Cardinal Secretary of State on the future of Catholicism

Parolin: No turning back after Francis' changes to the Church

Rome - What comes after Pope Francis in the Catholic Church? This question is not only on the minds of many Vatican observers. Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin has now commented on this. In his view, the direction is clear.

Published  on 25.04.2024 at 12:14  – 

According to the number two in the Vatican, the changes initiated by Pope Francis in the Catholic Church will not be reversed in the future. At a book launch in Rome on Wednesday evening, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin responded to the question: "What will become of the reforms initiated by Pope Francis?" with the words: "To this question is added another, which for some sounds like a threat and for others like an illusion: is there a risk of a U-turn?"

In response to this question, Parolin, who is being touted in the Italian media as a possible successor to Pope Francis, quoted the Letter of St James from the New Testament. It says: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer also waits for the precious fruit of the earth; he waits patiently for it until the early rain or the latter rain falls."

Parolin recalled the method of discernment with which Pope Francis had justified his reforms. He emphasised: "Discernment is not merely an intuition, but the fruit of constant prayer in the Spirit, and it will show us - in the longer periods of time of those who know how to exercise patience - how to proceed and what (of it) should be institutionalised. Precisely because the (Holy) Spirit is at work, there will be no turning back."

Vatican reports in unusual detail

The official portal "Vatican News" reported on the cardinal's words in unusual detail after the book presentation on Wednesday evening. It took place at the Italian Ministry of Culture in Rome. The book "Cinque domande che agitano la chiesa" (Five questions that move the Church) by Vatican expert Ignazio Ingrao of the RAI television broadcaster was presented.

Parolin also commented on the current state of the Catholic Church. Referring to the story of the boat in the sea storm in the Gospel of St Matthew, he remarked: "Every transition, even historically, is full of adversity. The difficulties can be interpreted not only as a storm and a danger, but also as an opportunity; this is part of God's wise pedagogy with which he educates us so that we can mature and develop."

On the question of the future role of women in the Church, Parolin noted that the second phase of the World Synod in the Vatican in October will focus on the relationship between the Synod at world church level and the "questions and expectations" that "emerge from the synodal processes of the individual local churches". He did not provide any further details on the content. (KNA)