Welcome: Inspector General Giani, Vatican Chief of Police

Although unable to attend the 2016 Santa Marta Group conference, Inspector General Domenico Giani, the Vatican Chief of Police, offered this reflection to delegates.


Eminences, excellencies, distinguished guests!

First of all, I would like to share with you a reflection matured in the days leading up to this meeting. A reflection on the role and importance of our presence, as the Pontifical Gendarmerie Corps, in the Santa Marta Group.

I said to myself that, although the topic to be discussed focused on “Organised crime in the context of trafficking of human beings and of new forms of slavery” was by itself very exhaustive because of the nature of our Institution, it did not seem to represent completely the particularity and, if I may, the uniqueness of our mission. A mission that goes beyond the fight against crime.

It is a joy for us to live every day, indeed daily breathe the atmosphere of the Pontifical Magisterium. Therefore, it is natural that the Holy Father’s teachings have not only slowly become part of our thoughts and behaviors, but also they cause us to expand the boundaries of our mission.

In this regard, the experience of these years of living next to Pope Francis has shaped us and positively influenced us. I have very clear in mind a few key moments of the “Franciscan papacy” – from the testimony of this dusty soccer field in Lampedusa among the “lucky” migrants who escaped the tragedy that took place in the Mediterranean – and the drawing that he jealously guards on his desk, given to him by one of the Syrian children he met in Lesbos, April 2015, in a refugee camp, where we witnessed another of the most memorable, or at least most recent, moments of this pontificate.

Pope Francis made the whole world hear his voice once again. And he added to his voice the one of the representatives of other religions, involving them in its appeal to the Nations:

“We came here – he said – to draw the world’s attention to this humanitarian crisis and to implore for a resolution. As people of faith we wish to unite our voices to speak out on your behalf. We hope that the world will open its eyes to these tragic and truly desperate situations of need, and respond in a manner worthy of our common humanity.”

The world remains for him still a vision: good and evil, angels and demons that face each other. The pictures of the Lampedusa deaths are, in a certain way, the stigmatas of his pontificate. The same goes for the tragedies caused by the different forms that slavery takes today: trafficking of people, abuse of women and children, violence against any human being, poverty.

So it is time to deal with that colossal humanitarian crisis, which originated because of the spread of violence and armed conflicts, persecution and displacement of religious and ethnic minorities, and the dislocation of families from their homes, in violation of their dignity and their human rights and of the fundamental freedoms of every person. But how do deal with it then?

As a man belong to law enforcement and security, I certainly appeal to the ever closer cooperation between the police and intelligence forces of every country in the world, to oppose and eradicate any type of criminal activity, ensuring the full commitment and dedication of the Gendarmerie of the Vatican City State – both internally and externally. For some time now, we have invested in the specialization of our agents so that they are able to operate across the board and cope in a professionally qualified manner threats such as organized crime, terrorism, trafficking of people and all forms of violence against humanity.

As for the cooperation with the various police forces I am certain that, thanks to the opportunities we have had to meet each other and work alongside each other during the Holy Father’s trips around the world, apart from facilitating a necessarily professional relationship, it has helped us create that sentiment that makes us call each other FRIENDS! We can be friends, and we can work together, such as police and intelligence forces, to reach common objectives, and to be provide the necessary tools to help provide safety to people, always favoring, for our part, inter-religious dialogue. Us too, we strive to lead by example to show, through our actions and works of cooperation, that the military conflicts that cause bloodshed in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, cannot be called religious wars.

The middle part of the speech is in Spanish:

De un hombre de fe pero teniendo presentes las enseñanzas evangélicas, testimoniadas con ardor apostólico del Papa Francisco. Pienso en particular al paso de Asís cuando de frente a los pobres en la cena del episcopado ha asumido la aptitud de cuando era simplemente Padre Bergoglio de la Ciudad Oculta y de las barricadas de Buenos Aires: la voz mas callada y susurrante norma habitual. Y miro también a El cuándo en Lampedusa se ha revestido del solf power de Romano Pontífice y del roll planetario de voces de los oprimidos, pidiendo a los poderes fuertes en la confrontación, “de aquellos que en el anonimato toman decisiones socio económicas que abren el camino a dramas como este”.

Podemos decir que los momentos vividos por el Santo Padre tanto en Asís como en Lampedusa, constituyen, en modalidad diversa y en cierto cual modo, las fronteras universales de su ministerio. Es en estas fronteras entenderíamos movernos también nosotros Gendarmes siguiendo la norma por el trazadas. Dirigiéndose a las Naciones Unidas el 25 de septiembre del pasado año, Papa Francisco había denunciado las condiciones de mujeres y hombre concretos, igual a los gobernantes, que viven, luchan y sufren y que muchas veces se ven obligados a vivir miserablemente, privados de casi todos derechos. ”Para que estos hombres y mujeres concretos puedan salir de la pobreza extrema –había dicho- necesitan consentir que ellos sean dignos autores de su propio destino. El desarrollo humano integran y el pleno ejercicio de la dignidad humana no pueden ser impuestos. Deben ser construidos y realizados por cada uno, de cada una de la familias, en comunión los otros seres humanos y en una justa relación con todos los ambientes en los cuales se desarrolle la sociabilidad humana-amigos, comunidades, villas, pueblos, escuelas, empresas y sindicatos, provincias y naciones.

Siguiéndolo en su peregrinación inaugural del Jubileo de la Misericordia, querido no acaso, en Bangui, en Centroáfrica, hemos visto a estos hombres y a estas mujeres muy de cerca, con ojos diversos. Habíamos entonces decidido de colaborar de nuestra parte. Hoy, en colaboración con el Hospital Pediatrico Bambino Gesú, estamos trabajando para dotar a la población de Bangui, de estructurar de acogida y de asistencia sanitaria. Tal vez esto no entra propio en la misión en las mansiones de un Cuerpo de Policía; ciertamente pero si entra en la misión de solidaridad que compete a cada una de las personas que tenga sentimiento de pertenencia todavía con el genero humano.

Because of all the aforementioned reasons, it is evident that the particular contribution of the Gendarmerie of the Vatican in the fight against organized crime to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery utilizes technical and collaborational operational strategies.

The technical strategies are reached by implementing the most modern tools to make more professional our gendarmes – in a context of alliance between international police forces and cooperation with the various bodies of the church and of the civil society.

The collaborational strategies, capture, in evangelical criteria and in the teaching of the Holy Father the most authentic reasons of a humanitarian and charitable activity, favored by fruitful friendly relations with the different main actor of the Nations.

The various meetings and dialogues that will take place in these coming days, will certainly be helpful to deepen our mutual relations, to discern instruments that give more security to the most vulnerable people, and to identify common grounds in order to support and help the victims of such horrendous crimes.