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“We must be strongly opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism,” the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, told the press on January 24, 2024. He was speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Pantheon in central Rome, organized in honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Ercole Consalvi (1757-1824).
Under Pius VII, Cardinal Consalvi was a key figure in the negotiations for the Concordat signed with Napoleon, as well as an architect of the Congress of Vienna, which reorganized Europe after the fall of the Empire. Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for relations with states—the equivalent of the secretary of state in the United States—paid tribute to the cardinal in front of his relics, which are kept in a side chapel at the Pantheon. They then celebrated Mass in the church of San Marcello al Corso.
No justification for anti-Semitism
Asked by journalists about the resurgence of anti-Semitic acts, Cardinal Pietro Parolin reiterated that “we must be strongly opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism.” He lamented the return of anti-Semitism “also linked to the events in Gaza.”
“There is no reason that can justify a phenomenon of this kind,” he insisted. For the head of Vatican diplomacy, “the Palestinians’ reasons must be recognized.” And he lamented that the idea of a two-state solution “is not accepted.” However, “this does not justify an anti-Semitic movement,” he said.
Asked about Donald Trump’s return to the US political scene, the cardinal refused to comment on this “internal American game.” He did, however, express the hope that “these elections will be an instrument to ensure the well-being of all.”
“May the leaders of nations take to heart the good of society, the good of their country, and above all the poorest fringes” of society, he added.
Commenting on the draft legislation on “autonomia differenziata“—differentiated autonomy—which the Italian Senate passed on January 23, in favor of financial autonomy for the country’s regions, the cardinal wondered whether this initiative was in favor of a “more united” Italy.
Recalling the “great gulf between one part of Italy and the other”—between the more industrialized north and the poorer south—he expressed doubts as to whether “it’s worth going down this road.”
Finally, referring to the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa in Nicaragua, repatriated to Rome after being imprisoned for opposing the ruling regime, he stressed that it was “premature to talk about the next steps.”
“We’re happy that he’s been able to get here and get out of prison, because it’s a very difficult situation,” he said.