A brief history of U.S.-Holy See Relations by Ambassador Jim Nicholson

Published in book form and reissued in 2004 by 30 Giorni Magazine

It was 1788 and the Pope, Pius VI, dispatched an emissary to Paris to meet with the diplomat just posted there from the new republic in North America, the United States. The diplomat was Benjamin Franklin, and the Pope’s request of him was short and simple: Would it be okay with President George Washington if the Pope named a bishop in the new land? Franklin dutifully queried President Washington, and word came back to tell the Pope he can appoint any bishop he wants for the United States, since that was what the revolution in the colonies was all about—freedom, to include religious freedom. The Pope promptly elevated Jesuit, Father John Carroll, to become America’s first Catholic bishop. The Pope has been naming the hierarchy of the Church in the United States ever since, unfettered by governmental interference. This Franklin encounter began a relationship that eventually led to full diplomatic relations, but not until 1984, one hundred and ninety six years later.

Some ask, why did it take so long? Others, why have it at all? Former Special Presidential Envoy, Henry Cabot Lodge, used to answer that question by telling a story. Lodge, who represented President Nixon at the Vatican, told about a friend of his, a Muslim diplomat at the Holy See. Mr. Lodge had asked his friend why his government thought it was worthwhile to maintain such a big mission at "a place which did not seem to concern him very much." The diplomat replied appropriately, "We don’t want to miss anything."[1]

After one year as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, I have seen a lot and hopefully not missed anything. The Vatican is a world beehive of ideas, information, intrigue, collaboration, and diplomatic activity. At our embassy we don’t sell trucks or issue visas, but through this small state with a global reach we work to solve the big problems of our time. Both our embassy and the Holy See look at the big picture; our common goals are broad in scope and often require long-term solutions. While the United States and the Holy See may sometimes disagree on the means to achieving these goals, we totally agree that the end-goal is freedom, peace, and opportunity. When our first ambassador, William A. Wilson, presented his credentials to Pope John Paul II in April 1984, he said, "The principles on which our republic was founded, and which continue to guide our national life, are principles which closely parallel those of the Holy See." And while it has undoubtedly been a long road to the full diplomatic relations we enjoy today, the edifice of today’s successful relations rests upon this foundation of common principles, shared values and spirit of goodwill.

It has taken us a long time to get to where we are today. We have not always had the dynamic and versatile relations we have currently. In the 18th century, the U.S. mission to the Holy See (the Papal States) was put in place primarily to protect U.S. merchant interests. Not long after the signing of the constitution, the United States began to recognize the need for American consular representation in Rome, which at the time was the capital of the Papal States. The first American consul to the Papal States was Giovanni Sartori, who was commissioned by President John Adams in 1797. Sartori was one of eleven consuls to represent American interests in Rome between 1797 and the fall of the Papal States in 1870.[2] Despite their status as consular representatives, the papal government granted what one consul described as "unusual privileges and favors." In fact, he continued, "They were received at all formal functions on the same footing with full diplomatic representatives of other nations."[3]

In addition to protecting commercial interests and looking after the needs of Americans abroad, the consular post offered a unique vantage point to report on the revolutionary instability spreading through Europe in the nineteenth century. In a cable from Consul Felix Cicognani to Washington in 1831, for example, Cicognani reported on the presence of Austrian troops in the Papal States and the tentative plans of Pope Gregory XVI to flee to Spain.[4] Rome was a nexus for collecting valuable information and it became clear that the legation to the Papal States was an excellent "listening post," not only for the Holy See but for all of Europe.

In June 1846, Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti was elected to the papacy taking the name Pius IX. Pius IX, or "Pio Nono" as he was called, was a figure judged by some historians to have been a doctrinaire reactionary. Pius’s election and subsequent liberal reforms initially enjoyed widespread popularity in the United States and were a driving force in the mid-nineteenth century movement to establish full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. To Americans in Rome, expanded relations seemed natural, but were still resisted by the American public and the United States Congress. By June of 1847, high-level Vatican officials were voicing their quiet support for the expansion of relations between the Holy See and the U.S. Ignoring his critics, President Polk elevated the position of the American officer from "Consul" to "Chargé d’Affaires." In his December 1847 address to the Congress, Polk said that he felt the recent events in the Papal States, namely the election of Pius IX, warranted the expansion of relations.[5] Although Polk’s remark occupied only one paragraph buried in a lengthy speech to Congress, it was a telling sign of the Polk administration’s receptivity towards a quiet invitation from Pius IX to full diplomatic relations.

On March 21, 1848, the United States Senate debated an appropriations bill provided funding for Polk’s chargé d’affaires at the Papal court. The arguments in favor of elevating the mission in Rome followed two lines of reasoning. Senator Lewis Cass, for instance, pleased with the support the Pope was showing for popular revolutions against corrupt government in Italy, argued in favor of sending a full ambassador to the Papal States on the grounds that the Holy See exerts a "moral temporal power." Cass hoped that stronger relations with the Holy See would strengthen Pius’ liberal reforms and contribute to the development of more democratic government in the Papal States. In his speech on the Senate floor, Cass proclaimed, "The eyes of Christendom are upon its sovereign. He has given the first blow to despotism—the first impetus to freedom. Much is expected of him…The diplomacy of Europe will find full employment at his court, and its ablest professors will be there. Our government ought to be represented there also."[6]

In support of Cass, Senator Edward Hannegan of Indiana voiced the need for relations because Rome served as an "emporium of the intelligence of Europe."[7] Similar to Cicognani’s notion of a "listening post," Hannegan’s understanding of the Roman legation would be echoed again when diplomatic relations were again called into question in 1867 and 1984.

The second major argument in favor of formal relations emphasized the commercial benefits of expanded contact with the Papal States, and its primary exponent was Senator John Dix of New York. Whereas other senators, even those in favor of sending a chargé to Rome, had conceded the commercial insignificance of the Papal States, Dix argued instead, "Not withstanding the depressed condition of the industry of the Papal states, there is no country capable of a more rich or varied production; and if the measures of reform now in progress shall be carried out, and the social as well as the political condition of the people be elevated by abrogation of bad laws, I know no State of the same magnitude which may hope for a high prosperity."[8]

Surprisingly, religious objections to the establishment of relations were hardly invoked during the debate of 1848. Only a few of those arguing against sending a chargé d’affaires to Rome claimed such a mission would serve to establish the Catholic Church in the United States. Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina, for example, remarked that he could find no significant reason to send a representative to Rome. He argued that "ours is a government which does not allow us to legislate for religion, and I am not willing indirectly to give countenance to a mission for religious considerations."[9] Senator Cass was, nevertheless, quick to make the important distinction that the United States would be sending a representative to the Pope in his capacity as a sovereign, not in his spiritual capacity as head of the Roman Catholic Church. This distinction made by Cass in 1848 is still one of the founding principles of the U.S. embassy to the Holy See.

Ultimately, the 1848 Senate appropriations bill passed and that same year President Polk designated Mr. Jacob L. Martin the first chargé d’affaires to the Papal Court. Although the United States had enjoyed official consular relations with the Papal States since 1779, by this act of 1848 the U.S. formally recognized the Holy See as a full member of the community of nations. But as Jacob Martin was preparing to head off to Rome, concerns over religious conflicts of interest lingered. Secretary of State James Buchanan explicitly instructed Martin to "carefully avoid even the appearance of interfering in ecclesiastical questions, whether these relate to the United States or any other portion of the world."[10] This point has been reiterated by almost every Secretary of State since.

