Today is an important day for relations between Italy and the Holy See: we are commemorating the signing of the Lateran Treaty. When the Treaty was signed in 1929 and then followed by the New Concordat in 1984, those achievements were greeted very favourably on the two banks of the Tiber. The shared clarification on the respective roles, after so many years of friction, reciprocal suspicions and ill feelings, constituted the institutional grounds on which we built the excellent relations that now exist between Italy and the Holy See.
However today we are not only celebrating this anniversary but we also intend to reflect on the bilateral convergence over the synergies that characterise our strategic partnership, which is favoured by the fact that, together with the Vatican, we all look at the world from Rome and with similar spiritual and cultural sensibilities. But we should not take our common vision for granted as, on the contrary, it needs to be constantly fuelled through systematic and reinforced bilateral consultations.
I intend to further develop this vital dialogue together with the Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Gallagher. I am aware of the Holy See’s universal influence potential: an authoritative voice we need to heed, especially this year in which Italy sits on the Security Council and holds the Chair of the G7. And even more so in this global scenario, marked by the perception of “a world war in pieces” (in the lofty words of the Holy Father).
Cooperation between Italy and the Holy See is also crucial to defend inalienable human rights from the attack of those who disown humanity, albeit blasphemously invoking God. “Solidarity”, “inclusivity” and “dialogue” are the three key concepts around which Italy and the Holy See can marshal the international community. Our common approach is not theoretical but can be measured through an extensive international agenda. For example, the Pope’s firm condemnation of terrorism and of those who exploit it corresponds to our primary need of international security and stability. The migration crisis is another crucial issue on which there is a shared conviction of the need to protect human lives, reassure the communities that host migrants and improve the conditions of the Countries of origin and transit of migration flows.
This is another reason why Italy and the Holy See will focus special attention on Africa in the next few days. Then we also plan other initiatives in Latin America and to promote human rights. We will continue to join forces to protect religious minorities, obviously also including the Christian minority in the Middle East.
Today’s talks enable us to reflect on the future of Europe and on the values that should be taken as inspiration for the European integration process, which Italy intends to relaunch on 25 March, when we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. Italy and the Holy See are called upon to make fundamental political decisions to protect human rights and dignity, promote sustainable development and foster peace. Thus, today’s celebrations are not merely commemorative. They also serve to consolidate the common front put up to defend human individuals and civil coexistence, which remains the diplomatic, cultural and spiritual bulwark against the encroachment of violent fundamentalism and international disorder.