Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, said this week the Church’s concordats and accords are made with states and not with the governments that happen to be in power at the time.
“The concordats and other accords,” he noted, “are established with countries controlled by different forms of government, without in principle excluding any one of them,” Archbishop Lajolo stated during a conference on Vatican diplomacy at the Gregorian University in Rome.
According to the archbishop, “At times the Holy See has been reproached for having entered into accords with totalitarian regimes, giving them in some way moral approval and facilitating their presence on the international stage. In this sense it must be explained first of all that with these accords the Holy See has never recognized a specific regime; according to international law an accord is established by the State, which remains, and not by the regime or government, which passes away.”
“It should not be forgotten that the Holy See, in establishing these accords, seeks to protect the freedom of the Church in a country and the right to religious freedom of the faithful and the citizens, and this can be even more necessary when the government of a State does not fully respect fundamental rights,” he explained.