(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Wednesday inaugurating the new premises of the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embsassy) to Slovenia, in the capital Ljubljana.
Listen to Cardinal Parolin's Address:
“This is a significant moment in the relations between Slovenia and the Holy See, which allows me to recall that the Holy See was among the very first to recognize the independence of Slovenia, on 13th January 1992,” Cardinal Parolin said.
He said this latest development means the Pope now has “his own house” in Slovenia.
“As we inaugurate this building, it is, of course, important to recall that an Apostolic Nuncio must be competent above all in building the bridges of human relationships, through dialogue and an openness to the humanity at the heart of every problem,” Cardinal Parolin said. “That is ultimately the vocation of each and every Christian and underlines that the solid foundation from which we must start building is always Christ.”
The full text of Cardinal Parolin’s Speech is below
Speech of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis, at the Blessing and Inauguration ceremony of the new premises of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ljubljana
February 3rd, 2016
Dear Mister President of the Republic of Slovenia,
Distinguished Members of the National Government and of the Municipality of Ljubljana,
Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Excellencies, Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Distinguished Representatives of the Religious Denominations
Thank you Mr President (Archbishop Janusz, Apostolic Nuncio) for your kind words. I was delighted to accept the invitation to preside at this ceremony to bless and inaugurate the new buildings of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ljubljana. This has happily afforded me the opportunity to visit the wonderful country of Slovenia during this year of celebrations for twenty-five years of Independence. Whilst recognising the increased role which the country now plays within the international community, it is impossible to think of Slovenia without calling to mind its Christian tradition, its love of learning, and its cultural and architectural heritage.
This is a significant moment in the relations between Slovenia and the Holy See, which allows me to recall that the Holy See was among the very first to recognize the independence of Slovenia, on 13th January 1992. Very soon thereafter, on 8th February 1992, diplomatic relations were established. In the following years Slovenia twice welcomed Pope John Paul II, in May 1996 and in September 1999, and these visits remain vivid in the memory of your people.
The friendly and constructive relationship blossomed between Slovenia and the Holy See, and a major step came on 14th December 2001, with an agreement addressing juridical questions, which was subsequently ratified on 28th May 2004. Now it is our hope that our constructive cooperation might lead to further steps being made together.
So it is with great joy that we are now able to bless and officially inaugurate this Apostolic Nunciature, the diplomatic mission of the Holy See to Slovenia.
The term “Holy See” is frequently used in the language of international law and international relations. The word “see” derives from the Latin word sedes and refers to the seat or chair of Saint Peter. All subsequent Popes, who are successors of Peter, occupy this seat or chair. The Holy See also refers to the residence of the Pope along with the Roman Curia and the central administration of the Catholic Church. This term, however, is not synonymous with Rome, the Vatican, or the Vatican City State. Its significance, in essence transcends the restriction of geographic location. The Holy See is a unique entity amongst other subjects of international law. Aside its uniqueness, the Holy See enjoys an international personality similar to that of individual States. Its existence as a sovereign entity transcends territorial possession. It is a truly international person because its presence, unlike that of States, is universal.
One might ask why the Successor of Peter has need for diplomatic relations with States and with International Organizations. It is worth pointing out that the Holy See has exercised the right of legation almost from the beginning of its history. When, at the end of the fifteenth century the Nation-States were coming into being, the Roman Pontiff sent his representatives to them. Indeed, Papal diplomacy is one of the oldest in the world, and history bears witness to the Holy See’s long and vibrant presence in the international sphere.
The Holy See’s mission is multifaceted: offering a moral voice in the world of international relations; reminding the world of the existence of transcendent values; and defending the pillars on which every civil society stands, such as the family – under severe pressure from a complicated interplay of forces in today’s world. On these issues, the Holy See speaks out not just for some, but for all of humanity.
In order to speak, it is first necessary to listen. “Be quick to hear” the Book of Sirach reminds us (5:11), and, in the words of Pope Francis, we need to consider that “Sometimes it is a matter of hearing the cry of entire peoples, the poorest peoples of the earth, since ‘peace is founded not only on respect for human rights, but also on respect for the rights of peoples’. […] To speak properly of our own rights, we need to broaden our perspective and to hear the plea of other peoples and other regions than those of our own country. We need to grow in a solidarity which ‘would allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny’, since ‘every person is called to self-fulfilment” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 190).
One of the primary responsibilities of the Holy See is to foster communion within the Church: between the Successor of Peter, the Pope, and the Successors of the Apostles, the Bishops, in every part of the world. In addition, the Holy See, in union with local Bishops, seeks to promote relations between the Church and the State, not forgetting relations with other religious groups that are present in a particular country.
In order properly to exercise this mission, to be truly attentive to the particular Churches and to all human necessity, the Holy See needs to be present in an adequate manner in different parts of the world.
In Slovenia the Catholic Church carries out numerous activities that benefit the whole of society: in the field of charity and education, in preserving cultural heritage and in providing spiritual assistance.
The Agreement between Slovenia and the Holy See, which I mentioned earlier, recalls the principles of religious freedom guaranteed by the Slovenian Constitution and by those universally-recognised fundamental Human Rights concerning freedom of thought, conscience and religion. At the same time the Catholic Church, with its juridical personality recognised by the State, is free to operate with respect for Slovenian Laws. The mutual collaboration between these two independent and autonomous entities is beneficial for the promotion of the human person and of the common good.
The construction of an Apostolic Nunciature, such as this, is a sign of the will of the Holy See to consolidate a stable and permanent presence in a State, in a spirit of understanding and effective collaboration with the Government and with the local Church.
Bringing such a building to completion is not always easy and sometimes requires a considerable amount of time. I know that the President of the Republic, the Mayor of Ljubljana and many important figures present here today, have accompanied this process with particular care and attention and a willingness to help. To them – to you – I would like to express the gratitude of the Holy See. At the same time, we are very grateful to the Archdiocese of Ljubljana, which for more than twenty years has offered such a convenient location for the offices and the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio.
The Pope and the Holy See now has its own house in Slovenia! This is a place that speaks of solidarity and affection; a place of meeting and exchange, where relationships are cultivated; a place which is made human by the authenticity of those relationships. And, allow me to add that, in these times marked by the mobility of increasing numbers of people, an attitude of openness and mutual acceptance needs to be fostered by all.
I would also like to publicly recognise the effort of the Apostolic Nuncios who sought out this location and helped to bring the project for this building to fruition. Allow me to recall how much was done by Archbishop Edmond Farhat and by Archbishop Santos Abril y Castellò, now Cardinal and Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Your current Nuncio, Archbishop Juliusz Janusz (who is also Dean of the Diplomatic Corps), has accumulated extensive experience in building new Nunciatures. Indeed, after Mozambique and Hungary, this is the third building that stands as testimony to his ability.
And this building, the Nuncio tells me, has a very Slovenian touch. In the part that was renovated, the architectural style of an existing historical house was preserved, whilst in the new building there is a chapel designed and executed by a famous Slovenian artist, Father Ivan Marko Rupnik. I want to thank all those, who with their skill and hard work have contributed to this magnificent building.
As we inaugurate this building, it is, of course, important to recall that an Apostolic Nuncio must be competent above all in building the bridges of human relationships, through dialogue and an openness to the humanity at the heart of every problem. That is ultimately the vocation of each and every Christian and underlines that the solid foundation from which we must start building is always Christ.
I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace for the people and leaders of the noble Slovenian nation.