British embassy holds colloquium on relations with Holy See

2012-03-30 Vatican Radio

On Friday March 30th 2012, the British Embassy to the Holy See sponsors a Colloquium in Rome celebrating three decades of full diplomatic relations. Entitled “Britain and the Holy See: a celebration of 1982 and the wider relationship”, the event marks the 30th anniversary of the upgrading of relations just ahead of Pope John Paul II’s historic pastoral visit to England, Scotland and Wales in May 1982. The Colloquium, hosted by the Venerable English College, includes Catholic and Anglican Church leaders from around Britain, as well as diplomats and historians, exploring the past, present and future of both ecumenical and diplomatic relations between the two states.
While the events of 1982 marked an important milestone on the road to post-Reformation reconciliation, the history of relations between Britain and the Holy See stretches much further back – in fact, the current British ambassador describes it as the oldest relationship that his government maintains with any state in the world. Ahead of the colloquium, Ambassador Nigel Baker talked to Philippa Hitchen about this colourful history and about shared contemporary concerns at the top of his agenda today….

"The first person commonly regarded as the English ambassador to the Holy See was John Sherwin, appointed by King Edward IV in 1479....

"As a historian, I'm a great believer that you can't understand your present, and you can't really work out your future if you don't understand your past....."

"I think the relationship is very broad and quite untapped in a lot of different areas...."