As part of her civil society consultation process, Anne Eastwood decided to use the first few months following her appointment to meet with representatives of Monaco's various religious communities.
In doing so, the new Monegasque High Commissioner intended to demonstrate the importance of the spiritual and human values of these authorities in the exercise of her duties, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic Church, which has long played an important role in the day-to-day lives of Monaco's citizens and residents.
This process reflects a key characteristic of the Principality, where the Catholic Church is the official State religion (article 9 of the Constitution), but where freedom of religion is enshrined in the fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution (article 23 of the Constitution).
This series of amicable meetings highlighted the harmonious manner in which different communities co-exist in Monaco. This culture of tolerance and respect for diversity is reflected in the broad religious education curriculum delivered at public educational institutions in the Principality, alongside the compulsory Catholic education taught in schools.
At individual level, these discussions also revealed the important role that places of worship play in the day-to-day lives of the population. Although the Principality provides a generous and welcoming environment for its population, the religious representatives have encountered situations in which people with personal difficulties have turned to them for help. These meetings revealed how the High Commissioner can help to resolve difficult situations facing people in distress, especially those involving the administration.
Diary of meetings:
- 15 June 2014: Meeting with Mr Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco.
- 8 July 2014: Meeting with Rabbi Daniel Torgmant and Mr Mikhal Amsellem, President of the Jewish Worship Association of Monaco.
- 16 July 2014: Meeting with Reverend Walter Raymond, Chaplain of the Anglican Church of Monaco.
- 18 September 2014: Meeting with Mr Didier Meyer, Pastor of the Reformed Church of Monaco.