National Catholic Reporter
John L. Allen Jr. | Aug. 31, 2013 NCR Today
The Italian web site Terre d’America, devoted to news from Latin America, today posted the transcript of an interview with Archbishop Pietro Parolin conducted by a Venezuelan journalist in late June, and published on August 4. In effect, it’s the last public interview given by Parolin, who at the time was still serving as the papal ambassador to Venezuela, before his Aug. 31 appointment by Pope Francis as the Vatican’s new Secretary of State.
The following is an NCR translation of the interview posted Aug. 31 by Terre d’America. It was originally published in the Venzuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias, generally considered close to the governments of Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro.
For American readers, Parolin’s definition of church reform to include the fight against “pedophilia,” or child sexual abuse, may be significant, as well as his comments on social justice, “savage capitalism” and interreligious dialogue.
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What’s happening in the church since March 13, when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the new pope?
Parolin: I don’t believe anything new is happening in the church, in the sense that the new is also ordinary.
[The church] is always well-disposed to renewal?
Exactly so, always, because the principal protagonist in the church is the Holy Spirit
How do you interpret the ‘Francis phenomenon’?
What’s struck me, and I consider it a miracle of the election of Pope Francis, is the sudden change of climate that was felt immediately. Before, there was pessimism – unjustly, I would add, because Pope Benedict XVI did everything possible to reform the church, if we look, for instance, at his enormous commitment with regard to pedophilia.
Could it be said that the tension of facing pedophilia and corruption exhausted him?
Yes, I suppose so. We were focused on these problems, and it seemed that maybe the church didn’t have the capacity for renewal. All of a sudden, after the election and the first pronouncements of the pope, the situation changed completely and a new climate of hope took hold, of renewal, of a future that beforehand seemed irreparably blocked. I truly consider this a great miracle. The courage and the humility of Benedict XVI to take a step back moves in the same direction as the courage and humility of Francis to accept the papacy, and the new air that he’s brought.
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