Foreign Secretary William Hague hosted a dinner on 17 September for the Holy See delegation accompanying Pope Benedict XVI on his official visit to the UK, headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, H.E. Cardinal Bertone. Those present included a number of senior British Government Ministers and senior officials from the Holy See. The discussion covered a range of areas of shared interest between the UK Government and the Holy See.
Her Majesty’s Government and the Holy See share a commitment to bringing an end to poverty and underdevelopment. On the eve of a summit in New York to review progress towards implementing the Millennium Development Goals, they share the conviction that more needs to be done to address the unnecessary suffering caused by hunger, disease and illiteracy. Strong political leadership and respect for the ethos of local communities are necessary in the promotion of the right to life, food, health and development for all.
The British Government and the Holy See share a conviction of the urgent need for action to address the challenge of climate change. Action is needed at every level from the governmental to the individual if we are to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to set in motion the transition to a global low-carbon economy, and to assist poor and vulnerable countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already inevitable.
There was a good exchange of views on a variety of social and economic issues, recognising the role played by faith in the lives of individuals and as part of the fabric of a strong, generous, tolerant society.
The visit of Pope Benedict XVI provided the opportunity to develop a deeper exchange of views between the Holy See and the UK Government. Tonight’s discussion provided a useful basis for both sides to continue to pursue initiatives and discussions on areas of common interest to the UK and the Holy See.