Cardinal Parolin: Holy See “Concerned” About Populism

The Vatican’s top diplomat also calls on politicians to be close to the concrete needs of real people.

(photo: YouTube)

Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said the Holy See is “concerned” about the emergence of populism around the world while also calling on politicians to “grasp the concrete needs of the people.”

Speaking yesterday evening after meeting Italy’s leaders, the Vatican Secretary of State said closing in on oneself is “never a good policy.”

“The inability to welcome and integrate can be dangerous,” the cardinal said. “History teaches us this, and we hope that in this sense it will not be repeated.”

Britain’s decision in a referendum last year to leave the European Union, as well as the rise of Eurosceptic parties in other countries, have led to unease on the continent, reflecting a general disaffection with European institutions.

According to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Parolin said that in the face of these developments, the European project must be “relaunched,” ahead of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which created the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the European Union.

“It is obvious there are many tensions, many difficulties, but they are also able to become, as they say, a ‘kairos’ — an opportune moment — to reset the political relationship on a new basis,” the cardinal said.

According to L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s top diplomat who is also the Pope’s number two told the Italian television channel TG1 on Tuesday that “sometimes politics is too distant, almost living — to use the words of the Pope — in a self-referential world.”

Certainly such isolationism is “not a good sign,” he said, adding that such an approach is “born from fear [and] fear is never a good counselor.”

But he also added that politics “had to grasp the needs of the people, of real people, and must be able to give answers that are real answers, so that people come back to live and to hope.”

Addressing the employment crisis in Italy, Cardinal Parolin said he truly believed work to be “one of the emergencies of our time, in the face of which the Church would like to recall the very principles of social solidarity that must be the basis of all civil coexistence."

Cardinal Parolin was speaking to the media after meeting Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and other officials for an annual summit at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, commemorating the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy in 1929.

His warning against populism follow those of Pope Francis, who said in an interview publish just days after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration last month that populism could lead to the election of "saviors" like Adolf Hitler.

“Of course, crises provoke fears and worries,” he said, but added that for him "the example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933”.

The Holy Father underlined that it was too early to pass judgment on President Trump.

"Let's see. Let's see what he does and then we will evaluate," he said.