Loading
Decision to move US embassy to Vatican sparks controversy
St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican flag.
St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican flag.

.- The relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has come under fire from past U.S. ambassadors who say the move will diminish its influence, though State Department officials defend the decision as good for security.

Former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See James Nicholson said the embassy’s planned move to the grounds of the U.S. Embassy to Italy is “another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican – and to Christians in the Middle East.”

“This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East,” Nicholson told CatholicVote.org. “This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”

Nicholson, who served as ambassador from 2001-2005 under President George W. Bush, said that the State Department has sought for years to relocate the embassy.

“It came up when I was an ambassador. I explained the folly of this and it went away. But now they seem determined to do this,” he said.

The U.S. did not establish full diplomatic relations with the Vatican until 1984, in part because of anti-Catholic sentiment.

The U.S. embassy to the Vatican is presently outside Vatican City in Rome. After its move, it will share a location with the U.S. Embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to U.N. Agencies in Rome.

Nicole Thompson of the State Department’s press relations office told CNA Nov. 26 that the relocation will take place in late 2014 or early 2015.

Thompson cited security as the primary motive for the move. Security was reviewed after an attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, killed the U.S. ambassador to the country. Thompson also said the move will save on operating costs.

“We reject any suggestion that this decision, made for security and administrative reasons, constitutes a downgrading of our relations with the Holy See,” she said.

Thompson said the State Department had discussed the move with Vatican officials who did not object to the move.

“The United States continues to regard the Holy See as a key bilateral partner in promoting religious freedom, protecting religious minorities, advancing humanitarian causes, and mitigating conflicts around the world,” Thompson said. “We look forward to continuing our high levels of engagement with the Holy See.”

However, the planned move has drawn criticism from former U.S. ambassadors Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn and Thomas Melady.

Ken Hackett, the present U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and his immediate predecessor Miguel Diaz, both Obama appointees, support the move, according to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

A senior State Department official stated during a Nov. 25 press conference call that the U.S. ambassador’s residence will not change its location. The official said the U.S. diplomatic presence will remain “one of the largest missions accredited to the Holy See” and diplomatic staff will not be reduced.

The official said the Vatican embassy’s new location will be in the same compound as the embassy to Italy, but it will have a separate building and separate entrances.

The Embassy to the Holy See on Nov. 27 rejected as “untrue” reports that the embassy would close.

Tags: Vatican, Vatican-US relations


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
21

Liturgical Calendar

August 21, 2014

Saint Pius X, Pope

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Gospel
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 36: 23-28
Gospel:: Mt 22: 1-14

Saint of the Day

Pope St. Pius X »

Saint
Date
08/19/14
08/17/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Homily
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: