Archbishop Christophe Louis Yves Georges Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., gave a lecture on Feb. 1 in the University Center addressing U.S. policy along with religious identity.
Pierre, who has served as nuncio since 2016, said that “it’s a good sign” when people admit doubts with their religious identity.
“You have not fallen into some kind of indifference,” he said of those questioning their religion.
Pierre added that “It’s better for identity” to “ask questions about life” and its meaning.
“I still continue to ask questions to myself,” Pierre said.
For those of Generation Z who are struggling with religion, he said to “stay together” and “belong to a community.”
“Share deep questions and be listened to,” Pierre said, adding that students were “lucky” to attend a university that provides such resources.
On stage with Pierre at the lecture were Dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations Courtney Smith, University President Joseph Nyre and Archbishop of Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who called Pierre “Pope Francis with a French accent.”
Within the front row of the lecture sat Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations. The Vatican is not a member of the U.N., but they do have observer status.
Pierre said his number one value is peace and that the “promotion of peace” is the “driving force” internationally for the Holy See to protect “the fundamentals of human rights” and overcome “indifference, and working together.”
As the Russian-Ukrainian war approaches its first anniversary, Pierre said he hopes for “a new path of peace, beginning in Europe, excluding nobody.”
“Let Europe return to the fundamental truth: dialogue and peace,” Pierre said.
Prior to the lecture, Pierre spoke about the current divisions in the U.S. “You live in a polarized country,” he said.
Pierre said his position requires him to understand U.S. politics. He spent nine years in Mexico as its apostolic nuncio, from 2007 to 2016, and said he was “astounded” that the U.S. could not solve a “single point:” its ongoing migration issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But Pierre said change was possible. “Polarization can be righted,” he said.
Emma Thumann can be reached at email@example.com.