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Sweden's ambassador explains catholicism in Stockholm

2012-07-08

ULLA GUDMUNDSON
Sweden's Ambassador to the Holy See

"When people ask me how many staff do you have, I usually respond, 'Well I come here as did St. Peter with one secretary, but look what became of that', with a gesture towards St. Peter's Basilica.”

Her staff may be small, but her projects are not. She is a contributing writer to the Vaticans newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. In addition to cultural events, she has also organized discussion forums in Rome and in Sweden on issues like inter-religious dialogue and debates between believers and non-believers.

It's topics like these, she says, that are of special interest to the Pope, especially because of the crisis of faith in Europe and the instability in the Middle East.

The majority of Sweden is Lutheran. Only about 2 percent is Catholic. When it comes to the Church, she says a lot of people only know about what the Catholic Church opposes, but seldom what it supports.

ULLA GUDMUNDSON
Sweden's Ambassador to the Holy See

"Disarmament, fighting poverty, defense of human rights.”

The ambassador actually went to Cuba, during the Pope's recent trip to the island. She says, it's just another way to learn about the impact the Holy See has, not just in Europe, but globally.

ULLA GUDMUNDSON
Sweden's Ambassador to the Holy See

"Of course the Catholic Church in Cuba, is I think the only organized social force outside the Communist Party, so the Church can play an important role as a stabilizing factor in the transition, which is a role that the Church really wants to play.”

After the Reformation, Sweden broke off diplomatic relations with the Holy See, but in 1982, the relationship was re-established. Since 2008, Gudmundson has served as the ambassador of Sweden to the Vatican and the Republic of Malta.


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