By Mariah McCloskey
On Ash Wednesday, the School of Diplomacy unveiled the Pope John Paul II Fellowship at a lecture by Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. The lecture, hosted by the School of Diplomacy and International Relations and co-sponsored by the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, featured not only Archbishop Auza, but also the new leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, Joseph William Cardinal Tobin.
“I’m very pleased that my first act of Lenten penance is a speech at Seton Hall,” Archbishop Auza joked.
The lecture, which was preceded by a Lenten soup dinner, started with a blessing from Cardinal Tobin.
Directly after the blessing, Dr. Andrea Bartoli, Dean of the School of Diplomacy, announced the Pope John Paul II fellowship, an intern position reserved for Seton Hall students with the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations. The fellowship, open to both undergraduate and graduate positions, will begin in the summer and carry on through the fall semester. Fellows will work full time, and each will receive a $10,000 scholarship.
“Partnering with the School of Diplomacy is important because not only is it Catholic, but it is the school of the Archdiocese of Newark,” said Archbishop Auza. He added that a collaboration with the Holy See mission and Seton Hall will help not only the community’s growth, but also the student in the fellowship position to learn and develop.
“The U.N. Charter’s four main pillars dovetail with the Church’s,” said Archbishop Auza on why the Holy See should be present at the United Nations. These pillars are to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
Because “war is the negation of all rights,” Pope Francis’s objective is to make prevention the highest priority, Archbishop Auza said.
According to Archbishop Auza, the world listens when Pope Francis speaks “because he is a general with an army.” There are about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican estimates.
The Holy See has chosen to remain a permanent observer of the U.N. instead of becoming a member state. Rev. Dr. John Ranieri, professor of philosophy and director of the University Honors Program, to clarify why the Holy See has chosen to keep its permanent observer status, said the papacy was trying to maintain secularization and distinguish between the role of the church and the responsibilities of the state.
“The Vatican would want to avoid taking a side, if it were a member state,” Father Ranieri said. For the Holy See, the best way to have a say on the issues within the U.N. without having to take any political stance is to remain a permanent observer.
After the lecture, the floor was opened to questions. Asked what the Pope’s goal was in recognizing the state of Palestine in 2015, as well as allowing Palestine to have an embassy in Vatican City. After dodging the question initially, Archbishop Auza ultimately said “there is no alternative to a two-state solution” in resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
He was then asked about the Chinese government’s meddling with the appointment of Chinese bishops, and about traditional families. His response was to use the current Hattian method of choosing bishops, and said that if Beijing insists on pre-selecting the candidates, the Pope will insist on having at least three candidates to choose from.
After the event, Cardinal Tobin was asked about the appointment of a new president for Seton Hall to replace Dr. Gabriel Esteban, who is departing for DePaul University in April. The cardinal, as the head of the archdiocese, will have significant influence on the selection process. “We have to find the most competent, conversant candidate with knowledge of Seton Hall’s character and history,” Cardinal Tobin said.
To apply for the Pope John Paul II fellowship, graduate students enrolled in nine credits and undergraduate students enrolled in twelve credits can email Thomas Ashe, graduate assistant, at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org. The internship will begin in June and last for six months. Transportation and daily lunch costs will be covered.