By Devin Watkins
In an interview with Alessandro Gisotti of Vatican News, Cardinal Pietro Parolin offered a window onto the year 2018 for Pope Francis.
The Vatican’s Secretary of State described 2018 as being characterized “by the Church’s special attention on young people, that is, on their hopes, goals, and the challenges facing them.”
The World Meeting of Families takes place in Dublin, Ireland on 21-26 August, just ahead of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, whose focus will be “on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment”.
Cardinal Parolin said an important, innovative aspect is “the Church’s new relationship with young people, expressed in a paradigm of responsibility, which excludes any type of paternalism.”
“The Church and the Pope are asking young people… what contribution they can make to the Gospel and its proclamation, today!” he said.
Amoris laetitia and young people
Turning to the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Parolin said the document “resulted from a new paradigm which Pope Francis is carrying forward with wisdom, prudence, and patience.” Difficulties surrounding it, he said, “besides some aspects of content, are due to this change of attitude the Pope is asking of us.”
“I believe Amoris laetitia – besides being the Church’s embrace of the family and its problems in today’s world, truly helping to incarnate the Gospel within the family, which is already a Gospel: the Gospel of the family – is at the same time a invitation for families to help by collaborating and contributing to the Church’s growth.”
Cardinal Parolin then spoke about the process of Curial reform, which he said “has taken several important steps forward.”
He said Pope Francis is more focused “on the deeper spirit which must animate every reform of the Curia, which is the fundamental dimension of Christian life, that is, conversion.”
This attitude, he said, takes precedence over “structural reforms, with the promulgation of new laws, norms, nominations, etc.”
Reform should make the Roman Curia “a real aid to the Pope for the proclamation of the Gospel”.
“I would insist on this aspect,” Cardinal Parolin said.
Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru
Finally, Cardinal Parolin spoke about Pope Francis’ upcoming Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru.
“The Pope is going as the universal Pastor of the Church to meet the local churches… who find themselves facing numerous challenges posed by the realities of today’s world.”
The first, he said, “is the challenge of indigenous populations”, referring to the 2019 Synod on the Amazonia convoked by Pope Francis.
He said the question revolves around “the role and contribution of these populations within single nations and their society”.
The second challenge, Cardinal Parolin said, is that of corruption.
“A topic the Pope feels strongly about and to which he has returned in very pointed language is corruption, which hinders development and the reduction of poverty and misery,” he said.
In conclusion, Cardinal Parolin said, “It won’t be an easy visit, but it will definitely be an exciting one.”