Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, has said he hopes that “one day” the Pope will visit Britain to build on the “good result” of Benedict XVI’s trip four years ago.
The cardinal was speaking to Vatican Radio after celebrating a Mass to mark 100 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Britain and the Holy See.
The cardinal celebrated the Mass at the Basilica St Paul Outside the Walls. Attending were Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the papal nuncio to Britain, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Vatican congregation for liturgy.
Britain and the Holy See established formal relations following the outbreak of the First World War. Relations had been severed by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, though envoys were exchanged in an informal sense at the end of the 18th century amid anxiety about the effects of the French Revolution.
In an interview with Vatican Radio Cardinal Parolin said it was a “very important anniversary”, adding that it was “very important to dialogue, to have a channel of communication to look after the important problems of the world and to try to find solutions to them”.
Asked about Euroscepticism in Britain, Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis’s trip to Strasbourg was intended to “stress the importance of the European project”.
On the subject of a possible papal visit Cardinal Parolin said the Pope’s attention was first focused on Asia and Africa and, with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year, on the United States.
He added: “So far there isn’t anything fixed for Great Britain. We hope that the Pope one day can visit also Great Britain and renew the good result that came from the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.”