Navarro-VallsJoaquín left a good part of his memories of John Paul II ready for publication".

Rafael Navarro-Valls is professor emeritus of the Complutense University. He has just published From the White House to the Holy Seewhich brings together his articles on the political relations between these two institutions in recent years. We took the opportunity to talk with him about the Ukrainian war, the RoeThe Vatican reforms, the euthanasia law and the publication of his brother's memoirs.

Javier Garcia-July 4, 2022-Reading time: 4 minutes

What do you find remarkable about the new Apostolic Constitution? Predicate Evangelium and reforms of the Vatican in recent years?

I believe that they will make it easier to be better witnesses to the Gospel, with a better service of the Curia to the whole Church, that is, to all the faithful, from the bishops to the last baptized person in every corner of the earth. It is not a reform of the ChurchThe Pope's role in the Church is not only in the organization of the Pope, but also in the mechanisms that help the Pope to serve the Church. There is a restructuring of organisms so that there can be a greater dynamism. In short, to facilitate that the sap of the Church can reach the last dry branch and flourish again.

Knowing what the new College of Cardinals will look like and the meeting of the August cardinals, can we begin to draw a profile of the next Pope? conclave?

The Church was born universal and remains universal. This is manifested in the College of Cardinals. What may seem a limitation, is at the same time an enrichment. The characteristics of cardinals from so many places form a harmony that will be reflected in new tones. The Holy Spirit will make the next Pope face the challenges of each era with new lights. In the end, it is the Church that is always enriched. It is enough to think of the pontificates of the last Popes: John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis... The Holy Spirit will never cease to surprise us.

What are the most sensitive points between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill on the In the context of the war in Ukraine, how does the Pope combine his role as head of the State with that of a pastor in a situation like this?

The difficulty lies in the fact that this dialogue must remain within the sphere of justice, without entering into political evaluations of political action. In this sense the Orthodox Church has in fact a closer relationship with the political regime. And the dialogue between the Pope and Kiril is complicated because of this duality. In any case, the Pope is a shepherd of souls, and he is concerned with the good of all men, and therefore with making Christ's message of peace reach them. The fact that he is the head of the Vatican State is a necessity because the Church is a society that interacts in this world; it is like the visible clothing of a spiritual reality and authority.

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the long-standing ruling that Roe v. Wade What is your opinion also about Biden's reaction?

From a strictly legal point of view, Roe was a flawed ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court, with its new ruling, has rectified its position on the matter, making it clear that nothing in the U.S. Constitution compels an understanding of abortion as a fundamental right. The removal of constitutional protection for abortion has given the States individual control over the timing and extent of abortion procedures. In fact, the Supreme Court would now agree, half a century late, with the justices who dissented in Roe v. WadeThe Constitutional Court, which categorically affirmed that there was nothing in the text of the Constitution that could justify the existence of a fundamental right to abortion. Hence, without holding their tongues, they described the sentence as an "imprudent and unreasonable exercise of the power of constitutional review".

Regarding Biden's reaction encouraging Congress to pass a law that takes up the aspects that the new sentence has eliminated, it reminds me of the recent intervention of Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House of Representatives - who has presented a law like the one Biden wants, but which has been rejected. Faced with this, the Archbishop of San Francisco - after several (unsuccessful) attempts to talk to the politician - has decided to prohibit Pelosy from receiving Communion, marking an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Catholic Church and those Catholic politicians in favor of abortion.

It goes on like this the position of Pope Francis when he recently spoke out against abortion with these harsh words: "Is it right to kill a human life to solve a problem? (...) is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? (...) That is why the Church is so hard on this issue, because if it accepts this, it is like accepting daily murder.". We will see the reaction of the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, to the extreme statements of the American president. 

In a world marked by communication, many people would like to know if their brother's memoirs are going to be published.

Joaquín left a good part of his memories and experiences during the long pontificate of John Paul II ready for publication. Now they have been completed. Thus, I do not think they will take long to see the light of day. In fact, he once said that he would prefer it to take some time after his death. Now that it is the fifth anniversary of his death, it is a very appropriate moment.

And what would you highlight from Francis' pontificate so far?

Every Pope in the history of the Church has been confronted with problems that have been considered a priority. John Paul II, for example, encountered three major problems: in the first world, a vast tide of secularization; in the second (the countries of the East) he tried hard to face the challenge of the breakdown of human rights; in the third, hunger and technological backwardness.

Benedict XVI, for his part, set himself two objectives which he pursued tenaciously: to renew the old European continent culturally and spiritually and to awaken in the greatest number of countries a creative minorityThe idea was to create a new Pope, who, from his hard core, would serve as a lever for the anthropological transformation of an entire civilization. When Francis was elected, they were looking for a pastor, probably close to one of the places with the greatest number of Catholics: Latin America. For his part, he thinks that his objective is to apply the Social Doctrine of the Church with intensity. That is what he is doing. 

It has been a while since the law on euthanasia came into force. On that occasion, some sectors have redoubled their criticism of conscientious objectors. How do you judge the figure of objecting healthcare personnel?

From my point of view, in conscientious objectors there is a determination to be custodians of the truth -in its timeless and objective sense- and, at the same time, creators of a future, historical and subjective truth.

The fact is that there is a thin border between conscience and law, where it is not uncommon to see the following occur border incidents. The problem here is that in some democracies - also in Spain - such incidents are proliferating. In the face of this multiplication, there are two possible positions: to believe that conscientious objection is a vulnus to democratic principles or, on the contrary, to understand that the objection "is a mature fruit of democracy, which combines the present of the norm with the future of prophecy" (R. Bertolino).

For the rest, I agree with those who understand that when a majority renounces to impose its will on dissident minorities, that is when democratic societies show proof not of weakness but of strength.

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising