LONDON, APRIL 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Twenty-nine years ago today, Sir Mark Heath presented his letters of credence to Pope John Paul II as envoy extraordinary and ambassador plenipotentiary to the Holy See.
April 1, 1982, was thus the day of restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See, after a break of some 423 years.
The following day, L’Osservatore Romano’s front page spread reported the event.
The U.K.’s diplomatic representation to the Holy See was raised again to full ambassadorial level, while the status of the apostolic delegation in London was raised to that of apostolic nunciature.
In his address to Heath, John Paul II said: “The presentation of your Letters of Credence today, together with the accreditation of the first Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the Court of St. James’s, marks an historic moment in the relations between the Holy See and Britain.
“It serves as a sign of the understanding and good will which characterize our diplomatic ties, and it affords a basis for expecting still closer collaboration in the future.”