Meeting of Foreign Ministers from Europe and Arab nations to discuss war in the Middle East Meeting of Foreign Ministers from Europe and Arab nations to discuss war in the Middle East  (AFP or licensors)

Cardinal Parolin emphasizes need for dialogue for peace

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin reflects on current developments in a world at war and offers his perspective on words Pope Francis used during his General Audience when he lamented the suffering of the people in the Holy Land due to the conflict between Israel and said: “this is not war; this is terrorism.”

By Vatican News

Responding to questions put to him by journalists before celebrating Mass in a Rome church on Thursday afternoon, the Vatican Secretary of State, commented on Pope Francis’ words on Wednesday regarding the war between Israel and Hamas.

"It seems to me that the Holy See tries in every way to be just, to be fair to everyone, and to take into account everyone's suffering," the Vatican Secretary of State said, emphasizing the Vatican's clear stance against the recent Hamas attack on Israel while acknowledging the suffering on the Palestinian side.


The Cardinal highlighted the Holy Father's closeness to all those who are suffering in this conflict.

"The Pope wants to be close to the suffering of all those who are suffering," he said.

When asked about efforts to open channels of dialogue, Cardinal Parolin pointed to the hostage issue, expressing his belief in its potential to contribute to finding a solution.

"I believe that this gesture, even [the one] by the Pope, can serve in this sense, in the sense of helping to find a solution to the problem," he said.

Issue of Ukrainian children taken to Russia

On the issue of Ukrainian children who have been forcibly taken to Russia, Cardinal Parolin said that the diplomacy activated by Cardinal Zuppi's visit to Moscow and Kyiv is yielding some results.

He was cautious in speaking about expectations but noted progress in the ongoing efforts.

Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's credibility in calling for an end to the war, Cardinal Parolin expressed hope.

"I hope he is credible because that is what we all hope for," he said.

Concerns for anti-Semitism

Addressing concerns about the wave of anti-Semitism that has emerged since the beginning of the Hamas-Israel conflict, the Cardinal affirmed that the Holy See remains deeply concerned about such incidents.

"The achievements of these years, starting with Nostra Aetate, are certainly not called into question by these episodes," he said.

When asked about the delay in the implementation of the agreement between Hamas and Israel, Cardinal Parolin acknowledged it as a concerning sign and affirming his hope the agreement will hold, he highlighted the importance of addressing the hostage issue for achieving a measure of détente.

The manner of the Holy See

Responding to some criticism that has been voiced regarding the Pope’s choice of the word “terrorism” when referring to the war in the Holy Land, Cardinal Parolin dismissed them as unfair.

"What the Pope says, he says clearly. He certainly does not say it the way they want him to. Simply this," he commented.

Finally, in the context of discussing peace in the current global scenario, the Cardinal highlighted the challenges of maintaining a position of neutrality and addressing both sides, while acknowledging that the Holy See has always faced criticisms for its approach to conflicts.

In conclusion, the Vatican Secretary of State explained that the Holy Father never steps back from saying what must be said, but he has to do so in the manner and style of the Holy See.

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23 November 2023, 18:26