Cardinal Pietro Parolin, back from Mexico, gave an interview to Vatican News to calm the debate around the Note Verbale given by the Holy See to the Italian State regarding the Zan bill against homophobia and transphobia.
The Cardinal Secretary of State explains that this internal document, exchanged between government administrations, was not intended for publication.
The aim of the document was not to claim or suggest a blockage of the law, defends the cardinal, because it respects the principle of secularism, but to express the concern of the Holy See in front of an unclear or vague text, which could lead to serious interpretation problems.
The high prelate insisted on this point: “the concept of discrimination is too vague in its content,” this runs the risk of making any distinction between men and women punishable, which would lead to paradoxical consequences.
Cardinal Parolin further explains that this preventive intervention is much preferable to an intervention following the adoption of the law. Still defending himself, he says that there was no will to interfere, but a desire for clarification for the future.
He also recalls that “pacta sunt servanda - treaties must be respected,” referring to the Concordat between the Holy See and the Italian state, some of whose provisions could suffer as a result of the adoption of the Zan law in its current state.
In this regard, he emphasizes freedom of opinion which “concerns all men, and touches on what the Second Vatican Council defines as the ‘sanctuary’ of conscience.”
Finally, he justifies the entry into play of Vatican diplomacy, when various interventions by the Italian Bishops' Conference suggesting changes in the law had yielded no results.
What is deplorable in all this is the reaffirmation of the principle of the secularism of the state, of total freedom of opinion, and of the primacy of conscience. There is much that could be said about this subject.
But beyond these drifts which were ratified at the Council, the attempt of the Holy See remains important and invaluable in stemming a wave that risks, as Cardinal Parolin suggests, preventing the Church from preaching the truth, particularly in the area of marriage.