Catholic World News

At UN, Cardinal Parolin outlines Vatican 'foreign policy'

September 22, 2016

In a September 22 address to the UN General Assembly, the Vatican's Secretary of State offered an overview of the Holy See's concerns about world affairs.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin opened his remarks by welcoming the approval by international leaders of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris accord on climate change. He went on to say, however, that these goals cannot realistically be reached without significant changes in the world's economic systems. Specifically, he spoke of the "ecological debt" that wealthy nations should pay to the needy, and the need for "alternative financial systems capable of ensuring that financial resources are both accessible to and sustainable for the poorest."

Development is not possible, Cardinal Parolin continued, unless there is peace. "The enormous and ill-fated effect of war is a downward spiral from which there is often no escape," he said. The Italian cardinal then surveyed the war-torn zones of the world, paying particular attention to the continuing bloodshed in Syria, which has "been overrun by all kinds of armed groups." Speaking more generally about the conflicts and tensions in the region, he said:

The Holy See also believes that in the Middle East a renewed commitment in favor of the rule of law and of freedom of religion and of conscience is the most effective way to safeguard the dignity of all.

Cardinal Parolin next spoke about the crisis of migration, noting that "65 million people have been compelled to flee from their homes and communities, because of persecution, conflicts, widespread violence and hunger, and devasted lands." He encouraged effective action to help migrants, while addressing the root causes of the problem. The cadinal offered a special word of praise to Lebanon and Jordan for accepting an enormous number of refugees from neighboring Syria.

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