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Obama Administration Snubs Catholic Church With Vatican Embassy Downgrade

by Steven Ertelt | The Vatican | LifeNews.com | 11/26/13 11:45 AM

International

The Obama administration has offended the Catholic Church before by putting in place ambassadors who support abortion and flout the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church. Now, President Barack Obama is taking this further and launching what could be the first step in pushing the United Nations to remove the Holy See’s official status at the UN.

The Obama administration has decided that the free-standing American embassy to the Holy See will soon be closed, and the offices for the Ambassador to the Vatican will be moved inside of the U.S. Italian Embassy. The State Department claims the decision is a result of security reviews that followed the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi last year. Their review claims the current U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is no longer safe.

Brian Burch of CatholicVote, a pro-life group, doesn’t buy it.

“If their assessment is correct, then why not bolster security or simply move the Embassy to a new location instead of shutting it down? Are all ‘unsafe’ embassies being shut down too?” he asked in an email to LifeNews.

“Moving our Ambassador to the Vatican inside of our Italian Embassy sends a clear message: the diplomatic post doesn’t matter much to the United States,” he said.

Former Vatican Ambassador James Nicholson is also displeased with the Obama administration’s actions.

“It’s 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. 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,” he said. “The State Department has for a long time wanted to do this. 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. The perception is [with this action] that the United States is showing a lack of appreciation for the relevance of its diplomatic partner in the Vatican.”

Burch said this decision by the Obama administration takes a step backwards in relations with The Vatican that President Ronald Reagan first formed.

“Diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See suffered for generations because of rampant anti-Catholicism in our country. It took until 1984, twenty-four years after the election of a Catholic president, for President Ronald Reagan to officially create the first United States Ambassador to the Holy See,” he said. “President Reagan would quickly see the importance of the Holy See in international affairs. Reagan and Blessed Pope John Paul II formed a partnership that would lead to the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe.”

“And let’s not forget that the Pope regularly communicates with bishops from every country on the planet, and as a result is said to have the greatest foreign intelligence of any world leader. If anything, the United States should be working to grow its relationship with the Vatican — not insult us,” he said.

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Burch says the reason for the snub is anti-family groups hate the Vatican in part because of its opposition to abortion.

“On the international stage, the Vatican is a fierce proponent of religious freedom, the dignity of all human life, and the traditional family. And the Holy See has vigorously opposed the pro-abortion imperialism pushed by Planned Parenthood and others for decades,” he explained. “These radical pro-abortion groups have responded by launching a campaign called “See Change” calling for the removal of the Holy See as a member of the United Nations. It’s no secret they want the Vatican’s role in the world diminished, discredited, and ultimately disregarded. But sadly it seems the Obama administration is now doing their bidding, albeit quietly and carefully under the guise of a ‘security review.’”

He concluded: “Our Ambassador to the Vatican will remain in Rome for now. But he will be moved to what amounts to an annex of our Italian embassy.”