Monsignor Aldo Giordano’s Swan-Song
The new nuncio to Venezuela may develop a fresh take on Europe from a distance of 3000 kilometres which Caracas affords.
Monsignor Aldo Giordano reckons that he has attended upwards of forty COMECE plenary meetings over the past nineteen years. Initially it was as General Secretary of CCEE that he made the journey north from St. Gallen [and from outside the EU], latterly his journey north was from one European metropolis to another as since 2008 he has been Permanent Observer of the Holy See in Strasbourg. His leave-taking on 13 November at his last COMECE Plenary was, understandably, an emotional affair.
Aldo Giordano has been appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Caracas and is due to be consecrated bishop in his native Cuneo on 14 December, by the very man he replaces in the Venezuelan capital, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Papal Secretary of State (& incidentally the new Archbishop Giordano’s new boss).
After nearly a quarter of a century at the heart of Europe and working very close to the engine room, both in ecclesiastical and secular terms, the nuncio to Venezuela looks forward to seeing Europe from distant South America. He is fascinated by how others see us and what they expect of us.
The new nuncio may develop a fresh take on Europe from a distance of 3000 kilometres which Caracas affords, yet it must be said that he already has quite a number of interesting ideas about the European project, about the founding fathers and their vision and about where Europe stands now as the baton is handed on to the third generation.
Mgr. Giordano makes no apologies for looking at Europe through the prism of Catholic social teaching. He is convinced that the Europe we have is just not good enough and firmly believes that another Europe is possible, one profoundly shaped by the Christian vision.
As if he had an intimation that his term at Strasbourg had run its natural course, Aldo Giordano has just published a book on Europe [Un’altra Europa e possible: ideali cristiani e prospettive per il Vecchio Continente, San Paolo Press, 2013]. He draws on his long experience with the wider Europe [like Pope John Paul II, Mgr. Giordano is sensitive to the two-lung view of the continent] through his time as General Secretary of CCEE where, through that episcopal communio which characterises the spirit and activities of CCEE, he developed the feeling of Europe as a family. His years at Strasbourg too left their mark. Ever the philosopher, Mgr. Giordano, drawing on some of the complex cases which ended up in the Grand Chambre of the European Court of Human Rights, reflects on the great issues of life, death and human dignity which have raised disturbing questions and fierce debate in the European forum in recent years.
Readers of Europe Infos will be interested to know how crucial a role Mgr. Giordano believes COMECE has played in securing the Church a valued place in fashioning Europe’s future. Article 17 has enabled the Church to find its voice in the European debate and has meant that the EU leadership will henceforth be more inclined to listen to what the Church has to say on key EU policy issues. He believes that, without prejudice to other dialogue partners, the Catholic Church’s strength in the European forum lies in its unique world-wide network and in its un-paralleled grass-roots pastoral experience with communities great and small across the continent. The Church has unique access to the minds and hearts of two hundred or more million EU citizens, and that is a great trump card.
Mgr. Giordano is convinced that if Europe has a common strand to its complex identity, that is its Christian heritage – philosophical, religious, cultural and artistic. He is also of the view that if Europe is to have a future, the Christian dimension is an indispensible ingredient in its makeup.
Patrick H. Daly