Nigel Baker » Ambassador to the Holy See

Death to the Death Penalty?

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The following is a guest blog by Steve Townsend, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See On 13 August 1964, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans made British judicial history, although not in a way they would have appreciated. They were the last people executed in the United Kingdom. Throughout the 1960s there was growing support in the British Parliament for the abolition of capital punishment, and it … Read more »Death to the Death Penalty?

Pope Francis to visit South Korea

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The following is a guest blog by Steve Townsend, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See On 14-18 August Pope Francis will make his first visit to Asia, to attend the Asian Youth Day in Daejon, South Korea. He will also beatify 124 martyrs, killed in the eighteenth century for adopting Christianity. The visit will give Pope Francis the opportunity to preach his messages to … Read more »Pope Francis to visit South Korea

Human trafficking: responding to the Pope’s appeal

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In my last blog posting on the concept of “the common good”, I noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury had included UK efforts to tackle human trafficking as one of three specific areas in which, in his view, Her Majesty’s Government was working for the common good. 30 July is the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons. To mark the event, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican-based Global … Read more »Human trafficking: responding to the Pope’s appeal

Making a reality of the common good

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There are many definitions of “the common good”. It is an idea born from early Christian thought, especially the writing of St Augustine, and a key concept of Catholic Social Teaching. As a phrase, it is used regularly by successive Popes, including Pope Francis, to describe a worthy objective of man’s strivings in society. A definition I rather like is that of the Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, promulgated … Read more »Making a reality of the common good

Pope Francis at work

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The following is a guest blog by Steve Townsend, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See In July in Rome, thoughts start to turn to holidays, and escaping the humidity of the Eternal City for the beach or the mountains. Most people think that they have deserved their break, and look forward to the chance to unwind and re-charge their batteries. However, despite their being … Read more »Pope Francis at work

Countering ‘the globalisation of indifference’

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Pope Francis rightly calls on the rich to do more to ensure equity for the poor. We must listen to the counsel of those on the periphery, he tells us. And we should be generous in our solidarity – a word, he told his audience on a recent trip to the Italian region of Molise, that seems to have fallen out of fashion.  Despite the recent economic crisis, this is … Read more »Countering ‘the globalisation of indifference’

The Anglican Centre: an essential presence in Rome

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The recent visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury – Justin Welby’s second since he and Pope Francis began their respective missions in the same week in March 2013 – placed in the spotlight the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church across the world. One of the key instruments of that relationship is the Anglican Centre in Rome, whose Director, Archbishop Sir David Moxon (formerly Anglican Primate … Read more »The Anglican Centre: an essential presence in Rome

Should Diplomats study Religion?

Nigel Baker, British Ambassador to the Holy See

Earlier this week I was in London to address an in-house training programme of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on religion and foreign policy. The course is aimed at British diplomats, but also public servants from other government ministries; there were a number of participants this week from the Ministry of Defence, and on previous occasions from the Department for International Development. It is aimed at those who need … Read more »Should Diplomats study Religion?

Reflections of a Catholic participant on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in conflict

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I have commented in recent weeks on the 10-13 June London Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. This week, I give the floor to Pádraic MacOireachtaigh, Jesuit Refugee Service Regional Advocacy and Communications Officer in the Great Lakes based in Burundi, who participated in the Summit, and who contributes his own supportive but critical commentary on the event. Hosted by Secretary of State William Hague and actress and Special … Read more »Reflections of a Catholic participant on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in conflict

#TimeToAct: Catholics building a better future

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As the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict unfolds, I am delighted to give voice in my blog to a story from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last week at Vatican Radio, a panel discussion showed that religious networks have a huge role to play to end the use of rape as a weapon of war. This testimony is about victims, their fears and dreams, and the value … Read more »#TimeToAct: Catholics building a better future