As we look forward to the “new term” at the Vatican and at Westminster, it seems that the buzzword this autumn will be “family”. There is always a great deal of public discussion about the future of the family. Quite rightly, in my view, as it is arguably the most important social institution underpinning our civilisation. There is also very often a great deal of angst, as commentators compete to … All in the family
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 … Death to the Death Penalty?
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 … Pope Francis to visit South Korea
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 … Human trafficking: responding to the Pope’s appeal
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 … Making a reality of the common good
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 … Pope Francis at work
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 … Countering ‘the globalisation of indifference’
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 … The Anglican Centre: an essential presence in Rome
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 … Should Diplomats study Religion?
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 … Reflections of a Catholic participant on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in conflict