Vatican Roundup

Vatican confirms ongoing negotiations with China

Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has confirmed that the Holy See is involved in diplomatic talks with authorities in China. 

In the wake of concerns expressed in recent weeks by Church and lay figures in the East as to the status of Catholics in the so-called underground Church should Rome achieve an agreement with Beijing on diplomatic relations, Cardinal Parolin stressed that the talks are ongoing and will take “time, patience and long-sightedness” but ultimately will not result in a conclusion that will hurt loyal Catholics for other gains. He was at pains to stress that the Holy See will not seek to work solely through the ‘official’, government-recognised Church, at the expense of those in the loyal-to-Rome underground Church.

Delivering his assurances during the course of an interview with Italy’s daily Avvenire, Cardinal Parolin said that for the Holy See “it is particularly important that Chinese Catholics be able to live their faith in a positive way, whilst also being good citizens and contributing to the reinforcement of harmony throughout Chinese society”.


UN urged to tackle scourge of conventional weapons

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations has urged the international body to broaden the scope of its work in halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Addressing a Security Council Open Debate in New York, Archbishop Bernardito Auza pointed out that while the UN focused on the alarming capabilities of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the use of conventional weapons clearly demonstrated their increasingly destructive power.

“Conventional weapons are becoming less and less ‘conventional’ as technological advances elevate their power to destroy to the level of weapons of mass destruction,” he said. 

“The Holy See recommends that discussions on weapons of mass destruction go beyond the traditional categories…to include devastatingly powerful conventional weapons used to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity.” 


Health restricted Benedict

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has offered more details on his reasons for vacating the Throne of St Peter in 2013.

In an interview with journalist Elio Guerrero, author of the forthcoming Servant of God and Humanity: The biography of Benedict XVI, the retired Pontiff reveals that after a gruelling 2012 trip to Mexico and Cuba he came to realise that he would be incapable of any such future international travels.

 His own doctor concurred with this assessment, but this came at a time when the then-Pope was facing a July 2013 visit to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. Thus, he felt it necessary to announce his resignation as soon as possible after his return from Mexico and Cuba.

The Pope Emeritus’ latest interview adds to his words in Servant of God and Humanity, in which he is quoted as stating: “From the beginning I was conscious of my limits and I accepted [the papacy], as I’ve always tried to do in my life, in a spirit of obedience. Then there were the difficulties, more or less big, in the pontificate, but there were also so many graces. I realised that I couldn’t do all that I had to alone, so I was forced to put myself in God’s hands.”

The biography of Pope Benedict XVI is due for release in Italian on August 30, with no date yet announced for publication in English.