Nigel Baker » Ambassador to the Holy See

The Church as a global player


The bishops in the US and health care reform. The leading role played by the Catholic Church in tackling corruption in the Philippines. Caritas Internationalis responding in a practical way to the rise in suicides amongst Indian farmers. Catholic radio and censorship in South Sudan. The response of the Eastern Church Patriarchs to ISIL. Using these examples in a recent article, the US Vatican commentator John Allen justified the launch … Read more »The Church as a global player

Responding to ISIL

photo avec S.B. le Cardinal Béchara RAÏ

There has, rightly, been enormous concern expressed across the world about the recent turn of events in Northern Iraq. The expulsion of the Christian communities from Mosul and the 13 villages of the Plain of Nineveh – an historic heartland inhabited by Christians from the earliest days, well known from, amongst other sources, the story of Jonah – was a wake-up call. The brutalities committed by the Islamic State of … Read more »Responding to ISIL

All in the family

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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 … Read more »All in the family

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 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


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


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


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