Early in Martin’s tenure, a wave of nationalism spread through Italy following in the wake of a French revolution earlier that year. Martin was worried that the Roman revolutionaries, having aligned themselves with the American ideals of liberty and freedom would seek his support. Recognizing his obligations to the Holy See, he prudently decided that as minister to the Papal government, he could not offer support to Italian political factions.[11]

Jacob Martin died in Rome in June 1848 and was succeeded by Lewis Cass, Jr. (Senator Cass’s son) on January 6, 1849. At the time of Cass’ appointment, Pope Pius IX had been forced out of Rome by a revolutionary government. Soon papal loyalists were engaged in a fierce contest for power against revolutionary republicans.

Meanwhile, the year 1849 marked the first time a Pope set foot on American territory. The bizarre encounter occurred just after Pius IX had fled the revolutionary fervor of Rome for the safety of Gaeta. It seems that while there, he was visiting with King Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and the queen when U.S. chargé in Naples, John Rowan, paid a call at the palace. Around this time, it so happened that the U.S.S. Constitution had moored at the Gaeta harbor. King Ferdinand expressed a desire to visit the frigate and Rowan felt duty bound to also invite the Pope to come along for a visit.

The King and Pope were welcomed aboard by the skipper, Captain John Gwinn. Unbeknown to either head of state, Gwinn had been given a written order not to welcome the two men on board because they were both defending their thrones against revolutionaries, and the U.S. wanted to maintain its strict neutrality. In fact, the U.S.S. Constitution was not simply a symbol of the United States, but according to admiralty law, it was extraterritorial U.S. soil.

The Pope spent three hours on board visiting with sailors, dispensing rosaries to the Catholic crewmen, and even giving a benediction. The Pope eventually got seasick, was refreshed in the Captain’s quarters, and departed to a twenty-one gun salute. For his role in the incident, Captain Gwinn was court-martialed. Before the court-martial could be executed, however, Gwinn died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Pius IX returned to Rome in 1850 and lived to be the longest serving pope in history.[12]

Congress elevated the representative in Rome to the rank of Resident Minister in 1854, and in July 1858, John Stockton succeeded Cass as Resident Minister in Rome. Stockton, like Cass, inherited an uneasy political situation in Italy. The move toward unification was again gaining support among the people of Italy. Like Cass, John Stockton maintained the tradition of using his perch at the Holy See to report on the volatile political situation in Italy.

The next Ministers in Rome held office in brief succession. First, Rufus King, a prominent Republican and the former editor of a Milwaukee newspaper succeeded Stockton in April 1861. By August, however, a Brigadier-General in the federal army was appointed to replace Mr. King before Mr. King even had time to assume his post.[13] Soon, he too resigned. At the recommendation of King, who seemed to still be hovering about, Alexander W. Randall was appointed Resident Minister. Finding his wage to be too low and the protocol too stuffy, he also soon resigned.[14] Next, Richard M. Blatchford was appointed Chargé, but not wishing to be history’s odd man out, resigned by October 1863. Finally, the job returned to Rufus King, who stayed until the mission was closed in 1867.

Throughout this time of rotating legates in Rome, the political situation in Italy remained turbulent. In October 1863, King assumed his post in Rome and began his tenure as what would turn out to be the final U.S. Minister to the Papal States. King served at a time of challenge for both the United States, which was engulfed in civil war, and the Papal States, which was confronting growing challenges to the Holy See’s temporal authority.

One incident during this period greatly tried American and Papal relations. In 1863, during the thick of the American Civil War, Pius IX sent a letter to the Archbishops of New York and New Orleans suggesting that every effort be made for the cause of peace. Confederate President Jefferson Davis responded to this letter. Pius IX responded in turn to Davis, addressing him as the "Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America." To many in the North, this salutation was seen as a Papal recognition of the Confederate government. Vatican Secretary of State Giacomo Antonelli disputed this, insisting that the Pope in no way intended to make a political statement in his address to Mr. Davis.[15] Some Americans were satisfied with the Holy See’s claim of neutrality, but others retained a suspicion of the Holy See’s intentions. The Holy See would later have an opportunity to make amends.

In 1865, an American named John Surrat enlisted in the Papal army. Unknown to the Holy See, Mr. Surrat had been indicted with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. With the absence of an extradition treaty between the United States and the Papal States, the United States had limited legal leverage with the Papal government in its request to extradite Mr. Surrat back to the U.S. in order to face trial for his role in the assassination. The Papal government, however, was quick to demonstrate its goodwill, and detained Surrat until he could be handed over to American authorities. Rufus King wrote to Secretary of State William Seward that "this was done with the single purpose of showing the ready disposition of the Papal Authorities to comply with the anticipated request of the American Government."[16] This significant act of diplomatic courtesy reflected the cordial relationship that had been cultivated between the consuls and ministers of the United States and the Holy See, and the Holy See’s desire to retain good relations with the post-Civil War U.S. government.

But despite such gestures of friendship, opposition to the mission in Rome was mounting back in the United States. The critics finally won out in 1867 when Congress withdrew all funding for the legation in Rome. The apparent reason was a rumor relating to the religious freedom of Protestants in the Papal States. From the beginning of the legation in Rome, Papal authorities had allowed the celebration of Protestant religious services in the home of the American Minister. When the services grew, they were moved to a rented apartment under the seal of the American Legation to accommodate the participants. The news floating around Washington and being reported in the New York Times was that the Pope had forced the protestant group outside the walls of Rome. This, according to Rufus King, the American Minister himself, was untrue in its entirety.[17] By February of 1867, Mr. King sensed the seriousness of the rumor now running rampant in the United States. On the 18th of that month he wrote a cable to Secretary of State Seward in which he outlined, in his opinion, reasons the mission in Rome was essential to the diplomacy of the United States and why it was not advantageous at that point in time to close it. The next day, in a last attempt to discredit the rumor, King urgently cabled the State Department saying only, "No truth in reported closing of American chapel in Rome."[18]

Despite all of King’s efforts to maintain the mission in Rome, on February 28, 1867 Congress finally passed legislation that prohibited funding to any future United States diplomatic missions to the Holy See. Congress had not actually ended diplomatic relations, but had simply stopped funding the mission to the Holy See. Ultimately, however, the distinction would make little difference. In an ironic turn of events which King pointed out in a final cable to Secretary Seward in May, by pulling the American Minister from Rome the United States had, in essence, forced the American Protestant services outside of Rome, since the service could no longer be held under the sovereign seal of the American Legation.[19] In an even more confusing turn of events, Rufus King was left without instructions on how to explain his departure to Vatican officials. He left Rome without a letter of recall—the proper diplomatic note explaining the Minister’s departure. In fact, King wrote to Secretary Seward, "The Pope himself feels hurt by the hasty and apparently groundless action of Congress and thinks it an unkind and ungenerous return for the good will he has always manifested towards the American Government and People."[20]

In hindsight, the removal of funding for the mission in Rome was politically driven and had less to do with the rumor about the American chapel in Rome, than with Congress’ desire to deliver a political defeat to the newly inaugurated President, Andrew Johnson.[21] Still, religious prejudice likely contributed to the actions of Congress.

While the auspices under which the American Minister departed Rome were unfortunate, seventy years of consular and diplomatic exchange had proven fruitful. The post had been successful in its mission of protecting American citizens in the Papal States, in maintaining courteous relations with the Pope, and in reporting on the political situation in Europe. Nevertheless, American representation at the Holy See would remain only a memory until 1940.

From 1867 on, the U.S. enjoyed only the most informal and irregular contact with the Holy See, nevertheless, the interaction between the Holy See and the American hierarchy continued to grow. Throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, the American Church expanded in numbers, power, influence, and wealth. With the influx of immigrants from predominantly Catholic countries in the late 1800s, the United States became a country of such increasing importance that the Holy See had no desire to ignore it. During these years, the astute and politically conscious American bishops, archbishops, and cardinals maintained close ties to vital organs of our federal government, giving life to informal channels of diplomatic communication between the U.S. government and the Catholic Church.

