Cardinal Parolin celebrates 40 years of relations between UK and Holy See
By Lisa Zengarini
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Tuesday presided at a special Mass in the Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls to mark the 40th anniversary of the re-establishment of full Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. Concelebrating were Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, President and Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) respectively. Also attending the celebration were, amongst others, Cardinal Sean Brady, former Archbishop of Armagh and Catholic Primate of Ireland, and Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. and the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Christopher Trott.
In his homily Cardinal Parolin noted that this historic event marked “the point of arrival of a discrete and delicate work to re-establish a full exchange and fruitful collaboration” between Britain and the Holy See, “healing the wounds of the past”, while recalling that contacts between the Apostolic See and Great Britain go back centuries behind. “More recently - he added - even before the establishment of full diplomatic relations, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II paid various visits to the Supreme Pontiffs at the Vatican during her 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom and of the Commonwealth”.
Saint John Paul’s II Apostolic Journey to Britain
Cardinal Parolin further remarked that 1982 remains a “red-letter year” in their relations, also because of Saint John Paul’s II Apostolic Journey to Great Britain, which marked the first time in history a Bishop of Rome set foot on English soil.
He said that the words pronounced by the Pontiff during the arrival ceremony, highlighting the urgent need for reconciliation between nations and between peoples of different races and cultures, “are strikingly relevant today more than ever”.
The world needs peace
“The world indeed needs peace, reconciliation, justice, and solidarity”, he said recalling Pope Francis’ words during his address to the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See on the need to overcome the culture of indifference and isolation, and recover “our sense of shared identity as a single human family”.
The Vatican Secretary of State reiterated that, through its diplomatic activity, the Holy See “wants to engage with all people of good will in order to help humanity rediscover its most profound hopes and desires and address them in order to achieve what is desired, and what is hoped for, for its ‘material and spiritual well-being’”.
Cardinal concluded his homily with a call for ongoing prayers for peace as war continues to unfold in eastern Europe, recalling Pope Francis’ words in the Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine on 25 March.