Monsignor Antonio Mennini and Massimo Franco discuss how the Vatican is steering a new foreign-policy course to extend its soft power globally. What are the Holy See’s objectives and interests and how is it choosing to assert these diplomatically? 

Pope Francis, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, will visit Cuba in September before his trip to the United States amid the normalisation of ties between the two countries. Meanwhile, The Vatican has sought to leverage its ties with Russia to lend its support to the ‘Minsk 2.0’ agreement between Russia and Ukraine. Prior to that, in 2013 Vatican diplomacy was instrumental in clearing the way for the US–Russian agreement on disarming Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpiles.  

Antonio Mennini is a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Nuncio to the United Kingdom since December 2010. After obtaining the degree of Doctor of Theology, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1981, serving in the Pontifical Representations in Uganda and Turkey. He has since served as Nuncio to Bulgaria (2000–2002), Russia (2002–2010) and concurrently Uzbekistan (2008–2010). In 2011, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev awarded him the Order of Friendship for his contribution to the development of full diplomatic relations between Russia and the Vatican.  

Massimo Franco is an author and political columnist for Corriere della Sera and author, most recently, of The Vatican According to Francis (2014) and La crisi dell’impero vaticano, perché la Chiesa è diventata un imputato globale (2013) – The Crisis of The Vatican Empire: Why the Catholic Church has Become The Accused Worldwide – a bestseller in Italy.

This meeting was chaired by Adam Ward, Director of Studies of the IISS. It took place in Council Room at Arundel House*, 13-15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX.

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Event details

Discussion Meeting
Antonio Mennini,
Apostolic Nuncio to the Court of St. James's
Massimo Franco,
Author and political columnist, Corriere della Sera
Arundel House, London
Tuesday 12 May 2015