After Brussels, Strasbourg. The visit that Vatican Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin was scheduled to pay to the Council of Europe on 12 November has to be held via videoconference, just as happened at the end of October, when the cardinal was due to meet with COMECE in the Belgian capital, but had to cancel the trip due to the COVID-19 situation. So next Thursday, Card. Parolin “will meet” remotely with CoE authorities and the delegates of the ministers of the 47 member states. The visit marks the 50th anniversary of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the Council of Europe. The Vatican Observer in Strasbourg is currently Fr. Marco Ghooks. Card. Parolin will also have a virtual meeting with the representatives of Catholic NGOs working in Strasbourg. As a preventive measure against the pandemic, the Mass due to be celebrated in the city’s Cathedral was cancelled. Card. Parolin’s visit should have taken place in May. As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Permanent Mission, three days of study (7-9 January) were held at the University of Strasbourg. The event was opened by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher with an intervention on “Building Europe together. 50 years of the Holy See to the Council of Europe”. To mark the occasion, a photographic exhibition was also held on the subject.
The two visits by Card. Parolin, to COMECE in Brussels and to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, were preceded by Pope Francis’ letter on Europe, released on 22 October: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/letters/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20201022_lettera-parolin-europa.html