In 1892, Pope Leo XIII appointed Archbishop Francesco Satolli to be the apostolic delegate to the American hierarchy. In order to minimize controversy and parry further public sentiments against the Church, a plan was devised by which Satolli would come to the United States under the pretext of representing the Pope at the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.[22] The Church’s reasons for sending a delegate to the U.S. had more to do with its desire to have in place a representative to mediate the appeals of priests against their bishops and settle problems over parochial schools than to have diplomatic relations with the United States government. Despite continuing controversy over Satolli’s presence in the U.S. (most of the criticism coming from the American hierarchy itself), he remained for some four years. Relations were further strained during World War I when Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore, representing the American hierarchy, struggled to promote peace in Europe all the while clashing with the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, a reserved man with sharp anti-Catholic tendencies.

In 1929 the Holy See and Italy signed the Lateran Treaty, effectively guaranteeing the sovereignty of the Vatican City State and the international personality of the Holy See. According to the treaty, "Italy recognizes full possession and exclusive and absolute power and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over the Vatican, as at present constituted," a geographic area of 108.7 acres. The treaty also affirmed the international personality of the Holy See and its right to enter into relations with other states. The Lateran Treaty did not immediately affect U.S.—Holy See relations but had important consequences for the future establishment of formal ties.

By the middle of the 1930s, the U.S. depression era, domestic issues of mutual concern to both the Catholic Church and the Roosevelt administration brought the powerful members of the government and Church hierarchies into a state of increasing collaboration. President Roosevelt’s crusade against unemployment, unfair labor practices, discrimination, and poverty were problems that the American Catholic hierarchy was also attempting to tackle with equal vigor. It was a relationship Roosevelt was more than happy to encourage.

Roosevelt found a devoted friend and supporter in the powerful George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago and a zealous social reformer. Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office were marked by the successful implementation of recovery programs designed to combat the Great Depression. Within months of Roosevelt’s sweeping acts of executive authority, Cardinal Mundelein wrote the president praising his "remarkable record of achievement."[23] This would prove to be the start of a long friendship between these two iconographic men.

As Roosevelt continued to enact his "New Deal" social programs, he won support from prominent prelates throughout the American Church, but also gained harsh and vocal critics among the clergy. A priest in the Diocese of Detroit named Charles Coughlin became a constant thorn in Roosevelt’s side. Coughlin was an early supporter of Roosevelt, who turned against him for what he perceived to be a failure of New Deal reforms. The criticism ultimately turned into paranoia as Coughlin repeatedly lambasted Roosevelt on his popular weekly radio program. Coughlin’s radio show boasted the largest syndication in the nation with nearly a third of the nation tuning in. He accused Roosevelt of Communist sympathies and denounced the government in tirades of anti-Semitism. Partly because of conflicts within the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, and partly because of Coughlin’s wild popularity, the American Church had a difficult time controlling the radio-priest. Meanwhile Coughlin was eroding Roosevelt’s political popularity.

Undeterred, Roosevelt pushed ahead with his New Deal reforms. The Catholic historian Gerald Fogarty has noted: "The similarity between Catholic social teaching and New Deal legislation forged one of the closest associations between the Church and the government since the days of Ireland and Gibbons in the 1890s."[24] The association found renewed energy in rising Catholic leaders like Francis Spellman, auxiliary bishop of Boston from 1932, and later Cardinal Archbishop of New York. In fact it was Spellman himself who coordinated the visit of Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli to the U.S. in the fall of 1936.

Spellman had grown to be a friend and protégé of Pacelli while serving a tour in Rome during the later half of the 1920s. Not surprisingly, it was Spellman, with the assistance of Joseph Kennedy, who arranged a meeting between Pacelli and Roosevelt at the end of the cardinal’s month-long tour of the nation. The two men met at the president’s mother’s home in Hyde Park, New York on November 6, the day after President Roosevelt’s reelection. Both men were figures of pronounced charisma and were reputed to have enjoyed each other’s company immensely.

We can only imagine that the topic of relations between their two countries came up more than once over the course of Pacelli’s stay. John Cornwell even suggests in a 1999 book on Pius XII that the two men reached "an unspoken quid pro quo" agreement to establish formal relations.[25] Cornwell claims that Roosevelt wanted Father Coughlin silenced in return for renewed diplomatic relations. Pacelli, in turn, is alleged to have desired diplomatic relations with the U.S. as an assurance of U.S. friendship in the face of Soviet encroachments into Eastern Europe.[26] While sources indicate that the subject of Coughlin did come up among senior prelates during Pacelli’s visit to the U.S., the notion that any quid pro quo agreement was made with diplomatic implications appear to be unfounded. Rather, the meeting between Pacelli and Roosevelt likely planted seeds of friendship and trust that would mature as Europe entered into war, with Pacelli assuming the Papacy.

Ultimately, Roosevelt’s affable relations with the leaders of the American hierarchy along with his growing trust in Pacelli combined to make diplomatic relations with the Holy See a viable, sensible, and attractive proposition. As German and Italian aggression began to mount in Europe, Roosevelt maintained a position of neutrality in an attempt to keep the U.S. out of war. His principal objective was a restoration of world peace, an end to which the Holy See was fully committed. Just as mutual interest in domestic issues of social welfare brought Roosevelt closer to the American Church hierarchy, a growing mutual concern for peace and European stability also drew him into closer liaison with the Holy See.[27] His already well-established friendship with American prelates having strong ties to Rome made the new relationship that much more efficacious.

Nevertheless, the growing awareness of humanitarian atrocities occurring in Europe soon made it clear that the U.S. would have to take a greater role in European affairs if peace was to be achieved. Both Roosevelt and the Holy See became increasingly interested in establishing diplomatic relations as a way to improve the flow of information between America and Europe and, more importantly, as a way to coordinate and strengthen relief programs for the victims of war-torn Europe.

When Pope Pius XI died in February, 1939, Cardinal Pacelli was elected to succeed him, taking the name Pius XII. Pacelli’s coronation took place on March 12, and President Roosevelt sent as his personal representative United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joseph Kennedy. This high-profile representative may very well have been a means to test public opinion towards diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Soon after Pius XII’s coronation, Bishop Spellman of Boston was promoted to the Archdiocese of New York, a post of international visibility and prestige. Because of Spellman’s close ties to Roosevelt and closer ties to Pius XII, he would become a critical instrument of communication between the United States government and the Holy See. His appointment was an unambiguous indication of the Vatican’s desire to increase dialogue with the Roosevelt administration.

By the summer of 1939, interest in renewing diplomatic relations with the Holy See was rising among some members of the U.S. political establishment. In July, Secretary of State Cordell Hull received a letter from Congressman Emanuel Celler, a Jewish representative from New York City, arguing for the restoration of diplomatic ties to the Holy See. In his letter Celler points out: "Events abroad indicate in no uncertain terms the great stake which religion must play in the preservation of democracy against the savage and merciless inroads of Fascism, Nazism and Communism." In a dramatic plea he insisted: "A reinstatement of relations with the Holy See would dramatically serve to recall to the world that intolerance and religious hatred and bigotry cannot flourish here. It would enkindle in our own hearts sympathy for the thousands of unfortunates who have been castigated, tortured, and ruined because of a dictator’s insane hate and venom." The letter goes on to praise the Holy See for always placing "a high value on justice and charity in relations among men and among nations." In particular, Celler applauds Pius XII and his efforts to comfort war-torn Europe, concluding, "Let us help him in his glorious mission of Peace by sending our delegate to him."[28]

It appears the letter prompted discussion within the State Department for on August 1, Under Secretary of State Sumner Wells sent a letter to President Roosevelt saying that he and Secretary Hull had discussed the "advantage which might be gained by this Government [of the United States] if we had direct diplomatic relations with the Vatican." Welles continued, "I think it is unquestionable that the Vatican has many sources of information, particularly with regard to what is actually going on in Germany, Italy, and Spain, which we do not possess."[29] Welles goes on to imply that the State Department would be well advised to pursue this information through diplomatic channels. In addition, Welles forwarded to Roosevelt a copy of Representative Celler’s letter in favor of restoring relations.

