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Cardinal Parolin: Action needed in Libya, but through the United Nations

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin arrives for a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the 1929 Lateran Pacts and the 1984 revision of the Concordat between Italy and Vatican, at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See in Rome. - AP

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin arrives for a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the 1929 Lateran Pacts and the 1984 revision of the Concordat between Italy and Vatican, at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See in Rome. - AP

18/02/2015 08:38

(Vatican Radio) Calling the situation in Libya “serious”, the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said action should be taken soon, “but any armed intervention must be undertaken under the framework of international law” and “under the umbrella of the United Nations.”

Cardinal Parolin was speaking to reporters after attending an event marking the anniversary of the Lateran Pacts at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See.

He also said it was important to “re-launch a diplomatic initiative” in Libya, where competing authorities control different sections of the country, and ISIL has gained a foothold.

Cardinal Parolin also drew attention to the manner in which the 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt died when they were murdered by Islamists in Libya last week. A video of their murder revealed they calmly called on Jesus as they were killed.

Calling the incident “terrifying”, he said the manner of their death was a “true testament to the sublime.”

“We are usually today led to underline the aspect of cruelty – and it is an unspeakable cruelty – and it is unbelievable that there can be incidents like this during our time,” he said. “But, we look to the other part, the part of the witness these martyrs gave. It has always been like this in the history of the Church.”

Cardinal Parolin said he prayed that “the Lord give us the grace to die in the same way.”

The Cardinal also spoke about media reports on terrorist threats to the Vatican, and clarified there were no “specific threats” regarding the Vatican.

“This does not mean that we should not be careful and vigilant, but without falling into alarmism," he said.

He also said he spoke with his Italian counterparts about the emergency involving migrants trying to reach Italy by crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa.  Hundreds have died in the last week trying to make the journey.

Cardinal Parolin reminded the authorities there is a “duty of charity” on this issue, but first of all there is a “duty of justice.”

“For the Italian authorities there are international conventions to which they are obligated,” the Cardinal said. “We as a Church principally underline the charitable aspects.”

18/02/2015 08:38