The Vatican this week expressed alarm over the new security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the Indo-Pacific region.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, said “the Holy See is opposed to rearmament,” adding that all the efforts that have been made and are being made by the Vatican are “to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
The Vatican officials said nuclear weapons “are not the way to maintain peace and security in the world, but they create even more dangers for peace and even more conflict.”
“Within this vision, one cannot but be worried,” Cardinal Parolin told journalists at the sidelines of a September 22 event.
The trilateral security pact, announced on September 15, will add to the Western military presence in the Pacific amid concerns about China.
The pact’s first initiative will be to help Australia’s navy procure a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
Cardinal Parolin responded to a question about AUKUS after giving a speech during a meeting of the Bureau of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in Rome.
The EPP Group is a European political group with Christian democratic, conservative, and liberal-conservative member parties. It is the largest political group in the European Parliament, the European Union’s law-making body.
Cardinal Jean Claude Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), and Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, were also present at Wednesday’s session.
“Today is dedicated to listening to the Church. The presence of representatives of the Holy See and COMECE is placed in this perspective: the fact that [the EPP Group] want to hear what the Church is proposing and what she is asking of them,” Parolin told journalists.
Parolin also highlighted the risk of exploiting religion “for political purposes.”
“It is important to make a global choice: in Christianity, you do not choose what you like best or what suits you best. In Christianity, you have to accept everything,” he said.
“And therefore,” Parolin said, “both the defense of life is part of Christianity — in all its phases from the beginning of natural conception to natural death — but love of neighbor is also part of it, which manifests itself as attention to the phenomenon of migration, according to those four verbs that the pope has always indicated to us: to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate.”
“At the level of principle, for me the thing is very clear,” he added. “Christianity is all this, you cannot go to the supermarket and take this, this other, this other again…”