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Archbishop Paul Gallagher in Sydney in November 2023 (The Catholic Weekly/Alphonsus Fok)

The Pope’s diplomats are men of faith located all over the world to uphold the Pope’s positions on international matters and to serve the Gospel, Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher says. Source: CNS.

Vatican diplomacy is a vocation with a spiritual mandate, he said last week in the opening speech at an international conference on “Vatican Diplomacy and the Shaping of the West during the Pontificate of Pius XII,” held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

Throughout Western history, “in which spirituality acts as a leaven, the evangelisation activity of the Church’s diplomatic work played an important role,” the former nuncio to Australia said.

Whether it was a temporary envoy, an apostolic legate or a papal nuncio, that is, a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a nation or an international organisation, he said they all were driven by “the constant prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to express the right of both active and passive legation in order to obey the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature’”.

Nonetheless, Archbishop Gallagher said, “papal diplomacy, which like any other diplomacy makes use of secular means in order to achieve a political aim abroad, cannot be limited to the propagation of the faith and its success should not be measured in terms of the propagation of the faith”.

In fact, he said, the Vatican’s diplomatic efforts also “must pay the normal costs of all diplomatic negotiations” but without neglecting theological truths which are necessary to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the Catholic Church in relation to the state.

No matter the nationality or background of a papal diplomat, the archbishop said, he is there to represent the international position of the Pope, that is, the vicar of Christ, “who came to serve and not to be served”.


Faith and peace meet in papal diplomacy, archbishop says (By Carol Glatz, CNS)