Baroness Berridge has met Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the Holy See to discuss freedom of religion or belief worldwide.
The chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief yesterday visited the Holy See to celebrate Mass at the Papal Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
During the visit, Baroness Berridge attended talks with senior Vatican officials and others from the Holy See network to discuss freedom of religion or belief and particularly the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East. She presented a letter to Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, respectfully appealing to His Holiness Pope Francis to convene a group of religious leaders around the issue of religion or belief.
Baroness Berridge said: “It was a real privilege to be part of this Mass to celebrate 100 years since the reinstatement of formal diplomatic relations between Britain and the Holy See. There are 1.2bn Catholics worldwide, equating to 17.5% of the world’s population, and the Holy See has diplomatic relations with 180 countries. This extraordinary reach makes the Holy See, with its global presence and interests, a unique diplomatic relationship.
“For me the highlight of this visit has been the opportunity to discuss our common interest in freedom of religion or belief across the world. I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to pass on a letter from the recently launched International Panel of Parliamentarians for freedom of religion or belief, which refers to the unique position of the Holy See to assemble a group of religious leaders that can change the trajectory of religious persecution and foster world peace.”