The idea of sending a representative to the Vatican began to gain ground, prompting Roosevelt to invite Archbishop Spellman to lunch on October 24 at the White House to discuss Vatican relations. Nevertheless, Roosevelt recognized that sending an ambassador to the Holy See was still controversial and would inevitably arouse opposition. He explained to Spellman that a mission to the Holy See would have to be humanitarian in character if it was to avoid controversy and political opposition. Roosevelt also expressed his desire to send not an ambassador, but a "personal representative," avoiding the problem of Senate confirmation. And since a special representative would be unpaid, the appointment would not conflict with the appropriations bill of 1867.

Spellman eagerly relayed Roosevelt’s message to the Cardinal Secretary of State Luigi Maglione. Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., Archbishop Amleto Cicognani responded, "The Holy Father has learned of the report with pleasure and hopes that Your Excellency as well as I will make opportune overtures to the President, that he may carry out his proposal."[30] Spellman believed that Cicognani’s letter was supportive but not emphatic enough. Spellman, in an act of considerable bravado, rewrote the letter and delivered it to Roosevelt. The letter read, "The Holy Father received with great satisfaction the information that the President desires to appoint a mission to the Holy See to assist in the solution of the refugee problem and to treat other matters of mutual interest…The Holy Father directs Your Excellency to convey to President Roosevelt an expression of deepest appreciation on his part and to say that he believes and prays that the resumption of relations between the United States and the Holy See will be most propitious, especially at the present time when both are making parallel endeavors for peace, the alleviation of sufferings, and other charitable and humanitarian purposes. You are further requested to represent to President Roosevelt that in the opinion of the Holy Father the proximate fulfillment of his gracious intention will be most conducive to the welfare of a world sadly torn by misunderstanding, malice and strife."

Sensing the time was right, the President moved quickly to appoint a special representative. On Christmas Eve, 1939 President Roosevelt sent a Christmas greeting to the Holy See sharing his hopes for peace and announcing the appointment of Myron C. Taylor as personal representative of the President to the Holy See. Pius XII received the news with pleasure. That evening the Pope announced the appointment to the Sacred College saying, "This news could not have made us more happy…"[31] Myron Taylor was a logical choice for the job. His Protestant faith mitigated any religious conflict of interest. He was also a prominent former chairman of US Steel Corporation with extensive professional and personal family ties to Italy.

For health reasons, Taylor delayed his trip to Rome until February of 1940. Before he left there was a controversy over the exact title and rank he would take with him. Twice Taylor had contacted the State Department complaining that his letter of appointment from the President contained no mention of his status as "ambassador" and that he "attached considerable importance to the mention of this."[32] The commission was soon changed to include the words "with rank of ambassador." Thus it was as special representative of the President of the United States to the Holy See with rank of ambassador that Taylor went off to Rome in February of 1940. But it was with the full ceremony reserved to an ambassador with which Taylor was received by the Vatican.

In a letter to Roosevelt just after the arrival of Taylor, Pius XII writes, "We confess to have been sensibly affected as We beheld before Us your own Representative come upon a noble mission of peace and healing…"[33] Taylor found himself in a challenging diplomatic environment. Prior to his departure, the President had charged him with a number of duties. Most dealt with the continuing effort to establish peace in Europe, others dealt with refugee problems and the care for prisoners of war. But Roosevelt also had religious objectives for the mission. Presidential meddling in religious affairs is something of a taboo and has been carefully avoided in all relations with the Holy See past and present. Nevertheless, Roosevelt had asked Taylor to seek Vatican support for the censorship of Father Coughlin. Moreover, Roosevelt went so far as to ask Taylor to convey his endorsement of Auxiliary Bishop Bernard Sheil of Chicago to fill the vacant see of Washington D.C. The Vatican apparently agreed to look into the matter of Coughlin but summarily dismissed Roosevelt’s notion that the President of the United States should have any input in the promotion of bishops.

Over the ensuing months Taylor served as a crucial intermediary between the President and the Pope as the U.S. fought unsuccessfully to keep Italy from entering the war. True to the humanitarian face Roosevelt had initially placed on the mission, Taylor worked closely with the Vatican to feed refugees streaming across the borders of Europe, provide material aid to the victims of war-torn Eastern Europe, and assist Allied prisoners of war. The mission became a clearinghouse for thousands of letters from American families eager for news that their loved ones were alive and well. But in less than a year after taking office, Taylor’s health deteriorated and he was compelled to return home.

While Taylor was regaining his health back in the States, the Vatican was still facing a political crisis with the imminent entry of Italy into the war. By April of 1941, Taylor had been away from his post for nearly six months. Letters suggest that even from the United States, Taylor continued to stay abreast of developments abroad. In April, French Ambassador, Wladimir Ormeston wrote Taylor lamenting the suffering endured by the French people and beseeching Taylor to do what he could to encourage Roosevelt to intervene in Europe. He says one of France’s greatest fears is that "the American people will not decide to get into in the war in reality until the war is lost." He goes on to say, "I have difficulty in understanding, I must confess, how the United States, which went into the 1917 war from such honorable motives, should still hesitate to make its maximum effort in this war…I assure you that it is not an idle phrase to say that civilization is at stake."[34]

In order to preserve regular diplomatic contact with the Holy See during Taylor’s absence, the State department appointed Harold H. Tittman, a counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rome to act as Assistant to the Personal Representative of the President of the United States to His Holiness the Pope. Tittman had been the de facto State Department observer of Vatican affairs since arriving in Rome as a secretary at the embassy to Italy and had acted as an assistant to Taylor in an informal capacity since Taylor’s appointment in 1940. Now he was to play a leading role in managing the United States’ ever more serious interests at the Holy See.

On December 11, 1941 Italy and Germany declared war on the United States. By this time Taylor was rested and ready to return to Italy, but with the US at war with Italy it was nearly impossible to get Taylor into the country. In a letter to the State Department President Roosevelt wrote, "I agree that it would be very useful for Myron Taylor to go back to the Vatican for two or three weeks. But how can we get him there?"[35] Tittman, meanwhile was still inside Italy keeping account of Vatican affairs. He and his family had fled to the interior confines of Vatican City where other diplomats accredited to the Holy See had already taken refuge. Tittman, however, was not accredited to the Holy See but merely the assistant to the representative of the President. The Holy See worried that providing asylum to Tittman, an unaccredited American, would be a provocation in the eyes of Mussolini’s government, which at any moment could discard the sovereignty promised the Holy See. According to Gerald Fogarty, "On December 16, Welles wrote Roosevelt noting that Hull supported the suggestion that Tittman be named Chargé d’Affaires because ‘it is of very great importance that Tittman remain in the Vatican City so that we may continue contact through him with the Holy See.’"[36]

Finally, in September of 1942, the U.S. was able to secure Myron Taylor safe passage back to Italy for a brief visit at the Holy See. Taylor reiterated America’s commitment to win complete victory over the Axis powers—a goal that did not correspond to the Holy See’s repeated calls for immediate cessation of hostilities. In a letter to the President, Taylor reported that he spoke "absolutely to convince the Pope and the Vatican authorities that we would prosecute the war until Hitler and Nazism were destroyed or made harmless."[37] Secretary Hull discussed his concern for the Vatican’s conciliatory tendencies in a memorandum to Taylor just prior to Taylor’s audience with the Pope. He wrote: "While in London…you may wish to ascertain what the reaction of the Foreign Office has been to the recent rumors that the Vatican will be used by the Axis in the near future to support peace proposals."

