Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Sunday, 7 July 2024
"Promoting peace is true instrument of defence,"Archbishop Gallagher says
Concluding his five-day visit to the Philippines, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, speaks to Filipino diplomats about the Holy See’s approach to diplomacy and advocacy for peace and human dignity over military might.

Isabella Piro/ :

Faced with the conflicts that currently tear apart various parts of the world in a "third world war fought piecemeal", faced with the arms race, nuclear threats, and terrorism, we must “understand that defense is not solely about military might but also about fostering institutions and promoting agreements between peoples."


Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, offered this assessment on Friday as he concluded his five-day visit to the Philippines.


Speaking at the headquarters of the Foreign Service Institute in Pasay City, the Archbishop provided a broad reflection on the Holy See's diplomacy in the contemporary international context, reiterating that talking about victory or defeat in our current context "is unrealistic."


Instead, he noted, it is necessary to establish “a new, just order" that transcends divisions and looks toward the recognition of human dignity.


This, added Archbishop Gallagher, is indeed the Holy See’s diplomatic approach, which seeks to "be a sign of hope" characterized by a "positive neutrality".


He said such an approach, rather than pursuing power or dominance, is rooted in principles that " prioritize the welfare of all humanity, uphold human dignity, and advocate for lasting peace," while simultaneously defending "the common good, solidarity among nations, and subsidiarity."


As a "relevant transnational player" and "sovereign and independent moral authority," the Holy See exercises its diplomatic action as soft power, confident "in moral persuasion" and "ethical leadership," with the aim of promoting “justice, peace, and solidarity on an international scale."


Archbishop Gallagher said the Holy See is a "trustworthy" mediator, independent “from political alliances and blocs," and is therefore able to "build bridges where others see only insurmountable divides."


In a central point of his speech, the Secretary for Relations with States focused on the efforts of Pope Francis to defend defending human rights, integral human development, care for our common home, and advocate for peace and nonviolence.


These qualities, said the Archbishop, make the Pope a "primary actor" in Vatican diplomacy, which is itself "rooted in sincere openness" and founded on charity.


In the face of the "crumbling trust among nations" and the increasing number and severity of "conflicts and wars," Archbishop Gallagher highlighted the global involvement of the Holy See.


The Church, he said, " shares in the joys, sorrows, and concerns of people in this era," as stated by the Second Vatican Council, and contributes to steering nations and peoples away from "patterns of war, resentment, and hatred."


Rather, he added, the Church encourages nations to "progress along the path of dialogue," guided by " guided by the rule of law as well as natural law, rather than the law of force."


Archbishop Gallagher also emphasized the "moral responsibility" of pontifical diplomacy.


He said this commitment is evident in various areas, including the defense of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; the safeguarding of Creation; the fight against the "throwaway culture" and the "globalization of indifference," accompanied by the promotion of the "culture of encounter" and the "globalization of fraternity."


All this, reiterated Archbishop Gallagher, fits within the horizon of "Christian realism," where "the art of managing international relations is firmly grounded in the real world, addressing practical challenges and seeking tangible solutions."


This entails prioritizing “the welfare, security, and stability of nations” over power or personal interests.


In this regard, the Archbishop cited specific areas of exercise of Vatican diplomacy: access to the fundamental right to health; support for just economic policies; the fight against the "toxic scourge" of human trafficking; the promotion of multilateralism and the defense of religious freedom.


On this latter point, Archbishop Gallagher recalled that "the Holy See upholds that religious freedom is not only a human right but also a vital path toward healing divisions and promoting global peace."


He said the Holy See plays "a pivotal role in advocating for peace, reconciliation, and non-violent conflict resolution."


Finally, Archbishop Gallagher recalled his time as Counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila from 1991 to 1995, as well as the visits of four Popes to the Philippines (St. Paul VI in 1970, St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1995, Pope Francis in 2015).


He concluded by encouraging the Southeast Asian nation to continue its "crucial role" as a promoter of "regional cooperation" in Asia and as a builder of "a more humane and inclusive society."