On Friday 30 March 2012, the British Embassy to the Holy See, in association with the Venerable English College, held a day of discussion and debate on: “Britain and the Holy See: a Celebration of 1982 and the Wider Relationship”.
The Colloquium celebrated the 30th anniversary of the upgrade of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See at ambassadorial level, as well as the 30th anniversary of Bl. Pope John Paul II’s pastoral visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.
In his opening remarks, the British Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker explained why 1982 was a red-letter year in the relationship between Britain and the Holy See, and why Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 could not have happened without Bl. Pope John Paul II’s decision to visit the United Kingdom in 1982. The Ambassador said: “1982 left a legacy that was fundamental to the striking and substantial strengthening of the relationship between Britain and the Holy See in recent years.”
The Colloquium, whose proceedings will be published in a special publication to mark the event, explored the legacy of 1982, what it means for the strong bilateral relationship we enjoy today, and the direction of our relations in the future. “ We look backwards to understand today and our tomorrows”, Ambassador Baker concluded.
Asked for his thoughts on the Colloquium by Peter Jennings, Press Secretary to the Archbishop of Birmingham, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said: “This was an excellent event and I am grateful to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for its support of this initiative. It showed British diplomacy at its best.” [..] “I believe that relations between the Holy See and the British Government are very positive. The recent visit to the Holy See of Her Majesty’s Government’s Delegation was a great success and demonstrated substantial areas of common interest in the service of the common good.”