By Antonina Zielinska and Katie Engesser
Having asked world leaders to hold up the dignity of the human person above national and geopolitical interests in his remarks at the end of the 2018 General United Nations Assembly, Archbishop Paul Gallagher shared his thoughts on the state of the Church and the world with Currents News’ Katie Engesser.
“I have a feeling that this moment is in fact the beginning of the real reform of the Church,” said Archbishop Gallagher, who serves as the Vatican’s secretary for relations with States.
He was referring to how the news surrounding the sexual scandals in the Church worldwide has affected church clerics, consecrated and laity. No one in the Church, he said, has been spared the sorrow this news has brought.
He said the Church must now reassure people, regain their confidence and restore morality.
“We have to do all this with faith and we have to do it in humility and in a spirit of penance, but above all in a spirit of prayer, seeking what is God’s will for the Church,” he said.
The archbishop said that perhaps the people and leaders of the Church have gotten too comfortable with the idea that progress in the Church is linear. Now is a good time to take stock of the many failings and sins of the Church, Archbishop Gallagher said.
But the Church cannot abdicate its responsibility to point people toward Truth. To this end, Archbishop Gallagher, said the Church has a “great advantage.”
“The teaching of the Church is not something that changes with the government,” he said. “It’s not something that changes because there is an election down the road.” The message is centered in God’s Gospel and people take notice.
“One thing that we do notice in recent years is that although the Church’s voice is not always followed – but people always want to know what the Church thinks,” Archbishop Gallagher said.
Among the main points that the Vatican chose to address during the U.N. Assembly is the threat of nuclear weapons.
“We’re not pretending that you can move unilaterally to complete disarmament, but our ultimate goal is a nuclear-free world,” Archbishop Gallagher told Engesser.
The archbishop said the Vatican continues to engage with like minded-leaders and the leaders of the nuclear powers to find a safe resolution to the nuclear threat. There is hope in that regional leaders have taken the stance that they do not want such weapons in their region.
The work ahead lies on rebuilding confidence between countries and creating a situation where leaders can take, what Archbishop Gallagher called, “the courageous choice” to reduce arsenals, stop tests and ultimately destroy arms.
This way, Archbishop Gallagher said, “we can have a safer world and not a world that can fall into insecurity very easily.”