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Statement: Dame Shirley Williams "a great political figure with deep integrity, conviction, and principled belief"

13 April 2021

On hearing the sad news of Dame Shirley Williams death, CAFOD, Director, Christine Allen, said: 

 "We are saddened to hear the news of the death of Dame Shirley Williams. 

She was a great political figure with deep integrity, conviction, and principled belief, whose Catholic faith was important to her in shaping her political and public life. One of the leading politicians of her generation she was formidable debater. 

"In keeping with her commitment to internationalism, it is no surprise that she had a long-standing relationship with CAFOD.

" She was always the voice of encouragement for CAFOD partner organisations. In 2002, she met with Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, Director of Caritas Colombia, in Westminster,  where he told her about the devastating impact the country's civil war was having on people's lives.

"Dame Shirley was part of a group of Parliamentarians who pushed for Archbishop Oscar Romero to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. 

" In 2009 she gave the CAFOD Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture, entitled " Capitalism, Catholicism and community: Harmony or dissonance?"  

She explored in her lecture how the world economic crisis may mark the end of liberalised capitalism - and what insights the Christian community can offer in ways to further the aims of social justice.  Given some of the current debates, it is clear that the insight from Catholic Social Teaching stands the test of time.

" She will be greatly missed."