Cardinal Parolin: In Europe, More Than the Loss of Faith, There Is ‘a Loss of Reason’

Interview with Spanish Radio ‘COPE’

Cardinal Parolin COP26
Cardinal Parolin- Copyright: Vatican Media

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of Vatican State, gave an April 5 interview to the Spanish COPE radio network, in which he said that “more than a loss of faith” there is a “loss of reason” in Europe.

As the radio network reported, the Cardinal talked with journalist Jose Luis Restan in the program “The Mirror” to address various current ecclesial aspects, including his office as Secretary of the Holy See, Pope Francis, the Roman Curia, the Church in China, the Apostolic Journey to Iraq and the mission in Europe.

About His Vocation

Responding to the first question of a Spanish journalist about his figure as Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin said that he considered his fundamental vocation to be priestly, and that he continues to feel himself “called to be a priest, a minister of the Lord who works in the Church for souls.” “I felt that to be a diplomat in the Holy See was the way of exercising the priesthood itself. Especially because today, after Vatican Council II, the task of Nuncios is a pastoral task, so that it is to strengthen the ties between the Holy See and the local Churches,” he explained, adding that they are “at the service of communion and also the defense and promotion of the Church’s freedom and religious liberty.”

Francis’ Pontificate

In regard to the Pope’s call to assume the post, the Prelate pointed out: “it was a great surprise for me, because I was fine in Venezuela, despite all the political problems.  And, after stating that both were very different, he stressed that it “is about making our differences a richness for the world. That there be no return to conflict but to collaboration, each one from his point of view, his style, his sensitivity, his preparation from his culture, from his spirituality and also the ability to collaborate with another.”

He also said that what impresses him most about the Pontiff is the “great simplicity he manifests. When one approaches him, one realizes that he is a simple man without protocol. The contact is immediate; He takes much care of his relationship and closeness to the people. He seeks to meet the people.”

Ecclesial Renewal

Regarding the view of the Church as a democratic assembly of majorities and minorities, left and right, the Secretary of State said that it “does much harm to the Church because before she talked about communion and unity. Christ prayed for the Unity of the Church. There are reasons for concern.”

There is, he defended, “a level that can’t be changed, the structure of the Church; it is the deposit of the faith, the Sacraments, the apostolic ministry these are the structural elements; however, there is a whole life of the Church that can be renewed.” Sometimes, he continued, “these divisions and clashes stem from confusion of these levels.”

“One is unable to distinguish between the essential, which can’t change, from the non-essential, which needs to be reformed; it must change in keeping with the spirit of the Gospel. Upon reflection, I believe the root of the problem lies there,” he added.

The Church in China

The Cardinal described the “Church in China as a fundamental part of the Catholic Church and all that has been attempted and is intended to do is to assure that community, which is still small but which has great strength and vitality.” “All that is being done is to ensure a normal life” in the Asian country.

“The steps that have been taken, even when they haven’t solved all the problems that still exist, and which probably will need much time, are on the correct route to conciliation in the interior of the Church given this problem of distinctions, it’s too much to say of separations,” he said.

Apostolic Journey to Iraq

Addressing the Holy Father’s visit to Iraq, Cardinal Parolin clarified that “unfortunately, Christians have been persecuted in all the conflicts and by all the forces that want to uproot the Christian faith in that country.” What they have shown us, he continues, “is the witness of faith that arrives at martyrdom. It’s the great lesson that we can draw from the Iraqi Christians.”

In this line, he believes that, “as Christians of Europe, of the West, we are too cold towards our brothers. I would like to see more solidarity, more closeness, more ways of expressing our support and help to go forward. They teach us this ability to be faithful despite all the difficulties but, at the same time, they ask us for greater solidarity.”

Loss of Faith and Reason

“I am very sorry for the loss of faith in our Europe, in our culture, in our countries and these anthropological changes that are happening, losing the human person’s identity more than the loss of faith and I would say that it’s a loss of reason,” commented the Cardinal.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI already said it,” he added. “The fundamental problem is reason, not faith. At present, he stressed, nothing can be imposed but one can only offer a coherent and convincing testimony of Christian life.”

Need for Prayer

After the farewell of COPE’s interviewer, the Italian Prelate said that “today more than ever we need prayers, a campaign of prayer, of all of us uniting in prayer so that the Lord will help us to be faithful to our mission, each one in his place, but to be faithful in the mission to witness the Gospel and also our belonging to the Church in today’s world.”

“Easter also gives us this sentiment of hope and optimism because we know that the last word is the word of the Risen Jesus.

“Thank you very much. May God bless you. May you continue to work as you are doing, and may you achieve increasingly more good results for the glory of God and the good of souls,” he concluded.