Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States 

Archbishop Gallagher: Diplomacy of values to foster the meeting of peoples

In his speech at the meeting "The diplomacy of values and development", organized in Rome by the International Association "Carità Politica", the Secretary for Relations with States stresses that in the face of common challenges that require shared solutions, "the diplomacy of values aims to promote the good of the human family beyond any particular interest".

By Marco Bellizi

In relations between States, in order to face today's global challenges, "it is necessary to go beyond normality or the simple repetition of clichés and preordained formulas,” whose efficacy is seriously put into doubt by international diplomatic practice. For this reason, "it is necessary to remain at sea, navigating the horizon of the broadest charity."

In his speech on Thursday afternoon at the meeting "The diplomacy of values and development", organized by the Association "Carità Politica" at Palazzo San Calisto in Rome, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, offered that summary of the sense and perspective of international relations in the current context, an unprecedented context for its complexity, and therefore requiring new or renewed tools and models.

Values of respect and dialogue

The event was promoted by the Association, which is recognized by the Holy See and is of Pontifical Right. It is also recognized by the Italian government as a non-profit body. The meeting was chaired by the Association's founder, Alfredo Luciani, and attended by 35 ambassadors and diplomatic representatives.

Amongst them was the ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See, Alfredo Vásquez Rivera, who gave the other key-note speech on the programme.

The Association's community, formed by Carità Politica, is founded on the sharing of the values of mutual respect, religious dialogue, fair and sustainable development.

Members of the community include diplomats accredited to the Italian State and to the Holy See. Their work and viewpoint have provided the backbone of a publication entitled "The diplomacy of values and development" produced by the Association and distributed to participants of the event.

Common good and humanism

"The diplomacy of values can truly inspire the action of governments," said Archbishop Gallagher during his speech. "In fact, in the face of common challenges that demand the international community find shared solutions, the diplomacy of values aimed at promoting the good of the human family beyond any particular interest is particularly suitable for promoting the multilateral style that has characterized international relations since the end of World War II and that has become essential today."

Papal diplomacy, Gallagher recalled, seeks to "relocate concrete situations within the realistic perspective of the common good and humanism."

The goal of consequent action must therefore necessarily aim at the values that concretely favour integral human development. And to do so, the Archbishop continued citing Populorum Progressio, it must "foster the development of each man and of the whole man”.

Today however, with regards to the rights proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as universally valid, in every age, place and culture, "one notices a distance has been taken", the Archbishop said, "almost as if the profound sense of human rights were contextualizable." In fact, "the modern and post-modern temptation" is to consider human rights "denying their connection to the humanity on which they are founded, placing them in a subjectivistic perspective," so that they end up becoming a simple expression of special interest groups.

"This phenomenon," the Archbishop explained, citing the late Archbishop Aldo Giordano, former nuncio to the European Union, "is well perceivable in light of the increasingly insistent claims of radical groups that emerge from ideologies linked to the so-called Cancel culture" and that "often present themselves as spokespersons for the victims of some specific forms of discrimination", "locking themselves up in an all-out defence of their own identity, and ultimately intolerant of any other thought."

Social and relational dimension

These are tendencies that underlie the "ideological colonization" of which Pope Francis speaks, explaining that a "society in which the value of being part of one human family is undoubtedly more important than any lesser group, be it family, nation, ethnicity or culture," highlighting this concept in Fratelli tutti.  

It is, Archbishop Gallagher further explained, the sense of the "primarily social and relational dimension of the human person." And the family "is the first place where the human person learns to discover and live his or her social dimension."

The insistence on the "social dimension of development, which usually refers to solidarity, resonates in a particular way when the Pope even proposes the concept of fraternity as a universal social model," the Archbishop continued, calling "international politics to an integral approach that includes an interdisciplinary dialogue, with the premise that we are all citizens of the world with equal rights and duties."

But, the Pope says, "while solidarity is the principle of social planning that allows those who are disadvantaged to become equals, fraternity is what allows equals to be diverse." Thus, the contribution of the diplomacy of values is also to "foster a broader and more effective action for the meeting of peoples, for cooperation according to their free and authentic national sensibilities," since, as Pope Francis says, "justice requires recognizing and respecting not only the rights of individuals, but also social rights and the rights of peoples."

Diplomacy of values

"The diplomacy of values," the Ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See noted, "allows us to look with different eyes at the international community. It questions the great world problems, among others, the pandemic, migration, refugees, poverty, global warming, disarmament, corruption. It calls for the responsibility of all international actors to implement and contribute to the common good of all humanity. The diplomacy of values seeks to raise awareness of how all of humanity's problems belong to us and affect us in every way, that we are all one family and that our 'Common Home' in which we live, belongs to everyone and that everything, absolutely everything that happens there, benefits or harms us."

"Diplomacy conceived in this way can contribute to the search for a harmony, a synthesis of values in the modern world that allows for the integration or reconciliation of cultural and religious differences, for the good of all humanity."

21 January 2022, 12:30