Taylor returned to the States at the end of September as diplomatic troubles were beginning to escalate with the imminent Allied bombing of Rome. Much of northern Italy had already endured heavy Allied bombing in an effort to rout out Nazis and the Holy See was desperately trying to broker an amnesty for the Eternal City. For obvious reasons they were concerned about the welfare and safety of the Roman people, not to mention the safety of artistically and spiritually significant Roman Churches. In a letter to Archbishop Spellman, ultimately directed towards President Roosevelt, Enrico Galeazzi, a layman and long-time confidant of Pius XII, warned that an American bombing of Rome would "provoke a harmful reaction in the entire Catholic world." He went on to say, "Without prejudicing the efficient execution of his political and military plans, the President of the United States should not neglect the opportunity of imposing on the Allied Command a more generous war conduct with regard to the Italian people, who have always nurtured cordial feelings of friendship for the American people, especially because the air attacks as presently directed, do not result in substantially important advantages and perhaps serve only to redirect these trends of friendship and to create in Italy an heroic climate of desperate resistance."[38] These pleas and passive threats went unheeded as Allied forces dropped bombs on Rome—doing less damage than had been expected, eventually liberating the city from the Nazi’s insidious grip.

On June 4, 1944 Allied forces entered Rome. As Americans were storming the beaches of Normandy, Harold Tittman and his fellow diplomats were finally able to step outside the Vatican after months of asylum. But troubles were not over for the Church, or the United States. With the fall of Nazism, another equally ominous force was gaining dominion over the East. Communism had posed a threat to the Holy See even before the rise of Hitler. According to a memo written in 1941 by Myron Taylor about a conversation he had had with Archbishop Tardini, then Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. Tardini said, "At present Europe is faced with two great dangers: Nazism and Communism. Both are opposed to religion, to Christian civilization, to personal liberty, to peace." Tardini told Taylor, "If the war now in progress were to mean the end of both dangers, a period of tranquility would be possible for Europe. If even one of these evils—Communism, for example—were to remain an active force, Europe would, within a few years, be in a situation identical with that in which it finds itself today. In fact, Communism, once victorious, would find no further resistance in Continental Europe…In consequence, within the space of a few years there would be an enormous Communist bloc, whose inevitable destiny it would be to provoke war with England and America." Tardini went on to say: "It is well to bear in mind…that Communism cannot renounce its struggle against religion and Christian civilization because it has as its fundamental principle that Capitalism must be destroyed and that religion is but the opium with which Capitalism has drugged the proletariat."[39]

Tardini did not know how prescient his words would be. It would take many years before the United States, in concert, with renewed and strengthened diplomatic ties to the Holy See, would finally free the world and the Church from the yoke of communist oppression. But the partnership between President Reagan and Pope John Paul II was still far off in the future. In April of 1945 President Franklin Roosevelt passed away. For the next few years, Myron Taylor continued in his mission, making occasional trips to the Holy See to discuss matters of political and humanitarian significance.

In America, meanwhile, anti-Catholic sentiments had resurfaced, and the Holy See was increasingly upset that Taylor was still not a fully accredited diplomat to the Holy See. Despite the great role Taylor had played in the diplomacy of World War II, capricious public opinion soon mounted against his mission. After many years of distinguished service, Myron Taylor was aging and deserving of the rest his retirement many years before should have afforded him. He therefor submitted his resignation as Personal Representative of the President of the United States of America to His Holiness the Pope on January 18, 1950.

Myron Taylor left an indelible mark on the history of our relations with the Holy See, steering our nation’s diplomacy through the turbulent years of World War II. Together with Harold Tittman’s invaluable day-to-day contributions to the work of the mission, it cannot be overstated that Taylor’s friendships and diplomatic ties extended across borders and beyond the political realm of the Holy See, making him in many ways America’s ambassador-at-large for the cause of peace in Europe.

Even Mr. Taylor had a conscious awareness of his historical purpose, which is evident in the care he took to maintain the immaculate files that are our greatest source for information on the U.S. mission to the Pope during the war years. Mr. Taylor had all of his papers, letters, and important documents bound in volumes and sent to Libraries and archives all over the United States. There are letters within the volumes that almost shamelessly deal with the production of the historical files themselves. At a time when America was engaged in heavy fighting in the Pacific theater, and at a time when German troops were rounding their way through Northern Africa, Myron Taylor sent the following letter to Grace Tully, the President’s secretary: "Among the various papers which I delivered to the President was a personal letter to him of which he said he would send me a copy for my confidential file. I realize that the pressure of matters may have caused this, contrary to the usual custom, to have escaped his attention, I ask you, without making too much of a point of it, to send me a copy of that letter."[40] Needless to say, keeping Myron Taylor’s correspondence file up to date was likely not a priority of the President at that time. But ultimately we are indebted to Taylor, not just for his diplomacy during those trying years, but also exactly because of his meticulousness, for he has given us an invaluable glimpse into this important epoch of our past.

President Truman wished to continue friendly relations with the Pope and in October of 1951 appointed General Mark W. Clark to represent the United States at the Holy See. Truman intended General Clark to act not merely as his special representative to the Holy See, but as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Truman felt that direct diplomatic relations with the Vatican would "assist in coordinating the effort to combat the Communist menace."[41] Within a day of the President’s announcement, letters and telegrams came pouring into the White House. Truman himself in a letter to an Episcopal supporter wrote, "There is no doubt that the issue is a controversial one."[42] Truman had support from many such as Rev. Robert Kevin, a seminary professor who wrote, "Dear Mr. President: Although I am a Protestant and a real one…I congratulate you on the appointment of General Mark W. Clark as Ambassador to the Vatican State."[43]

Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote in The Atlantic Monthly in 1952, "The fuss over the appointment continues to seem a spectacular case of much ado about nothing." He went on to say, "The Vatican is constantly in [the] process of making political decisions. These decisions influence great masses of people. It is the injunction of elementary good sense that we should do what we can to make sure that these decisions support rather than obstruct our own foreign policy."[44] Earl Godwin, National Broadcast Company newscaster and friend of President Truman, best expressed the sentiments of Truman’s supporters when he wrote the President’s secretary saying, "I have supported the President’s position on this matter of an ambassador to the Vatican although I am a Protestant and a Mason…However, I think it might be wise for some of us who are supporting the President’s views to be instructed as to some of the reasons for this ambassadorship. All of the information I get is on the other side."[45]

Indeed, most of the mail received expressed vitriol and indignation for the appointment, or as Truman put it, the letters contained "more heat than light."[46] Letters, especially from the American Baptist community, described the appointment as a "threat to our freedom" and "disruptive to our national life." One angry minister charged that Clark’s appointment would result in "a possible split of the country." On the whole, the letters of protest were overly dramatic and apocalyptic. The poorly conceived arguments tended to rest on the belief that appointing an ambassador to the Holy See was a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The catch phrase used by the opponents to the appointment was "separation of church and state."

What many of the opponents failed to recognize was that first of all, the constitution does not call for the unconditional non-interaction between the state and religious organizations. Instead, the constitution decrees that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." An ambassador to the Holy See does not establish the Catholic faith as the state religion. Secondly, the Holy See is not simply a religious body, as the critics argued, but also a sovereign state under international law capable of sending and receiving ambassadors and entering into treaties.

