The Vatican

Cardinal Zuppi concludes Washington trip

The visit of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the Pope's envoy on a peace mission, to the White House has come to an end. The Cardinal has been particularly interested in the repatriation of Ukrainian children illegally deported by Russia.

Gonzalo Meza-July 20, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

Cardinal Zuppi and Joe Biden ©OSV News photo/CNS file, Paul Haring/Tom Brenner, Reuters

On July 19, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops' Conference concluded his three-day trip to Washington DC. The purpose of this visit was to speak with President Biden and US congressional leaders about humanitarian proposals to alleviate the suffering of thousands of Ukrainians and especially thousands of children who because of the war have been illegally deported to Russia.

On July 19, the Holy See Press Office issued a press release detailing the details of this special mission. Upon his arrival in Washington DC on July 17, Cardinal Zuppi met at the Apostolic Nunciature with Msgr. Timothy Broglio, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. During the colloquium, the prelates exchanged reflections on the war and the peace initiatives undertaken by the Holy See. The following day, Tuesday, July 18, Msgr. Zuppi went to the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress who are members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the "Helsinki Commission").

In his talk to the North American leaders, Msgr. Zuppi spoke about the nature of the mission entrusted to him personally by Pope Francis and ways to make it more effective. The papal envoy was accompanied at this meeting by a Vatican delegation, including the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre and Bishop Séamus Patrick Horgan, Counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature. Also present was the United States Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 18, after visiting the Capitol, the papal envoy and the Vatican delegation visited the White House, where they were received by President Joe Biden. During the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, the Cardinal gave the President a letter from the Holy Father and emphasized the pain experienced by the Pontiff because of the war. This meeting, the Holy See said in its communiqué, "took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality and mutual listening. During the conversation, the Vatican assured the full availability to support initiatives in the humanitarian field, especially directed to children and the most fragile people, both to respond to this urgency and to favor paths of peace", the Vatican underlined.

Finally, on the last day of his tour of the United States, July 19, the Archbishop of Bologna and the Vatican delegation participated in the "Senate Prayer Breakfast" at the U.S. Congress. In his address, Archbishop Zuppi informed those present of the various stages of his peace mission in Ukraine and Russia. The meeting expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Holy See and underlined the responsibility of each party in the commitment to peace.

The authorGonzalo Meza

Ciudad Juarez

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