Cardinal Parolin speaks with reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the Pontifical Urban University Cardinal Parolin speaks with reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the Pontifical Urban University 

Cardinal Parolin: Avoid escalation in Middle East conflicts

On the sidelines of an Agidae conference at the Pontifical Urban University, Cardinal Pietro Parolin comments on the recent news from the Middle East region, saying everyone is working to ensure the conflict does not escalate.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

Despite great concern about the situation in the Middle East, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin is breathing a sigh of relief to see that, at least so far, after the mutual attacks between Iran and Israel, the conflict has not escalated as many feared.

“I see that everyone is working so that this does not happen,” Cardinal Parolin told reporters he met on the sidelines of a conference promoted by “Agidae” ( the “Association of Managers of Institutes Dependent on Religious Authority”), taking place at the Pontifical Urban University and focusing on the apostolic works of ecclesiastical entities.

“It seems to me that so far things, at worst, have gone quite well, in the sense that there hasn't been what was feared and that both sides are trying not to provoke in such a way as to widen the conflict,” the Cardinal observed in regard to the latest news from the Middle East. 

Concerning the position of the United States, which has reiterated its backing for Israel while not supporting a counter-attack on Iran, Cardinal Parolin said, “I believe that we must avoid everything that could lead to an escalation and especially anything that could cause the situation to get out of hand, which no one could control. This happens if there is no commitment on the part of everyone to moderate their positions.”

Clashes at La Sapienza: violence never justified

On the subject of the war in the Middle East, Cardinal Parolin also answered a question about recent clashes during the demonstrations organised by students at Rome’s La Sapienza University demanding a halt to academic collaboration with Israeli educational institutions. 

“Personally,” the Secretary of State said, “I have some difficulty understanding this reaction. Of course, everyone has the right to express their opinion, but I think it should always be done in a form of dialogue, taking into account everyone’s motivations and positions. Of course, violence cannot be justified under any circumstances. I believe there can be a engagement on this, but a peaceful engagement, a reasonable engagement.”

Abortion: 'In favour of instruments that affirm the right to life'.

The topic of abortion also came up in the dialogue with reporters, in particular, regarding the proposal to include pro-life committees in pregnancy counselling centres – a proposal that is generating controversy in Italy. 

“We are in favour of life and of all those instruments that can affirm the right to life, especially for women in difficulty,” the Cardinal said, adding that he did not want to enter into the technical aspects of the proposal.

Do not penalise families who choose parish schools

Lastly, the Cardinal said families who choose parochial schools for their children should not be penalized. 

On this topic, Cardinal Parolin recalled the words of Benedict XVI, who described education as “an emergency of our time.” 

He said school choice concerns “freedom of education and the freedom of families to choose the type of education they want to give their children.” 

Cardinal Parlin said support for parochial schools is important, and insisted there should be “no penalties for parents who decide to have their children attend these schools.”

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20 April 2024, 13:20