Nigel Baker » Ambassador to the Holy See

Modern slavery: Church and State working together

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“An open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge on upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”. With these words, Pope Francis addressed the second international conference in the Vatican organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Metropolitan Police on “Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in partnership”, which took place earlier this week. Significantly, the meeting was held in … Read more »Modern slavery: Church and State working together

Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis

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Back in February, I wrote about the significance of the relatively few meetings over the years between British monarchs and Popes, not least The Queen’s own encounters with four different Popes since 1951. Each in its way has served as a milestone in the development of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. Today’s meeting between The Queen and Pope Francis, the fifth Pope Her Majesty has … Read more »Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis

Defending freedom of religion or belief worldwide

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Earlier this week, the Senior Minister of State and Minister for Faith, Baroness Warsi, held the first meeting of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Advisory Group on freedom of religion and belief. The group usefully supplements the FCO’s regular dialogues with religious leaders by bringing together lay experts from a wide spectrum of faiths (and none, as freedom not to believe must also be protected) that will advise FCO … Read more »Defending freedom of religion or belief worldwide

Twiplomacy and the Communicator Pope

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Modern diplomats, and modern Popes, are in the communications business. It remains right that there are still some government activities that are conducted behind the scenes, in confidence, with discretion, without fanfare. But modern diplomats must also persuade, which means delivering a convincing message, sometimes to the broadest possible audience, including on twitter and other social media (the rather ugly neologism is “twiplomacy”). And that is one thing we share … Read more »Twiplomacy and the Communicator Pope

Russia defies the Pope, and the world, on Ukraine

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When Pope Francis spoke about Ukraine at the Sunday Angelus on 2 March, he called for all Ukrainians to overcome misunderstandings and to build the future of the nation together and made “a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative on behalf of dialogue and concord”. Regrettably, there is one country in the international community that appears to have no intention of promoting dialogue and concord. That … Read more »Russia defies the Pope, and the world, on Ukraine

Voices of Women

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The following is a guest blog by Simona Prete, Head of Communications at the British Embassy to the Holy See Empowerment, aspirations, voice, faith, women, church, end violence, are words which have been inspiring 2014 International Women’s Day across the world.  A poignant moment in which women’s voices were listened to; and their role, their experience as women of faith as well in the society became visible. Sister Eugenia Bonetti, … Read more »Voices of Women

What do governments talk to the Holy See about?

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I hope that regular readers of this blog will already know the answer to this question. As Ambassador to the Holy See, I find myself engaging with the Holy See on a wide range of issues covering British foreign policy priorities and Holy See concerns, across our respective global networks. Perhaps a couple of examples from this week, during which we have two senior official visitors in town,  will help … Read more »What do governments talk to the Holy See about?

The Consistory: Global and Local

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If anyone doubts the global nature of the Roman Catholic Church, they had only to attend the Consistory on 22 and 23 February, when Pope Francis created 19 new Cardinals from the senior bishops around the world. The 16 ‘working’ Cardinals in Pope Francis’s first list now take their part amongst the 120 or so Cardinal-electors in the Sacred College of Cardinals, which represents the principal body of senior advisors … Read more »The Consistory: Global and Local

Religion, Violence and Sectarianism

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Baroness Warsi is the first ever British Minister for Faith in a British government. She is also Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In both roles, at home and abroad, and with the strong support of the Prime Minister, she has made religious freedom a personal priority: promoting and protecting people’s right to hold a faith, manifest their faith, or indeed to change their faith. She … Read more »Religion, Violence and Sectarianism

The Legacy of Benedict XVI

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Much is likely to be written over the next few days about the legacy of Pope Benedict, a year since he announced he would be stepping down from office. No doubt many will be ready with their “compare and contrast” pieces, setting up one Pope against the other. Whatever we think of that approach, I think we can safely leave that to the media. I want to flag up a … Read more »The Legacy of Benedict XVI