Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, extended “good wishes” to Donald Trump, hours after he was elected the 45th president of the United States. He went on to assure him of “our prayers” so that his government “may be fruitful” in the service of his country and in the service of “well-being and peace” in the world.
The cardinal, who is the number two to Pope Francis, made his comments on Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, shortly after it was announced that Mr. Trump had won the election. The cardinal was at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome for the opening of the academic year and was asked by journalists to comment on the U.S. election.
Vatican Radio reported that he responded:
First of all, I think that we note with respect the will expressed by the American people in this exercise of democracy which, they tell me, was marked by a great turnout at the polling stations. And then, we send good wishes to the new president that his governance may be truly fruitful. And we assure him also of our prayer, that the Lord may enlighten and sustain him in the service of his fatherland, of course, but also in the service of well-being and peace in the world. I believe that today there is, in fact, a need for everyone to work to change the world situation, which is a situation of grave wounds, of grave conflict.
He also responded to another journalist who recalled that Pope Francis (on the plane returning from Mexico last January) had said that “the one who builds walls is not Christian" and, while acknowledging that the Vatican had issued a subsequent clarification that the remark was not directed at anyone in particular, the reporter emphasized that nevertheless the question of immigration remains.
Cardinal Parolin replied: “Let us wait to see how the new president moves. Normally they say it is one thing to be a candidate, it is another thing to be president, to have the responsibility. Moreover, it seems to me that in this sense, also from what I have heard—and even though I have not gone deeply [into the matter] the future president has already expressed himself as a leader. Moreover, as regards specific themes, let us see what the decisions are and on the basis of these, one will be able to give a judgment. But it seems to me to be premature to make judgments [now].”
(Note: translation by the author in the absence of an official one).