defending the dignity and value of every human life.”
About the work in France of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, due to report its findings soon, the cardinal admits that it “will probably be a great moment of suffering.” “But we must not be afraid of the truth,” the Cardinal Secretary of State continued, “that many Catholics will be very saddened and scandalized by what they will read.” “But we must go through this trial. From this can come a new awareness to fight against these phenomena and to prevent the repetition of these acts.”
The Catholic Church in France
The cardinal stressed that diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See “are positive” and “contacts at various levels are very frequent.” We share common concerns, such as ecology, which has become a central theme of the Holy See’s international activity, as well as the management of the pandemic.” Still, we also have some differences, such as the issue of disarmament or nuclear power.
Cardinal Parolin also addressed the issue of secularism, “a very sensitive subject in France”, pointing out that “French secularism has characteristics that cannot be found anywhere else,” linked to the country’s history, “and in particular to the French Revolution, but also to the various stages that led to the separation of Church and State, and sometimes to a strong rejection of religion”.
All historical episodes have left their mark and contributed to the “marginalization of the religious dimension in social life,” says the cardinal. He stressed that both the Church and the State could contribute “to the common good”: “The ideal is always to have both an autonomy of the political community from the Church and a healthy collaboration between them. The Church and the State have the common goal of contributing to the common good.”
On Reforms at the Vatican
Cardinal Parolin explains that “many reforms have been made since the beginning of the pontificate” of Pope Francis in the Vatican. “It is now a question of starting to live the reform,” he says.
In the Vatican, he added, “there is a real will” to ensure that the Curia “is an instrument at the service of the Holy Father for the good of the Church.” “We must now avoid anything that may have obscured the image of its services in the past. We have a great responsibility.”
A new constitution is currently being examined “by canonists”, the Secretary of State said. This text “aims to give a coherent framework to all the reforms already undertaken”.
As for the trial on the London property investment, Cardinal Parolin believes that it will be a moment of “judicial truth”: “The real truth is known by the Lord,” he notes. “The truth established before the tribunal is a human truth. But I really hope that it can emerge during this trial, for the good of all.”
He does not see this trial as a “turning point” in the history of the Vatican: “The turning point is rather the reforms that have been made over the last few years. The change is there. This trial is rather the consequence of previous reforms.”
(With Files from Zenit and La Croix)