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New nuncio to Britain seeks dialogue with non-believers

Archbishop Mennini speaks at the Mass of Welcome in his honour at Westminster Cathedral (Mazur/

The new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain has said he wants to further dialogue between Catholics and non-believers.

In an interview with The Catholic Herald, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Holy See’s new Ambassador to the Court of St James, said he hoped “not only to continue the sincere dialogue with the Anglican community but also dialogue with other religions and also non-believers in Great Britain”.

Speaking about the Pope’s message on faith in the public sphere, the nuncio said he believed “Christianity has already a role to play in British society, in dialogue with all sides, all the parties, with the believers and the non-believers”.

He said he would try to reach out to British society by visiting cultural institutions such as university groups “in order to establish a friendly dialogue about many of the issues which represent crucial questions and problems for many people”.

Archbishop Mennini, who was the Apostolic Nuncio to Russia and Uzbekistan before being assigned to London, presented his letter of credentials to the Queen at the beginning of the month and is due to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at the beginning of next month.

He is credited with improving the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

His comments came as Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, launched the Courtyard of the Gentiles project to foster dialogue between believers and non-believers. Cardinal Ravasi said that believers and non-believers might “stand on different ground, but they must not close themselves in a sacral or secular isolationism”.