6 May 2009

Ambassador calls for a return of religion to policy at Newman Society

From The Catholic Herald

The British Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell, delivered a major lecture "Faith and Foreign Policy: a perspective from the Vatican" at Blackfriars, Oxford University, on May 14 as part of the Thomas More lecture series.

Mr Campbell argued that for much of the 20th century religion was ignored in foreign policy. He said: "How do we arrive at a situation where foreign policy is better equipped to deal with religion? It must start with two things. First, we must sensitise ourselves to a world in which religion is alive and well; not the world in which some might feel more comfortable. Secondly, we must begin to see religion as much as a source of healing as it is now seen as a source of division."

Religion was perceived as a threat because of its association with terrorism and "a major challenge" was to bring back a "more balanced perspective", he said, and see religion as much as a vehicle for peace and as helping to resolve conflicts.

Religion mattered in foreign policy and has never gone away, he said, but "rather it was the dominant western perspective that was too narrow and deterministic".

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