Cardinal Prolin: "Pope Francis will take into consideration a trip to Belarus"

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Cardinal Prolin: "Pope Francis will take into consideration a trip to Belarus"

By Deborah Castellano Lubov/ zenit.org

When the risks of COVID-19 have passed, Pope Francis would take into consideration a trip to Belarus.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, told this to ZENIT when asked about the recent renewed invitation by the country for the Holy Father to visit.

The Italian prelate was speaking at the private event, titled “Forty-five years after the Helsinki Accords; Cardinal Silvestrini and the Vatican Östpolitik,” today, Sept. 14, 2020 at 9:30am.

Organized by Italian Ambassador to the Holy See, Ambassador Pietro Sebastiani, the event took place outdoors, in the cloister of Palazzo Borromeo, in full compliance with anti-Covid 19 rules and provisions.

The Holy Father was originally invited to Belarus in 2016. This was renewed last week as Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher visited the country as it sees unprecedented turmoil and protests.

He responded to ZENIT when asked how the Vatican sees the renewed invitation of Pope Francis to the country.
“Yes, Belarus always demonstrated great interest in a visit of the Pope.”

“For now, nothing has been made concrete. Then COVID intervened, which blocked everything. I do not know for how long, we do not know, but I think it is one of the visits that the Pope will take into consideration.”

During the interview between Cardinal Parolin, ZENIT English and some Italian journalists present, the Vatican Secretary of State responded to questions regarding the Holy See’s deal with China.

“The agreement has not yet expired,” he noted, saying this is due to happen in October, two years from when it entered into force. “It has not yet concluded,” he pointed out.

When next asked about prospects for renewing the provisional agreement with the Asian superpower, and whether this seems likely, he said: “Yes, I really think so, our intention is that it be prolonged, that we continue to adopt it ad experimentum, as has been done in these two years, in order to further verify its usefulness for the Church in China.”

On whether China is equally interested in renewing the agreement, Cardinal Parolin said: “I think and hope so, even if these first results were not particularly striking, however, it seems that a direction has been marked that is worth continuing, then we will see at the end of this further period what to do. However, the discussion that was made here of collaboration remains open, it must be applied in every historical era, even towards this great country, to collaborate together.”

The Secretary of State was asked whether he spoke about China with Prime Minister Conte.

“No, no,” he responded, noting: “As we have said many times and here too, our interest is to normalize life as much as possible, so that the Church can live a normal life which for the Catholic Church is also to have relations with the Holy See and with the Pope and then that there is unity within the Chinese Church.”

“And all this of course, [we want to see] with a background of peaceful coexistence, searching for peace and overcoming tensions; but our perspective is on this ecclesiastical theme, then we will see,” he said.

Later on some journalists asked about Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (‘Propaganda Fide’), who, while being asymptomatic, last Friday, September 11, tested positive for COVID-19, and is being quarantined in the Philippines.

“Poor Cardinal Tagle,” Cardinal Parolin commented. “He was fine, you can see that on the way [to Manila], he met the virus,” he said, smiling warmly. “I’m sorry for him.”

Lamenting how the Asian Cardinal had traveled there for his mother’s birthday, he said: “Let’s hope it’s nothing.”
Another question posed asked if there is concern for Pope Francis contracting COVID-19.

“The Pope is continuously monitored,” he said, recognizing that there is a risk that the virus could attack him like it has, so many others. “But I don’t think so,” he said.

Speaking about his two-day visit to Beirut, Lebanon, he expressed the need “not only for economic aid” but “above all, the whole aspect of the reconstruction of Lebanon, especially after that terrible explosion that really caused incredible damage.”

“As I watched, I was shocked by this disaster,” he said. He noted the destruction not only to the structures of the port, but also to private homes, and various Catholic Church structures, such as hospitals, charitable institutions and schools.

While calling for “international cooperation,” he appealed for “help,” help “to bring out new forces that can deal with the common good of this country and overcome the logic of the past, which is the logic of dividing the search for particular interests.”

These aforementioned ‘new forces,’ he explained, to some extent “have also manifested themselves in the various protests that have taken place” and “need space to express themselves institutionally.” Cardinal Parolin encouraged continuing to work this way and toward this objective.

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 12:14
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