Nigel Baker » Ambassador to the Holy See

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

Time to Act: mobilising Catholic networks against sexual violence in conflict

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I often have to remind people that I am accredited not to the Vatican City State, but to the Holy See, the governance of the global Catholic Church. As such, this embassy has reach into an extraordinary worldwide network of civil society organisations, religious congregations, diplomats, universities and other components that make up the Catholic universe. This gives us real opportunities when we want to take action on an issue … Read more »Time to Act: mobilising Catholic networks against sexual violence in conflict

Digital diplomacy, communications and the Holy See

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our global diplomatic network lead the way in the development of digital diplomacy (or “Twiplomacy” as it is sometimes called: Twitter + Diplomacy). Some people, retired diplomats amongst them, have been critical of “tweeting ambassadors”. Yet our experience has been a positive one. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of instant communication. The greatest risk is not our use of … Read more »Digital diplomacy, communications and the Holy See

The Pope’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land: bearing fruit

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One of the most extraordinary aspects of Pope Francis’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land on 24-26 May is how it has started to bear fruit even before it has begun. Sadly, the lands that he will be visiting – the crucible for some of the most intractable conflicts in human history – are not known for peace, harmony and reconciliation. The Pope is under no illusions about the realities. But … Read more »The Pope’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land: bearing fruit