Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Cardinal Parolin frightened by French leader’s mention of troops in Ukraine

Pope Francis Meets French President Macron at the Vatican| National  Catholic Register

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said that French President Emanuel Macron’s suggestion that Europe could send ground troops to Ukraine opens a “frightening scenario”. 

Mr Macron announced Monday new steps to boost Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion, saying he cannot rule out Western troops being deployed to achieve Europe's goal of defeating Moscow.

“It’s a truly frightening scenario,” said Cardinal Parolin on the sidelines of a Vatican event on Tuesday afternoon, "because it would bring about the escalation that we have always tried to avoid from the beginning. It's a scenario that I wouldn't call apocalyptic because perhaps that's an exaggerated word at this moment, but certainly it's fearsome," he added.

Asked about the possible reasons for Mr Macron’s suggestion, he said it is probably because, after two years of war, there is still “no prospect of a solution on the horizon, be it military or negotiated “.

“It would be ideal to really find a way to get the two sides to start talking and dialoguing”, added Cardinal Parolin. “I believe that if we talk, a solution will be found.”

“Various types of solutions have been proposed, the important thing is that there is the will to implement them.”

New appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Vatican Secretary of State confirmed that there have been no developments in diplomatic contacts with Israel, reiterating that what the Holy See wants is for dialogue to start: "Our concern is, first of all, to find a way to have the hostages released and for humanitarian assistance which continues to be very difficult. So the only path is that of a ceasefire", he insisted.

The Centesimus Annus Foundation  “Economy and Society” Prize

Cardinal Parolin’s remarks came on the sidelines of the ceremony awarding the 2024 “Economy and Society” International Prize to Chilean professor Montero Orphanopoulos, for the book “Vulnerabilidad. Hacia una ética más humana.” (“Vulnerability. Towards a more humane Ethics”).

The prize is awarded every two years by the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation to a publication “which stands out for its original contribution to in-depth study and implementation of the Social Doctrine of the Church, is of proven doctrinal soundness and exceptional quality, and is accessible to the general public”.

Cardinal Parolin focused his closing keynote speech at the event on the theme of fraternity. 

“The awareness of our vulnerability opens us to the experience of otherness – he said - which disposes us to the gift of fraternity and to the encounter with God. In becoming close to our brothers we will rediscover ourselves, we will rediscover our most authentic humanity".

We need a culture of care

"Vulnerability is not only an ontological limit – Cardinal Parolin clarified - but it is also our openness towards the infinite, our need for love and salvation, and our profound need to be with others. In this sense, the ethics of vulnerability enhances sensitivity and tenderness, to reach a true spiritual maturity in which even the miseries of the soul are welcomed with courage and compassion".

"What we need," the Secretary of State remarked,  "is to give comfort to the marginalized, despite our fragility and our limits."

Today, however, the "technocratic system, in which investments in technology influence political choices, favours efficiency and the culture of waste". 

The search for profit at any cost, he said,  "is the root cause of financial speculation, the arms trade, environmental pollution and consequently the social injustices that cause inequality and marginalization."

Artificial Intelligence can amplify inequalities

The possible impact of artificial intelligence on life was a further aspect of Parolin's reflection, who expressed his concern that "artificial intelligence could amplify existing inequalities, perpetuating biases present in the current data used to train algorithms. 

This - he warned - could lead to unfair or discriminatory decisions in areas such as employment, financing systems, healthcare, education, justice, immigration and international relations".

Reduce the debt of poor countries

Hence the need to change the economic structures "which still generate poverty, exclusion and dependence" by encouraging a form of international solidarity capable of eradicating one of the deepest and most ancient roots of financial imperialism, the control of States' debts. 

Debt, Cardinal Parolin said, should be invested in social, educational and health programmes as urged by  Pope Francis who asks for courage to overcome the logic of exploitation, and to create new models of development, in which the poor are an integral part of the social fabric.

Vulnerability as an opportunity

The prize-winning book by Professor Montero Orphanopoulos fits well into this framework of considerations and offers a paradigm for addressing moral problems throughout the world, said Cardinal Reinhard Marx in his introductory laudation speech.

The German cardinal highlighted just how important the theme of vulnerability is for Pope Francis who insists so much on an attitude of openness towards the world, of reaching out to the other.

He hailed the book as a remarkable and interdisciplinary work that considers using the concept of ​​vulnerability in psychology, sociology, philosophy, bioethics, biblical studies and also in the Magisterium of the post-conciliar Church.