Top Vatican official discusses terrorist threat, immigration debate

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican obviously is concerned about terrorist threats, “especially for the senseless hatred” it
represents, and will continue to remain vigilant, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin,
Vatican secretary of state.

Speaking to reporters Aug. 26, Cardinal Parolin said he had
seen the most recent video attributed to Islamic State in which the pope and
Vatican are threatened, and “one cannot help but be concerned.”
However, he said, he did not believe the video prompted extra security measures
beyond those that have been in place for some time.

For the Year of Mercy 2015-2016, the main boulevard leading
to St. Peter’s Square was closed to traffic; it never reopened. But while
pilgrims approaching St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ weekly general
audience on Wednesdays and his Angelus address on Sundays had already been
subjected to security checks, Italian police seemed to take more time doing the
checks after the terrorist attack in Barcelona Aug. 17.

Cardinal Parolin spoke to journalists in Rimini, Italy, where he
was addressing a large summer meeting sponsored by the lay movement, Communion
and Liberation.

L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published a
long section of the cardinal’s speech, looking specifically at the phenomenon
of anti-migrant sentiment.

Cardinal Parolin expressed surprise at how much of the current
debate in many countries “is focused on defending ourselves from migrants.”

The public discussions and arguments show a “sharp
division between those who recognize God in the poor and needy and those who do
not recognize him,” the cardinal said.

Government leaders certainly have an obligation to find
alternatives to “massive and uncontrolled migration, (and) to establish
programs that avoid disorder and the infiltration of the violent,” he
said. In addition, they should be looking for ways to promote development in
migrant-sending countries so that people can survive and thrive in their
homelands. “But this will take decades to bear fruit.”

The anti-immigrant sentiment, he said, “often is
generated by fear” and accompanies a general sense of disorientation and
confusion about the changes caused by globalization, especially in economic

People have to realize that “it’s been a long time
since any modern nation-state fully and exclusively controlled its national
economy,” he said. In the absence of complete control over one’s national
economy, “it is not surprising that there is a general tendency,
especially in authoritarian countries, but also by many ‘populist’ leaders and
movements — of the right and left — to declare one’s national sovereignty in
terms of cultural supremacy, racial identity and ethnic nationalism and to find
in these a reason to repress internal dissent.”

The economy is now global, he said, and there is no single
nation that can fix the problems of the economy alone. “Various aspects of
globalization need to be governed,” which must be done through
international diplomacy and a joint commitment to promoting the common good.

“On this point, where more profound values like justice
and peace are at stake, realities like the United States and the European Union
have a decisive role and responsibility,” he said. “But too often
their absence is felt.”

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