UK’s man at Vatican stresses ties that bind
Speaking against the background noise of exploding fireworks as Britons marked the failure of the Catholic Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Britain’s man at the Vatican, Francis Campbell, stressed the ties that bind his country and the Vatican on international relations.
Campbell, a Catholic from Northern Ireland who has been UK Ambassador to the Holy See since 2005, was delivering the St Thomas More Lecture (full text here) at the Allen Hall Seminary in London’s fashionable Chelsea district.
(Photo: Ambassador Campbell/FCO)
The UK envoy emphasised how Pope Benedict’s approach to international relations had been shaped by his experience of growing up in Germany during the Nazi era. Campbell noted how Benedict, like his predecessor John Paul, “saw how fragile society actually was” and noted that he is one of the last of that generation still in authority.
Campbell underlined the common ground shared by Britain and the Vatican on issues like climate change, international development and disarmament, emphasising how the Pope’s moral authority helped to propel shared ideas.
The envoy was suitably diplomatic on media reports that the pope would visit Britain in 2010. “I couldn’t possibly comment on that,” he said. He also refused to be drawn on the biggest recent story between Rome and London, the Vatican initiative making it easier for disaffected Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.
Do you think the Vatican is a positive force in international affairs. And what about ecumenical relations between Lambeth Palace and the Vatican?