Ultimately, however, Truman could not ignore the protests of the opposition. The critical response was overwhelming. The White House received 1,069 letters against the Clark appointment and only 186 letters in favor.[47] In January of 1952 Clark withdrew his nomination and Truman chose not to attempt another appointment. Schlesinger, who would later be Special Assistant to President John Kennedy, wrote scathingly of Truman’s decision saying, "When any President begins to flinch from making wise decisions because they will enrage a section of the population, he might as well resign."[48]

Some have speculated that Truman intended the nomination to fail, and was simply looking to keep a personal promise to Pius XII that at the end of the war he would appoint an ambassador to the Holy See. Knowing that establishing relations with the Holy See would be a political disaster, it is possible that Truman picked Mark Clark, a man who was unpopular with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and who is said to not even have wanted the job, so that the nomination would fail. In this way, long-term political controversy would be minimized while keeping his promise to Pius XII. Regardless of Truman’s intent, the nomination failed. It failed in such a grand fashion that President Dwight Eisenhower did not even attempt to touch the issue of diplomatic relations with the Holy See, even as the U.S. entered into the most frigid days of the Cold War, when the Holy See would have been a staunch and valuable ally.

While non-involvement with the Holy See appeared to be the policy of the U.S. government, it would be misleading to say that cooperation among the Holy See, the American hierarchy, and the American foreign policy establishment had come to an end. In fact, over the course of the ensuing years, Cardinal Spellman, who in 1946 was made a cardinal, worked closely with Vatican and State Department officials to counter Communism in America and Europe. For example, the American hierarchy and the Vatican worked with the State Department to help forestall Communist victory in the Italian elections of 1948, 1953, and 1958.[49]

With the presidential candidacy of Senator John F. Kennedy, the issue of U.S. – Vatican relations again came to the forefront of public debate. Kennedy came from a prominent Catholic family and his father, Joseph Kennedy, was a friend of Spellman and President Roosevelt’s first diplomatic agent to the Holy See. He was chosen to represent the United States at the coronation of Pius XII in 1939. In later years, the politically powerful Joseph Kennedy, along with the outspoken Cardinal Spellman, were two of the most adamant champions of the American push to establish stronger relations with the Holy See. For political reasons, however, son John Kennedy opposed U.S. recognition of the Holy See.

As the first Catholic President of the United States, Kennedy had to tread carefully. At the time of his candidacy, many Americans feared that if elected, Kennedy would takes his orders from the Pope. Kennedy allayed these fears in 1960 when he spoke before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. In his address he said, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act…where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference….where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope…where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials." He went on to ask that he be judged not on the basis of propaganda, but on his behavior in Congress, giving as an example his "declared stands against an Ambassador to the Vatican."[50] Kennedy’s rejection of diplomatic relations with the Holy See was unambiguous, and this position likely played a part in winning him the presidential election the following November.

Once in office, the opinion of the Kennedy Administration towards a relationship with the Holy See was more complex than Kennedy’s electoral rhetoric would suggest. Kennedy’s tenure in office coincided with a watershed moment in Church history—the Second Vatican Ecumenical council of 1962, also known as Vatican II. While the administration continued to publicly distance itself from any ties to the church, the events of Vatican II had deep resonance within United States. The intersecting strains of optimism and modernization inherent in both Kennedy’s "New Frontier" and the Church’s Second Vatican Council were hard to ignore.

One of the first Church-related decisions Kennedy had to make was whether to send a personal representative to the celebration of Pope John XXIII’s birthday and third anniversary of his coronation in June of 1961. State Department officer, Melvin Manfull wrote to Ralph Dungan, Special Assistant to the President offering his advice, "In line with [the Unites States’] policy of non-recognition, the U.S. Government addresses itself to the Papacy as the symbol of religious authority rather than the depository of temporal sovereignty." Consequently, Manfull concluded that "the appointment of a Personal Representative or Representatives to represent the President at the forthcoming celebration of Pope John’s birthday and third anniversary of his coronation would be quite appropriate from the point of view of United States foreign relations and would be quite consistent with previous United States practice."[51]

Among those in the administration who appeared to be sympathetic to relations with the Holy See was Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who, as we have already seen, previously favored sending a representative to the Vatican. Nevertheless, throughout the Kennedy administration, cables from the White House to the American Embassy in Rome always refer to the Holy See as if it was strictly a religious organization. After the United States decided not to send a representative to the opening ceremonies of the Ecumenical Council of 1962, Vatican Diplomat, Monsignor Igino Cardinale went to the U.S. Embassy to Italy imploring the U.S. to reconsider, and insisting that the U.S. would be making a horrible mistake. The Embassy paraphrased Cardinale’s arguments in a cable sent back to Washington. According to the pithy and abbreviated language of the cable, Cardinale said "ECUMENICAL COUNCIL IS BEING CONVENED NOT IN NAME OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH BUT BY HOLY SEE WHICH IS INTERNATIONAL PERSON (JURIDICALLY), NOT SOLELY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION…US HAS ALREADY SENT SPECIAL DELEGATION TO HOLY SEE ON AT LEAST THREE SIMILAR BUT FAR LESS SIGNIFICANT OCCASIONS."


Despite Cardinale’s threats and pleas, the U.S. still did not send a representative to the opening ceremonies of Vatican II. The Council was disbanded after the death of John XXIII in 1963. But a memo from Dungan to the President dated June 22, 1963, prior to the President’s trip to Rome and just after the election of Pope Paul VI suggests that despite the administration’s conspicuous rejection of everything Catholic, behind the scenes the administration continued to follow the affairs of the Holy See. In the memo, Dungan wrote, "It seems to me that the election of Paul VI with his strong intellectual and diplomatic background will make it more fruitful for us to have closer and completely informal relations with him. As you know, up to the present time we do have a direct and very informal relationship with Msgr. Cardinale who was close to John XXIII. This, however, is not satisfactory in terms of any detailed substantive conversations."

This memo is revealing for a number of reasons. It is an indication that relations with the Holy See, however informal, did exist in the Kennedy administration. Moreover, Dungan suggests that these relations should be strengthened. Most startling is what Dungan wrote next. He speculated that the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, would be replaced by Paul VI and that "it would be most helpful to Rome and to the United States if a relatively young and progressive person were appointed Apostolic Delegate to the United States."[53] With guarded words, Dungan suggested that, if given an opportunity in Rome, Kennedy should employ whatever subtle tactics necessary to influence the selection of the next Apostolic Delegate to the United States. We do not know Kennedy’s response to this memo. Regardless, the memo is far removed from Kennedy’s pointed call for the separation of church and state before the Houston ministers conference back in 1960.

Kennedy’s behavior on the subsequent trip to Rome was anything but indicative of a desire to renew relations with the Holy See. Kennedy did meet with Paul VI, but it was reported in the July 15, 1963 issue of U.S. News and World Report that "he did not kneel and kiss the Pope’s ring, as Catholics normally do at such meetings. Instead he bowed and shook hands."[54] We will never know what path Kennedy’s relations with the Holy See would have taken for he was assassinated the following November.

