UK parliamentarians strengthen ties with Holy See during three-day Rome visit

A group of parliamentarians visited the Vatican this week as part of a delegation from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Holy See. The group were hosted by the UK Ambassador to the Holy See, Chris Trott, for a three-day visit which included an audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday 15th May.

Catholic Union Vice President, Alexander Stafford MP, and former President, Sir Edward Leigh MP, were among the MPs in the delegation. Mr Stafford is also Chair of the APPG on the Holy See.

The visit included meetings with two senior British members of the Roman curia – Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, and Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect for the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The delegation also met Sr Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary International Union of Superiors General, and Sr Nathalie Becquart from the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

The APPG on the Holy See was set up in 2004 by a group of parliamentarians, including the late Sir David Amess, to foster relations between the UK and the Vatican. It is a cross-party group with members from both Houses of Parliament. The Catholic Union formally became the secretariat for the APPG at the group’s AGM earlier this year.

There have been regular visits from the APPG to Rome during the past 20 years, the previous one being in September 2022. This year’s visit will be the last one of this Parliament with the General Election expected sometime later this year.

“It was an honour to lead the most recent delegation of UK parliamentarians to the Vatican,” said Catholic Union Vice President, Alexander Stafford.

“From human trafficking to ending conflicts around the world, there are many areas where the UK and the Holy See find common cause. Strengthening relations with the Holy See is particularly important for the 4.5 million Catholics in Britain. It was encouraging to see British clergy and lay people shaping the work of the Church in so many areas. I look forward to continuing this work back home as Chair of the APPG on the Holy See.”


Pic: Ambassador Chris Trott (centre) with MPs Sir Edward Leigh, Alexander Stafford and Therese Coffey, with representatives from the International Union of Superiors General.