Vatican cardinal urges unity with universal Church on Germany visit

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Deutsche Bischofskonferenz/Matthias Kopp. / Deutsche Bischofskonferenz/Matthias Kopp.

Berlin, Germany, Jul 1, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has highlighted the importance of unity with the universal Church during a visit to Germany.

His visit marked the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and the Holy See, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

At Mass on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Berlin, Parolin referred to Pope Francis’ 2019 letter to German Catholics.

“The communion must have priority over all visions and individual needs,” the cardinal said.

Reflecting on the concept of synodality, he quoted Pope Francis as saying that it is “a path that culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, who is called to speak as shepherd and teacher of all Christians.”

Addressing prominent German Church leaders including Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki and Bishop Georg Bätzing, Parolin noted that Sts. Peter and Paul had contrasting characters that led to “lively debates.”

But the apostles allowed these “striking differences” to build an even deeper unity within the early Church, he commented.

The 66-year-old Italian cardinal said: “It is indeed important to return to a unity that does not depend on agreeing to shared visions and orientations, as is common in politics, but on theological-spiritual rootedness in God.”

Parolin took part in a symposium on June 30 at the apostolic nunciature in Berlin, devoted to the centenary of diplomatic relations and attended by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“How could we here in Berlin forget the great contribution of Pope John Paul II to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is rightly called the ‘Wall of Shame,’” Parolin asked in his address.

He continued: “Even many agnostics and non-believers have defined the fall of the wall as a ‘miracle’ that did not happen by chance during the pontificate of the first Slavic pope in history who believed and proclaimed from the beginning that such a miracle was possible.”

Parolin urged German authorities to promote the common good and defend human dignity, saying this was the only way to ensure peace.

He also praised “the government’s great efforts to welcome and integrate migrants,” referring to the country’s decision to accept more than 1.7 million refugees from 2015.

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