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Posts tagged ‘Faith’

Sayeeda Warsi Ebor Lecture 2012



Thank you very much for inviting me.

Giving the Ebor Lecture is very significant for me.

Not only because I’m Yorkshire born and bred.

But because I have spent my governmental career arguing on your very theme:

The growing need for faith to interact with public issues in today’s society.

It started with a speech in 2010 when I declared that our government would make a clean break with the past administration and would do God’.

Since then many have pointed out that, as a Cabinet Minister without Portfolio, I have assigned myself the portfolio of faith…

Even His Holiness Pope Benedict referred to me during his 2010 UK visit as the Minister for God!

Exactly one month ago today I led our country’s reciprocal visit to the Vatican.

It was our largest ever ministerial delegation to the Holy See.

As I walked through a sun-drenched St Peter’s Square with the Archbishop of Westminster it was a very special moment. 

Knowing that he a Catholic, me a Muslim, and many of my colleagues were united in a common aim:

To demonstrate the importance of faith and the important links between our respective beliefs.

When I then spoke at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy there I wanted to make one simple point:

That Europe needs to feel stronger and more confident in its Christianity.

That you simply cannot erase Christianity from our heritage any more than you can erase the spires from our landscapes.

And that this firm basis creates a space for people of minority faiths.

I wanted that point to ring out beyond the Vatican walls.

To be heard far away where states were repressing religion.

To be heard closer to home where secularism was squeezing out faith…

…perpetuated both by the well-intentioned who want to create a level playing field for all beliefs by diminishing faith…

…and by those ideologically opposed to faith altogether. 

 In the month since I made that argument, it has started quite an interesting debate.  

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Photographs of day one visiting the Holy See

Copyright UK in Holy See

The Delegation of Ministers from the Government of the United Kingdom pictured in St Peter’s Square, marking the official start of a two day visit to the Holy See. The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, accompanied the Delegation.

Copyright UK in the Holy See

Baroness Warsi pictured during her speech, delivered to the Holy See on the subject of the place of religion in modern political discourse.

Copyright UK in the Holy See

Baroness Warsi’s address to students and diplomats of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy was the first element of the UK Ministerial Delegation’s visit to the Holy See.

Copyright UK in Holy See

Sayeeda Warsi: We stand side by side with the Pope in fighting for faith

Published in The Telegraph, Tuesday 14th February 2012

Today I have the honour of leading the largest ministerial delegation from the United Kingdom to the Vatican – our reciprocal visit following the momentous State Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010.

We will be celebrating the decision Margaret Thatcher took 30 years ago to restore full diplomatic relations between our countries. The relationship between the UK and the Holy See is our oldest diplomatic relationship, first established in 1479. And today, thanks to the great success of the Pope’s visit, it is one of the strongest too.

But this trip is about more than a Valentine’s Day “love in” with our Catholic neighbours. This is about recognising the deep and intrinsic role of faith here in Britain and overseas. For a number of years I have been saying that we need to have a better understanding of faith in our country. Why? Because I profoundly believe that faith has a vital and important role to play in modern society. But mistakenly, faith has been neglected, undermined – and yes, even attacked – by governments in recent years.

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Sayeeda Warsi: University of Leicester Sir Sigmund Sternberg lecture

Speaking at the University of Leicester Sayeeda Warsi said:

(Please check against delivery)

Back in September I made a speech about faith at the Bishops Conference.

It was the first time that a Cabinet Minister had spoken so frankly about faith for many years.

I think it’s fair to say that the speech caused a bit of a stir in some quarters.

The New Humanist Magazine ran a poll of their readers which ranked me the fifth most dangerous enemy of reason last year.

I was about to think that actually, I hadn’t done too badly, when I discovered that the Koran-burning Pastor, Terry Jones, came one place below me!

But overall I believe the impact of the speech was really positive.

And the main thing I discovered by doing the speech was that there is a large, untapped appetite for a more mature discussion of faith in this country.

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Baroness Warsi speaks to the Bishops of the Church of England

I am having a divine week. First, I celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr. Last night I was at dinner with the Chief Rabbi, who has just marked the Jewish New Year. Today I am delighted to be here with you, the Bishops of the Church of England. And on Friday I will be meeting His Holiness the Pope.

So if anyone suggests that this government does not understand, does not appreciate, does not defend people of faith, dare I even say, does not “do God”, then I hope my schedule this week will go some way to banishing that myth.

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Faith Lectures at the University of Bradford

Sayeeda today delivered a lecture on Faith at the University of Bradford.

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