Pope to get Catholic UK ambassador?

I heard an interesting story from a very well-placed Westminster source the other day. Apparently, Britain is about to appoint its first Catholic Ambassador to the Vatican since the Reformation.

The Foreign Office have refused to confirm or deny the story as there’s been no official announcement of the appointment yet.

Interestingly, a number of MPs have complained about the fact that the post wasn’t advertised in the Northern Ireland media.

However, if I understand correctly, that hasn’t prevented a successful application from that quarter.

Update 14/11/05: A few more details are emerging in the press.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will raise eyebrows in diplomatic circles this week when it announces a practising Irish Catholic in his mid-thirties is to be the new British ambassador to the Vatican. The appointment of Francis Campbell, 35, is a blow to socialite Carla Powell, a chum of the PM’s, who was in the running for the job. Campbell, a former foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair, will be the first Irishman to represent the UK abroad since the partition of Ireland in 1921. (The Observer)

"One of the most important things you want in an ambassador is direct access to the decision-makers in the home country," a Vatican diplomat said this week.

Ironically, this official said that a recent article in the London Daily Mail quoting criticism of Campbell’s appointment as an example of favoritism to "Tony’s cronies" actually impressed some in the Holy See.

"If he really is a Blair crony, it means he’ll have the ear of his boss," the official said. (National Catholic Reporter)

Update 15/11/05: The appointment has now been officially annnounced by the Foreign Office.






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