The visit of the Pontifical Council's President, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, to Iran, from 12 to 15 June, was intense and fruitful.
During the four-day stay in Tehran, Archbishop Paglia officially met Mrs. Molaverdi, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Women and Family Affairs, as he already did at the Vatican in 2015. In both conversations with the Vice President as well as in the discussion with the Welfare Minister, Archbishop Paglia reiterated the need to maintain a strong focus on the family institution and on the most vulnerable persons (women, the elderly and children), as well as highlighting the important role that the Abrahamic religions can play in helping the entire human family to recognize the benefit of this fundamental anthropological reality. Alongside purely social issues, at all three meetings, emphasis was put on the need to promote change in a culture that no longer sees in romantic love ("easily deluded heart" as the Persian poet Hafez sings) the unique foundation of the choice of marriage. This is an idea also shared during the visits to different universities in the holy city of Qom.
Both parties showed a desire to continue and implement the dialog, starting with the opening in the National Library of a section with books recently published by the Pontifical Council for the Family.
On the sidelines of the official events, Archbishop Paglia met the small Christian community present in Tehran and composed of three historical traditions: Latin, Armenian and Chaldean. The celebration of Holy Mass, the presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and festivities marked Sunday evening. Then, on the last day, the meeting with the elderly persons at the retirement home run by the Vincentian Sisters was particularly cordial.