Vatican plans diplomatic drive for peace
The Vaticanís new secretary of state plans to use the Churchís vast global diplomatic network to build peace.
Archbishop Pietro Parolin (pictured) said Pope Francis has already injected a new impetus into the Vaticanís Secretariat of State structure and given a new push for Church-led diplomacy.
The archbishop, who is currently the papal nuncio to Venezuela, will start his new role October 15.
In a recent interview with the Venezuelan Catholic newspaper, Diario Catolico, Archbishop Parolin said: ìThe Popeís initiatives have given the secretary of state an impetus and have also created a new diplomatic momentum.î
When asked if he would be spearheading a new diplomatic offensive for peace, he noted that it was a complicated question but said, ìYes, I hope that we can recoupî that drive.
ìWe have this great advantage in respect to other churches, to other religions: We can count on an international institutional presence through diplomacy,î he said.
Archbishop Parolin said the Vatican has to take advantage of its vast network of papal nuncios around the world and all the contacts it has with international organisations.
ìThey are precious instruments that can be used to help the world,î he said.
Popeís Letter Published in Italian Newspaper
Pope Francis has responded to the questions of a non-believer journalist, in a letter published on the front page of Rome-based daily La Repubblica.
The Pope, who has won praise for spontaneous and unusual moves during his six month papacy, was responding to editorials written by the dailyís founder and long-time editor Eugenio Scalfari, who posed a series of theological questions to the Pontiff in the paper over the summer.
To the 89-year-old Scalfariís question of whether someone without faith who commits a sin would be forgiven by the Christian God, Francis replied: ìGod forgives those who follow their conscience.î
The Pope continued: ìThe question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against oneís conscience.
ìTo listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil,î the Pope said.
Mr Scalfari said he had not expected the South American Pope to respond ìso extensively and so affectionately, with such fraternal spiritî.
An Italian priest has given Pope Francis a 20-year-old white Renault 4 to drive himself around the Vatican.
The car – which has 300,000 km on the clock – was presented to the Pope by Fr Renzo Zocca.
Known for his humble lifestyle, Francis said he used to drive the same car in his native Argentina.
After the Pope appealed to priests several months ago not to drive expensive cars but to save money and give it to the poor, Fr Zocca wrote him a letter saying he had used the same car for decades and wanted to gift it to the Pope.
Fr Zocca said he was moved by the Popeís effort to create ìa Church for the poorî, and told the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana that he wanted to give him a symbolic gift.îWhat better than my old Renault 4?î he asked.
Father Zocca said he was surprised to receive a phone call from the Pontiff accepting the gift. The priest turned up at his Vatican residence last weekend to present the car to him.