Cardinal Parolin Addresses the European Right

October 04, 2021
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Cardinal Pietro Parolin

While the European right is increasingly skeptical on the migration issue, the head of Vatican diplomacy participated in a meeting bringing together the deputies of the European People's Party (EPP) and took the opportunity to repeat the Pope Francis's views on the matter.

After a tour of Central Europe, then a quick visit to Madrid on the occasion of the Second International Meeting of Catholic Leaders at the beginning of September 2021, Cardinal Pietro Parolin came to address the members of the European People's Party (EPP ) gathered in Rome on September 23.

The EPP brings together a range of parties, covering the entire spectrum of “right-wing” political formations: from liberal centrists, to national-conservatives, often Christians.

“On the part of the EPP, there is special attention to Christianity, and several of its members openly claim Christian principles,” explains the high prelate by way of introduction.

“In Christianity,” continues the head of Vatican diplomacy, “we do not choose what pleases us the most, or what suits the most. We have to accept everything. You can't go to the supermarket and just take one aspect or another,” he insisted.

And Cardinal Parolin got to the heart of the matter: “what is proper to Christianity is both the defense of life, in all its phases, from natural conception to natural death, as well as love of neighbor,” which “manifests itself in our case also as attention to the phenomenon of migration, through the four verbs that the Pope has always indicated: welcome, protect, promote, integrate.”

And the right arm of Pope Francis warns against “an instrumentalization of Christianity… for political reasons.”

It is probable that the shadow of Viktor Orban hovered over Cardinal Parolin’s conference: the one who is accused of being the “champion of illiberalism,” had in fact asked Pope Francis, during their meeting in Budapest on September 12, not “to allow Christian Hungary to perish.”  

On September 24, the Hungarian Prime Minister, in Budapest, received political figures from all walks of the conservative national right, such as Mike Pence, former vice-president to Donald Trump, or Marion Maréchal, former MEP, to discuss the demography of the old continent.

Viktor Orban’s speech contrasted with the speech of the Cardinal Secretary of State: “Some in the West believe that immigration will stop population decline, but they ignore culture shock. A country is only viable if its citizens share the same values. Otherwise, Europe will collapse.”

This had been started with a long session of religious blessing of families. Some may want to see in it this the “instrumentalization” denounced by the cardinal, but others may also believe in the sincerity of the Christian values ​​manifested on this occasion.

Finally, we must not forget that the management of a country's migratory flow is eminently political. Of course, a Christian policy must be inspired by charity. But this can be exercised just as much by welcoming foreigners as by denying them access to the territory in order to preserve the good of the country.