(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said “we cannot be paralyzed by fear” over the possibility of terrorist acts.
The Cardinal was answering a question about security concerns surrounding the Jubilee of Mercy, which began in December.
“I think we must be realistic in these difficult times, and recognize, with sincerity and humility, our fear about what has happened, and can unfortunately happen again,” Cardinal Parolin said in a wide-ranging interview with the Spanish magazine Vida Nueva.
The Cardinal went on to say he was sure the Italian authorities are taking every appropriate security measure to prevent any attack, but he said succumbing to fear “is just what the terrorists want.”
He also said the so-called ‘Islamic State’ threatens “the peace and stability of the world”, and therefore must be fought within the framework of international law, and, in particular, through the framework of the United Nations Security Council.
Cardinal Parolin also reaffirmed that Muslim leaders are called to “unequivocally condemn” any terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam, and noted most of the victims of Islamic extremism are themselves Muslim.
“We must also recognize that there have been leaders in the Islamic world who have denounced and condemned terrorism and, during the attacks in Paris which happened in January and November last year, there were Muslims who acted courageously to save lives,” he said.
“The Catholic Church, for its part, must continue to engage in interfaith dialogue, because today more than ever we need to meet and talk,” Cardinal Parolin said.
“At the same time, we must do more to understand the phenomenon of extremism, examining how and why young people become attracted to these ideologies,” he continued.
“Obviously, there are economic, social and political causes, but there are also spiritual causes,” Cardinal Parolin explained. “In this sense, the Church should redouble its efforts to fill the void created by spiritual nihilism, especially in our Western world, thus avoiding things which are filled with hatred and violence.”
Cardinal Parolin also addressed the current migration crisis, caused in part by the violence in the Middle East.
“It is urgent for the European Union to find solutions quickly,” he said. “Europe has the legal, technical, and – above all – the cultural means to address the migration issue in a manner which respects the dignity and rights of both its citizens and immigrants.”
When asked about the ongoing reform of the Roman Curia, Cardinal Parolin said he still sees a “coordinating role” for the Secretariat of State within the Curia, but any “excesses” can be avoided “with a greater emphasis on the practice of collegiality and synodality,” adding the creation of the Council of Cardinals and the enhancement of the Synod of Bishops are “crucial steps” in this direction.
The Cardinal also said the economic affairs of the Holy See are “less problematic” than is sometimes seen in public.
Speaking about working with Pope Francis, Cardinal Parolin said he is “easily accessible,” and both of them will call each other to discuss any issues which may arise.
“When confronting issues, the Pope is very interested to hear the views and opinions of the person with whom he is speaking, and when it is me, I feel free to speak and express my point of view,” he said.
“In addition, two things strike me during my encounters with the Holy Father,” Cardinal Parolin said.
“The first is the way he put himself in a constant state of discernment when facing any decision; a state where prayer has an important role to play, taking the decision before the Lord and making it according to his will” – he said – “The second is his serenity when facing any situation - even the complicated and difficult ones – which comes from a deep inner peace.”
Cardinal Parolin also said the Jubilee of Mercy is an “extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal,” which returns people to the centre of Christian life, which is mercy.