UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. speaks during the virtual lecture, “An Overview of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Holy See and the Philippines,” organized by the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila in collaboration with UST on Nov. 18.

THE UNIVERSITY is a witness to the long-standing relations between the Holy See and the Philippines, UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P said during the webinar marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two states last Nov. 18.

“The unity between the Philippines and the Vatican is the assurance of the Pope to be with us [and] accompany us in our historical quest for the spiritual order of society,” Ang said. “The Holy See has always been our companion in our history.”

UST was made a pontifical university by Pope Leo XIII in 1902, which means it is allowed to grant ecclesiastical or Vatican-approved degrees in philosophy, theology and canon law.

Pope Pius XII then bestowed upon it the title of “The Catholic University of the Philippines” in 1947.

The University was visited by three popes: Pope St. Paul VI in 1970, Pope St. John Paul II in 1981 and 1985, and Pope Francis in 2015.

“As our country embarks on another national [and] historical event, may this celebration of friendship in the Philippines Holy See diplomatic relations remind us of our filial relationship with the Holy Father and inspire us to commit always to the will of God and rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as we decide through democratic means the future and destiny of our country,” Ang said.

The apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown, said that to ensure a bright spiritual future, the country must preserve its families by “bringing about a culture of integrity – one which honors goodness, truthfulness, fidelity and solidarity as the firm foundation and the moral glue which holds society together.”

“With these noble sentiments resonating in our minds and hearts we thank the Almighty God for 70 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Holy See,” Brown said. “We recommit ourselves to the strengthening and solidification of those relations in our present time.”

UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said the Vatican and the Philippines remained firm in their mission and partnership in bringing Christian education to the youth.

“Vatican City and the Philippines may be half of the world’s circumference apart, but we have the same mission and partnership in bringing Christian education to our youth,” Coronel said. 

“As we continue our history, the Holy See and UST attest to our daily encounter with the people. Therefore, the love story of the Holy See and UST becomes a potent witness of telling the world of God’s love,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that he hoped the Church could bring healing to individuals subjected to hate, discrimination and oppression.

“May we always strive to live by the shining tenets of our faith, and inspire each other and our people to stand in solidarity and fraternal love in the fight for global peace, justice and stability,” he said.

Locsin said the relationship between the Philippines and the Vatican was special as it was a connection between two Catholic states.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican secretary for relations with states, said the Holy See and the Philippines have continued to work together to “promote peace and the common good.”

Gallagher said he was elated at how Filipinos have remained steadfast in their faith despite hardships, adding that  Filipino faith was “unparalleled.” 

“I am aware of the constant yearning for a better life for themselves and their children. No one can underestimate the [h]ardships they undergo in places where they are present, but they always do so generously and with a smile on their face and faith in their heart,” he said. 

“May God help the Philippines to follow the path that has already begun today towards a continuing development that preserves and promotes the true value of Filipino culture,” he added.

Representatives of the Holy See signed a  treaty establishing diplomatic ties on April 8, 1951, during the term of President Elpidio Quirino. 

The agreement raised the Apostolic Delegation to the Philippines to the status of “Nunciature.” Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi became the first apostolic nuncio to the Philippines on April 9, 1951.

The establishment of the Nunciature allowed the Vatican to “facilitate dialogue with civil authorities, foster contacts with the local churches and maintain presence in international life.”

Former chief justice Manuel Moran was the first Philippine ambassador to the Holy See. He presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII on June 4, 1951.

The virtual lecture titled “An Overview of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Holy See and the Philippines” was organized by the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila in collaboration with UST. 

It coincided with the 500th year of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the population is Catholic. Allyssa Mae C. Cruz and Ma. Alena O. Castillo


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