President Lyndon Johnson continued Kennedy’s policy of shunning diplomatic ties to the Holy See. It was not until the Presidency of Richard Nixon that the United States elevated relations with the Holy See to a level comparable to that under Roosevelt. On June 5, 1970 Richard Nixon appointed Henry Cabot Lodge special envoy to the Holy See. Lodge was a former U.S. Senator who had served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and vice-presidential running mate in Nixon’s unsuccessful 1960 campaign. Nixon said in his announcement, "I have asked Henry Cabot Lodge to visit the Vatican from time to time."[55] Lodge wrote in an informal memorandum after assuming his post, "I was provided with a foreign service officer as assistant, a secretary, and office space. It was agreed – in fact the Vatican stipulated – that my mission would be completely separate from the Embassy. It was also decided that the staff would be on duty throughout the year. I was provided with an apartment at the Grand Hotel whenever I was in Rome. It was agreed that my wife would come with me and that my expenses would be paid. I do not, however, receive a salary."[56]

After six years in service, to both Richard Nixon and his successor, Gerald Ford, Mr. Lodge was able to boast of many bilateral accomplishments. He wrote, "We worked with our U.S. diplomatic missions in Zaire, Burundi, and Uganda to help bring about the liberation of Bishops arrested in African countries. We worked on ratification by the Vatican of a treaty which seeks to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons…We have worked with the Vatican in extending economic and social aid in certain underdeveloped countries…We have worked to carry out, and explain to the Vatican…our U.S. government attempts to curb the international drug traffic…The Catholic News Service reports that thanks at least in part to Vatican intervention, mail to prisoners of the Hanoi government rose from a trickle of letters a year to more than 150 letters every two months during the last years of the war. Finally, during many conversations at the Vatican, I acquired information on such far-reaching questions as problems of the Middle East, the SALT talks, the status of Jerusalem, European security and the religious problems in Poland and Czechoslovakia." Lodge concludes, "I believe this relationship has definitely been in our national interest."[57]

With the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, Lodge’s fruitful career in Rome came to an end. Carter continued the legacy left by Lodge, appointing David Walters, a Miami attorney and a Catholic, to be his special envoy to the Pope. Paul VI died in 1978, which was followed by the resignation of Walters. Before Carter had time to appoint a new representative, John Paul I was elected Pope, and died unexpectedly within a month. In October, John Paul II was elected to the See of Rome, and Carter appointed former mayor of New York City, Robert Wagner to be his representative to the new pope.

In 1981 under President Ronald Reagan relations would finally start moving to maturity. The early 1980s were a time of nascent but revolutionary change across Europe. Within three years of Reagan taking office, the U.S. would have a full-fledged ambassador representing American interests at the Holy See. Within ten years, the back of Soviet Communism would be broken. Reagan recognized the critical role the Holy See would be able to play in a final assault on the forces of Communism in Eastern Europe and he saw Pope John Paul II as a friend and ally. Both men saw Communism as a threat to freedom, peace and opportunity worldwide. John Paul II, a native of Poland, knew first-hand the suffering and challenge to established religion that persisted under communist regimes. Sympathetic to the suffering and oppression of millions living in Eastern Bloc nations, the Holy See was of the utmost strategic importance to the President. Reagan felt it was imperative that he have a representative at the Holy See who he could trust. For this reason he appointed William Wilson, a California real estate developer and long time personal friend as his representative to the Holy See.

The early years of the relations between the Reagan administration and the Holy See progressed with rapid intensity as John Paul and Reagan became keenly aware that Poland, the most populous of the Soviet Satellites, was also one of the most politically vulnerable. Reagan and John Paul believed that if they could collaborate to bring down the communist regime in Poland, the rest of Eastern Europe might follow. According to former National Security Advisor William Clark, Reagan and John Paul shared "a unity of spiritual view and a unity of vision on the Soviet empire: that right or correctness would ultimately prevail in the divine plan."[58]

The West put its hopes for dissolution of Polish communism in the fledgling but immensely popular Solidarity labor movement. A declaration of martial law had driven the Solidarity movement underground in December of 1981. In June of 1982, the Pope and President Reagan met privately for the first time at the Vatican and committed themselves to supporting Solidarity.[59] Over the next several years, the U.S. and the Holy See began smuggling fax machines, printing presses, radios, television transceivers, and propaganda materials into Poland. According to journalist Carl Bernstein, "Lech Walesa and other leaders of Solidarity received strategic advice—often conveyed by priests or American and European labor experts working undercover in Poland."[60] Agents from the CIA, the AFL-CIO labor union, and the Catholic Church worked in clandestine company in order to assist and fuel Solidarity in their opposition movement. Slowly, and with unwavering assistance from the U.S. and the Holy See, Solidarity began to erode the fragile power base of the Communist regime in Poland. Victory over Polish Communism would not be achieved until 1990, but even by 1983, Reagan was seeing the results of his close collaboration with the Holy See. Certainly the notion of upgrading relations with the Vatican would have crossed his mind.

To be sure, it was an idea that occurred to Wilson as early as December 1982, when he contacted the White House asking what steps would have to be taken to establish full diplomatic relations. Wilson, who was living in Rome, was eager to see relations normalized and his position as representative elevated to that of ambassador. As Wilson once put it, "When you fully realize that you are representing the President of the most important country in the world—politically, economically, and militarily—to the head of state of the most important entity in the world from a spiritual and moral standpoint, you begin to realize that you are in a very important position. When you’re in that position and you are not an ambassador, you tend to wonder why." Apparently it was a question the Vatican was asking itself as well. Wilson has said that while serving as Representative of the President, the Vatican treated him "royally, as though they were anxious for the U.S. to become an embassy."[61]

In 1982 the Holy See made a clear expression of interest in formal relations with the United States. The Knights of Columbus were planning their centennial anniversary when Wilson received a call from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Casaroli inviting the President to attend the festivities in Connecticut. Wilson conveyed the invitation to Reagan, who subsequently accepted. At the centennial Cardinal Casaroli had a private hour-long meeting with Reagan, and Ambassador Wilson speculates that this meeting provided the impetus for Reagan’s decision to establish formal relations with the Holy See. Weeks after this meeting, Wilson was chatting with the President in a private room just off the Oval Office, as was customary between the two friends, when according to Wilson, Reagan said, "I realize the importance of having diplomatic relations with the Vatican and I’ve got to find a couple of senators and a couple congressmen to support this." Wilson was confident that Reagan would find the support he needed because "in those days, if Reagan wanted something, he usually got it because he kept pushing until he figured out how to do it."[62]

Reagan’s two strongest congressional supporters on this particular initiative were Clement Zablocki, a Democrat Congressman from Wisconsin, and Richard Lugar, a Republican Senator from Indiana. On June 30, 1983, the Catholic Zablocki introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for "the establishment of United States diplomatic relations with the Vatican." The resolution cited the historical precedent for relations with the Holy See in addition to a belief that such relations would "strengthen mutual efforts to advance the cause of world peace."[63]

Technically, the resolution intended to permit appropriations for a new embassy by amending the 1867 congressional spending bill that cut funding to the original U.S. legation to the Vatican. In July 1983, Senator Lugar, a Methodist, introduced in the Senate a bill identical to Zablocki’s. Lugar said at the time, "The Vatican is a sensitive focus of international relations. It is also a sovereign state, and with John Paul’s courage and character, a powerful force for decency in the world."[64]

On September 22, 1983, the Lugar Bill passed the Senate by a unanimous vote. While the bill did not actually establish an embassy per se—a power reserved to the President—it passed with none of the rancorous, emotionally charged religious debate that characterized the Mark Clark appointment 40 years previously. In fact, the Congressional Record reveals that there were laudatory remarks from lawmakers on both sides of the Senate aisle. While public opposition to the bill had been minimal, some church groups with a political presence in Washington had expressed early disapproval for the bill, but by and large, because the Lugar Bill was simply an appropriations amendment, it failed to catch the attention of mainstream America. On January 10, 1984, however, President Reagan announced the nomination of Wilson as the first Ambassador to the Holy See; the American public took notice, and the reaction was mixed.

