Loading
By Catholic News Agency's Vatican Observer, Andrea Gagliarducci
Irish Vatican embassy reopening may mean new diplomacy
A Celtic cross on the hill at Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland. Credit: Tom Haymes (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
A Celtic cross on the hill at Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland. Credit: Tom Haymes (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Ireland's decision to re-open its embassy at the Vatican may be part of a changing climate of diplomacy at the Holy See observed by a professor of international relations.

“Going back to Pope Francis’ election and the variety of statements in December and January … all point to a set of new emphases for the future – human trafficking, small arms, (and) Syria,” Scott Thomas, senior lecturer of international relations at the University of Bath told CNA Jan. 27.

Thomas cited the Holy See's position during the Geneva II peace talks on Syria; Pope Francis' address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See; and the recent meeting between the Vatican and U.S. secretaries of state.

A. Alexander Stummvoll, a postdoctoral fellow for the Millennium Nucleus for the Study of States and Democracy in Latin America, explained in a paper for the Canadian International Council that with Pope Francis “we are seeing a new role shift in which ‘comforter of the afflicted’ becomes the dominant role and conceptions such as mercy, social justice, and solidarity are the emerging priorities.”

This last shift may have been decisive in leading the Irish government to re-open its embassy to the Vatican.

The Irish government chose to re-open the embassy Jan. 21; it had been closed in November 2011, ostensibly for economic motives.

"This will enable Ireland to engage directly with the leadership of Pope Francis on the issues of poverty eradication, hunger, and human rights," stated the Irish foreign affairs department.

Irish minister for foreign affairs, Eamon Gilmore, said, “Our aim is to complement the work and global presence of our state agencies as we continue to win new business for Ireland.”

According to Thomas, “this comment sounds very commercial – emerging and established markets – but clearly the moral and ethical context and dimension of those markets is important after the financial crisis, and Ireland would not want to be seen as wrong-footed, on the wrong side of these arguments.”

Thomas also added that “the Irish decision is also part of a domestic policy. The country is rooted in the Labour Party’s constituency, but it also has the larger dimension of Irish political culture as a Catholic country.”

A bond has been found, he said, in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, “which makes clear exactly the moral context for capitalism to operate effectively, that is, the efficiency of markets is dependent on open and free information, and trust is the basis for the alleged efficiency of markets. And this is part of a common argument and critique of capitalism which Francis shares with some socialists.”

Stummvoll described the evolution of the Holy See's diplomatic role during the last century, saying that  “Pius XII cast the Vatican as a cold warrior in the early cold war period; under Pope John XXIII, Paul VI and in the first half of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Vatican assumed the posture of an independent prophet that was increasingly critical of both east and west. In the second half of the pontificate of John Paul II and under Benedict XVI, the cold war having ended, the Vatican began to assume the role of a cultural warrior.”

Stummvoll maintains that under Pope Francis, the focus will be on the Church as “comforter of the afflicted.”

The 2011 closing of the Irish embassy was justified for economic reasons; Ireland retained an ambassador to the Vatican, though he was non-resident.

In a period of financial turmoil, economy might be a perfect reason to take such a step.

This had happened to the Vatican in 1867, when the U.S., retaliating for Pius IX's perceived support for the Confederate States of America, cut off funding to the Vatican legation.

The closure of the Irish embassy to the Holy See has been seen in the context of a deterioration in relations between Rome and Dublin since the publication of the Murphy Report in November 2009, but Pope Francis' efforts seem to have brought again to the forefront the Vatican's diplomatic efforts.

This may be a reason why Ireland wants to be among the states with a “privileged” relation with the Holy See.

“If the U.S. and other great powers see the advantage of relations with the Holy See, certainly Ireland can benefit,” Thomas said.

“I would imagine in the beginning this could be anti-clerical, given the situation facing the Irish Church, but the longer view … does relate to the prestige of Vatican diplomacy and the history of the Church 's influence in the Middle East.”

Tags: Church in Ireland

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

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
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
Nov
24

Liturgical Calendar

November 24, 2014

Sa int Andrew D?ng - L?c, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:1-4

Gospel
Date
11/24/14
11/23/14
11/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 14: 1-3, 4B-5
Gospel:: Lk 21: 1-4

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/24/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:1-4

Homily
Date
11/24/14
11/21/14
11/20/14