Friday, August 6, 2010

UK ambassador highlights significance of events during papal visit

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comThe Holy Father's September visit "speaks of rapprochement" - that is, cordial relations - between the Vatican and the United Kingdom, explained that the nation's ambassador to Holy See. Speaking to CNA, he said that the "principal symbolic moment" on the schedule of the events, even for the state, is the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in the Birmingham.

U.K. ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Francis Campbell, is employed by the Foreign Office, which, he explained, "acts as a bridge" between the British prime minister's office at the Whitehall, the Holy See and its nunciature. Campbell's office ensures that the government is up-to-date on the Holy See's positions on the important issues, which at the moment includes providing advice for drafting the speeches and developing themes for the pending trip.

In the state's perspective, the Sept. 16-19 appointment is "a visit to the Church and to wider society," observed the ambassador. "This is our oldest diplomatic relationship," he said, recalling that state-to-state relations go back to the year 1479 when the papal envoy was sent by the British monarchy.

"It hasn't always been an easy relationship," he said, "and here is the Pope coming on a state visit as a guest of the Queen and there are some of the very poignant moments in that visit that speak of rapprochement, that don't say anything, but speak to it."

Ambassador Campbell cited an example of this in Pope Benedict's speech to 1,800 members of civil society in Westminster Hall, "the very same Hall where Thomas More was condemned to death."

In 1532, St. Thomas More resigned from his post as the Lord's Chancellor, unwilling to sign the the Act of Supremacy, in which the Henry VIII was to be recognized as the head of the church of the England. He was put in jail and later condemned to death for high treason, professing his belief during the trial in the indissolubility of marriage, the supremacy of the pope, and the inviolable freedom of the Church in her relation with the state.

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