Diplomatic relations between Canada and the Holy See were established 41years ago, in 1969. Our relations date back even further, to 1899 when the Holy See established its first representation in Canada in the form of an Apostolic Delegation.
Located territorially in the small Vatican City State, an enclave in the city of Rome, the Holy See is at the heart of a worldwide community of 1.146 billion Catholics (source: Statistical Yearbook of the Church, published in 2009) . The 14.3 million Catholics in Canada are the country’s largest faith community, representing 43% of the population.
The Holy See’s diplomatic history goes back to year 453; today it maintains full diplomatic relations with 178 countries. The Holy See is also represented in all the major international and regional intergovernmental organizations, e.g. the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Through its Embassy to the Holy See, Canada benefits from the perspective of an important international player, both at the regional level and on global issues. The Holy See has, for example, been at the forefront of intercultural and interreligious dialogue at a time when religions have re-emerged as an important dimension in relations between states.
Canadian Embassy to the Holy See also advocates Canadian foreign policy interests as well as its societal values. Justice and peace, along with respect for the dignity of all human beings and for our environment are goals that we pursue together. Canada and the Holy See have a long tradition of promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Holy See was particularly helpful in securing international support for the “Convention on the Prohibition on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction”, also known as the Ottawa Convention. Canada and the Holy See worked closely together in recent years in support of peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Canada’s advocacy for reform in international financial and economic systems finds an echo in the Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate. This shared interest was a subject of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s meeting with the Pope, on July 11, 2009, at the Vatican.
On October 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Brother André, who thus became Canada’s second native born Saint. Thousands of Canadians attended the canonization mass at the Vatican where Canada was officially represented by a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.
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