HomeNewsPhilippines, Holy See mark 70 years of diplomatic relations

Philippines, Holy See mark 70 years of diplomatic relations

On April 8, 1951, the Philippines and the Vatican signed a treaty establishing formal relations

The Philippines and the Holy See marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states on Thursday, April 8.

The anniversary celebration was held online with some top diplomats and Church officials in attendance due to the prevailing pandemic.

Grace Relucio-Princesa, outgoing Philippine ambassador to the Holy See, assured the government’s continued partnership with the Church because “there’s really room for engagement.”

“Let the Philippine Embassy in the Vatican start this: diplomacy for humanity, diplomacy for the common good, and one of this is migration,” said Princesa.

On April 8, 1951, during the term of Philippine President Elpidio Quirino, representatives of the Philippine government and the Vatican signed a treaty establishing formal ties.

The agreement raised the Apostolic Delegation to the Philippines to the status of Nunciature with Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi as the first Apostolic Nuncio on April 9, 1951.

Through the Nunciature, the Holy See is able to facilitate dialogue with civil authorities, foster contacts with local Churches, and maintain presence in international life.

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The first Philippine ambassador to the Holy See was Manuel Moran, who presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1951.

There were already four papal visits to the Philippines: the 1970 visit by Pope Paul VI, the visits of Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995, and Pope Francis’ visit in 2015.

This year’s celebration was highlighted by a webinar titled “70 years of Philippine-Holy See bilateral relations: Reflections on the Filipino religious diaspora, and its impact on the overseas Filipino diaspora and the contribution of the Church towards their social-pastoral care.”

Among the church leaders who attended the online event were Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines; Cardinal Jose Advincula, archbishop-elect of Manila; and Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

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