Gallagher outlined the Holy See’s approach to diplomacy and the defence of peace

Gallagher outlined the Holy See’s approach to diplomacy and the defence of peace
Gallagher outlined the Holy See’s approach to diplomacy and the defence of peace
At the conclusion of his five-day visit to the Philippines, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States offered a reflection on Vatican diplomacy.

Archbishop Gallagher speaks at the Philippine Foreign Service Institute (VaticanMedia)

In the face of the conflicts that are currently tearing apart various parts of the world in a “third world war fought in pieces,” in the face of the arms race, nuclear threats and terrorism, it is necessary to “understand that defense is not only a question of military power, but also of building institutions and promoting agreements between peoples.”

The archbishop Paul Richard GallagherVatican Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, offered this assessment on Friday at the conclusion of his five-day visit to Filipinas.

Speaking at the Foreign Service Institute headquarters in Pasay City, the archbishop offered a broad reflection on the Holy See’s diplomacy in the contemporary international context, reiterating that speaking of victory or defeat in our current context “is unrealistic.”

On the contrary, he said, it is necessary to establish “a new and just order” that transcends divisions and looks toward the recognition of human dignity.

This, added Monsignor Gallagher, is precisely the diplomatic approach of the Holy See, which seeks “to be a sign of hope” characterized by a “positive neutrality.”

He said that such an approach, rather than seeking power or dominance, is based on principles that “prioritize the well-being of all humanity, uphold human dignity and advocate for lasting peace,” while upholding “the common good, solidarity among nations and subsidiarity.”

As a “relevant transnational actor” and “sovereign and independent moral authority”, the Holy See exercises its diplomatic action as a soft power, relying on “moral persuasion” and “ethical leadership”, with the aim of promoting “justice, peace and solidarity on an international scale”.

Archbishop Gallagher said the Holy See is a “trustworthy” mediator, independent “of alliances and political blocs” and therefore capable of “building bridges where others see only insurmountable divisions.”

At the heart of his speech, the Secretary for Relations with States focused on Pope Francis’ efforts to defend human rights, integral human development, care for our common home and advocate for peace and non-violence.

These qualities, the archbishop said, make the Pope a “primary actor” in Vatican diplomacy, which is “rooted in sincere openness” and founded on charity.

Faced with the “loss of trust between nations” and the growing number and severity of “conflicts and wars,” Archbishop Gallagher stressed the global involvement of the Holy See.

The Church, he said, “shares the joys, sorrows and concerns of the men of our time,” as the Second Vatican Council affirms, and contributes to distancing nations and peoples from “models of war, resentment and hatred.”

Rather, he added, the Church encourages nations to “advance along the path of dialogue,” guided “by the rule of law as well as by natural law, rather than by the law of force.”

Archbishop Gallagher also stressed the “moral responsibility” of papal diplomacy. He said this commitment is evident in several areas, including the defense of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; the safeguarding of Creation; the fight against the “throwaway culture” and the “globalization of indifference,” accompanied by the promotion of the “culture of encounter” and the “globalization of fraternity.”

All this, reiterated Archbishop Gallagher, is part of the horizon of “Christian realism”, where “the art of managing international relations is firmly rooted in the real world, addressing practical challenges and seeking tangible solutions.” This involves prioritizing “the well-being, security and stability of nations” over power or personal interests.

In this regard, the archbishop cited specific areas of Vatican diplomacy: access to the fundamental right to health; support for fair economic policies; the fight against the “toxic scourge” of human trafficking; the promotion of multilateralism and the defense of religious freedom.

On this last point, Archbishop Gallagher recalled that “the Holy See defends that religious freedom is not only a human right but also a vital path towards healing divisions and promoting world peace” and added that the Holy See plays “a fundamental role in the defence of peace, reconciliation and the non-violent resolution of conflicts.”

Finally, Bishop Gallagher recalled his period as counselor of the apostolic nunciature in Manila from 1991 to 1995, as well as the visits of four Popes to the Philippines (St. Paul VI In 1970, St. John Paul II In 1981 and 1995, the Pope Francisco in 2015).

He concluded by encouraging the Southeast Asian nation to continue its “crucial role” as a promoter of “regional cooperation” in Asia and as a builder of “a more humane and inclusive society.”

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