Catholic World News

Papal diplomats face unprecedented challenge, says Vatican's 'foreign minister'

February 26, 2016

Vatican diplomats will have to "make an unprecedented effort" to achieve peace under conditions that Pope Francis has characterized as a "piecemeal" World War III, Archbishop Paul Gallagher said in an interview with the Catholic News Service.

The British-born archbishop, who is the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, spoke about the role of the apostolic nuncios, and the Vatican's involvement in world crises. Speaking particularly of the fighting in Syria and Iraq, he said that he is hopeful a fragile truce in Syria can hold, "that there will be in these coming days a cessation of hostilitis and the creation of humanitarian corridors" to allow relief for civilians.

The ceasefire in Syria does not affect the battle against the Islamic State. "We are not in dialogue with Daesh," the archbishop said, using another term for the Islamic State. He stressed, however, that Vatican diplomats are anxious to foster inter-religious dialogue with other responsible parties, to help them avoid "the death and destruction of their homeland." 

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