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We need to look to the future

· A conversation with the Substitute of the Secratariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu ·

The image of the Roman Curia too often passed about in public opinion without corresponding to reality, which is certainly far better, unfortunately obscured by the grave slander of some. And it is this slander which is at the root of the leakage of documents which have circulated through the media especially in Italy. Regarding this deplorable and sad affair, an investigation is under way at various levels. The hope is that an atmosphere of trust will be pieced back together. The Pope, constantly informed, is saddened, however is serene and looking to the future. These were the main points of a conversation which took place between the Substitute of the Secratariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, and L'Osservatore Romano.

“I had never worked here before and from the day that I arrived, last 31 May, over time I found people committed to serving the Holy See, devoted to the Pope, competent, taking pride in their work”. A past diplomat to seven countries on four continents (Asia not included) and Apostolic Nuncio in Angola and Cuba, Archbishop Becciu was keen to stress — contrary to the image recently spread of the Curia as a place of careerism and plotting — how it is “a reality far from such stereotypes”.

His thoughts go back to the speech which Paul VI gave on 21 September 1963: the Papal Curia’s function is “to be the guardian or echo of divine truth and to become the language and dialogue with human souls”, then “to listen and to interpret the voice of the Pope and at the same time not to let him miss any useful or objective information”. Out of Rome “in these last hundred years has come that regular government, tireless, consistent, stimulator that has led the entire Church to be able to not only expand out, which all must recognize, but toward sensitivity and interior vitality”. The Curia, said the Pontiff who had spent 30 years there, “is not an anonymous body, insensitive to great spiritual problems”, nor, “ as some have misjudged, a bureaucracy pretentious and dull, only canonists and ritualists, a gymnasium of hidden ambitions and deaf rivalries, as others accuse”, but “a real community of faith and charity, of prayer and of action”. In this way – concluded Paul VI recalling a Gospel image dear to him - “like a light in a lantern may this ancient and ever new Roman Curia” give light to those who are in the Church.

A similar tone is taken during the visit which Benedict XVI made to his Secretariat of State on 21 May 2005, a little more than a month after his election in the conclave, and in his words improvised at the moment: “with the skill and professionalism of the work done here, another characteristic aspect can be added, a particularly professional feature: love for Christ, for the Church and for souls plays a part in our professionalism. We do not work - as many say of the work—- to defend a power. We do not have a worldly, secular power. We do not work for prestige, nor do we work to expand a business or the like. In reality, we work so that the pathways of the world are opened to Christ. The purpose of all of our work, with all of its ramifications, is actually ultimately so that his Gospel - as well as the joy of Redemption - may reach the world”.

Still today the Substitute feels the need to confirm this positive judgement: the work that takes place in the Secretariat of State is “disinterested and good, both among the clergy and the laity”. In recent years “someone said to me that they were ashamed to admit that they worked in the Vatican”, continued Archbishop Becciu, “and I replied: “raise your head and be proud”. The few who have been unfair “shouldn't obscure this positive reality”. To them the Substitute is using harsh words: may they look to their conscience for it is “slander” and “cowardice” to profit from a “privileged situation” by publishing documents which they “were expected to respect the confidentiality of”.

This is why the Secretariat of State has ordered a thorough investigation into each organism of the Holy See: on the penal level conducted the Promoter of Justice of the Vatican Tribunal and on the administrative level by the Secretariat of State itself, meanwhile a higher committee was appointed by the Pope to shed light on the whole affair. “The hope is that this pieces our work back together: mutual trust," which of course presupposes seriousness, loyalty, fairness". Benedict XVI, despite the distress that this brings him, "encourages us, however,” the Archbishop concluded, “to look to the future, and his daily witness of serenity and determination is an inspiration to us all”.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 16, 2020