The Washington Post called the announcement "a sensible and long overdue move," while at the same time criticizing the speed with which Lugar’s Bill was shuttled through Congress.[65] The Indianapolis Star, Senator Lugar’s hometown paper, commented, "The ban on funding a diplomatic mission to the Vatican was a shabby remnant of religious prejudice. Repealing it…was good riddance to bad feeling directed in large measure against the waves of Irish Catholic immigrants who had fled their homeland during the famine of the mid 1840s."[66] According to a Gallup poll from early 1984—a popular measure of American public opinion—57 percent of the American population approved of Reagan’s decision to upgrade the status of his mission to the Pope to that of an embassy. According to the poll, "While Catholics supported the move by 79-11 percent, Protestants gave it a strong 48-29 percent approval."[67]

Despite positive polling numbers, opposition to the President’s decision was formidable. The Editorial Board of The New York Times passed off Reagan’s announcement as a shortsighted pander to Catholic voters.[68] Yet there was concern, even within the American Catholic Church, that U.S. relations with the Holy See might present a conflict for the separation of church and state. The Catholic magazine America suggested that "there are some reasons for thinking that such a move would be far more helpful to the State Department than to the Catholic Church in the United States." The editorial went on to say, "There is also the possibility that a U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican might attempt to influence decisions that would affect the internal life of the Catholic Church in the United States." American Catholic bishops and clergy had traditionally relished a certain degree of independence from Rome. The American hierarchy had always sought to avoid administrative strictures like permanent apostolic delegates, so to some, formal relations with the Holy See were a cause for concern.

By far the most outspoken critics were Protestant religious groups. Jerry Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher and former leader of the now defunct Moral Majority, lambasted Reagan’s decision to send an ambassador to the Vatican saying, "A bad precedent is being set. I wonder when Mecca will want one [an ambassador]. I told the White House if they give one to the Pope, I may ask for one."[69] James Dunn, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, denounced Reagan’s decision as "a dumb, bungling move by an Administration that doesn’t seem to understand the first lesson about church-state relations."[70]

Mounting criticism for Reagan’s decision found an outlet at Wilson’s Senate confirmation hearing. Throughout the hearing, Wilson’s personal character and professional qualifications were never brought into question. Nevertheless, critics used the podium to once again reiterate their opposition to sending an ambassador to the Holy See. Senator Charles Percy reminded the packed conference room that "the issue of whether or not the President has the authority to name an ambassador to the Holy See has been settled in Congress." Senator Lugar addressed critics saying, "In many ways, the Vatican is a far more significant and wide-ranging actor than many of the other governments with which we maintain formal relations."[71] Ultimately, Wilson was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 81-13. Wilson was well received at the Vatican, where upon presenting his credentials John Paul said, "On this occasion I cannot fail to express my conviction that the condition of today’s world depends in great measure on the way the United States exercises her global mission of service to humanity."[72]

Wilson noticed a dramatic change in U.S.-Vatican relations after the elevation of the U.S. mission to that of an Embassy. "Previously," Wilson said, "they knew that I wasn’t getting full cooperation out of the United States and out of the State Department when I was not an ambassador. And it made a little bit of a difference. As a matter of fact, it made quite a bit of difference." According to Wilson, "There were more open doors and more people wanting to see me."[73]

Back in the United States, opposition to the embassy continued among sectors of the population. In September of 1984, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in partnership with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., the National Evangelicals, the National Association of Laity, and other religious and lay organizations filed a joint suit in Federal Court naming Wilson and Reagan as defendants. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of sending an Ambassador to what they perceived to be nothing more than the Roman Catholic Church. The court dismissed the case on a number of grounds. The court found that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate "injury-in-fact" as a consequence of diplomatic relations with the Holy See and thus lacked standing to sue. In other words, while the plaintiffs successfully argued that the separation of church and state was a good idea, a point that was never in dispute, they failed to show how this particular diplomatic mission constituted an entanglement of church and state leading to the establishment or preferential treatment of a single denomination. The court observed, furthermore, that all of the plaintiffs’ arguments were premised on the presupposition that the Holy See is not a sovereign entity but simply a religious organization, a "nonjusticiable political question" on which the plaintiffs had no constitutional authority. Ultimately, the Court upheld the constitutional right of the President to decide with whom the United States has diplomatic relations.[74]

After a fierce challenge, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See was finally secured. Soon after the first ever U.S. Ambassador, Bill Wilson, was in place in Rome, he found himself facilitating visits between the Pope and General Vernon Walters, who was shuttling to Rome as President Reagan’s personal representative to the Holy Father. General Walters later reminisced that he developed a special rapport with the Pope because he could speak to him in Polish as he briefed him using satellite photography showing the Russian military build-up in Warsaw Pact countries. The Pope’s ensuing support for U.S. efforts to stem the Soviet tide and "end the evil empire" were manifest, and soon Reagan made good on a U.S. commitment to put intermediate range missiles into Western Europe. Thus developed a symbiosis between Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan that would within a few short years bring an end to Soviet communism. Ronald Reagan recognized the critical role the Holy See would be able to play in eliminating the forces of communism in Eastern Europe and he saw Pope John Paul II as a friend and an ally. The Pope knew firsthand the threat of communism to life and liberty and President Reagan had great sympathy for the suffering of millions living in Eastern Bloc nations and he moved quickly to develop this strategic alliance with the Pope, aided by Ambassador Wilson. This alliance would continue under President George Bush, with the help of Ambassador Tom Melady, finally bringing down the Iron Curtain in 1989. If one was ever needed, this victory was the ultimate justification for the Reagan-led notion of having full diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

In 1986, Ambassador Wilson, citing a desire to return to private life, along with a belief that "what had to be done [at the Vatican, namely establishing full relations] has been done," resigned his post and returned to his beloved California.[75] President Reagan appointed Frank Shakespeare to replace Wilson in September 1986, heralding the continuity of truly normalized relations with the Holy See. Shakespeare was a former ambassador to Portugal, media executive, and Director of Radio Free Europe. He was a soviet expert and a steady hand at the tiller, helping to nurture a healthy rapport in the new relationship with the Holy See. In concert with the Pope, Shakespeare effectively continued the fight against global communism.

With the administration of President George H.W. Bush came a new Ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas Melady, former educator and Ambassador to Uganda and Burundi. The Senate confirmed Melady in August 1989 and his tenure spanned a dynamic period of world unrest.

Not long after Melady arrived at his post, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev came to Rome to meet with the Pope. The evolving relationship between this progressive leader of the Soviet Union and John Paul II was of keen interest to the United States. Over the previous few years Gorbachev had been promoting his glasnost and expanding his program of liberal reforms. The Bush administration and the State Department, wary after 40 years of Cold War, wanted to know whether Gorbachev could be trusted. In a meeting with Cardinal Casaroli, Melady was told that the Pope strongly believed Gorbachev’s liberal sentiments were sincere. Melady has written that this information formed a foundation for President Bush’s policy towards the Soviet leader.

A few months later, in December, Melady was faced with a diplomatic crisis when Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega sought to avoid arrest by the U.S. and his countrymen by seeking asylum in the Panama City nunciature of the Holy See. The United States wanted to try Noriega for trading illegal narcotics, and for days there was a standoff outside the nunciature as U.S. Army troops set up an armed camp around the perimeter of the building. Through deft diplomacy, Melady and other U.S. officials working with the Vatican were able to negotiate Noriega’s voluntary surrender to U.S. authorities.

The conflict in Panama was soon overshadowed by the 1990 Gulf War in Iraq. Melady was in the difficult position of justifying the war against Iraq to a pope who believed that Kuwait should be liberated through diplomatic dialogue and not through the use of force.[76] While the Holy See disagreed with the wartime policy of the Bush Administration, they had nothing but the highest respect for Bush’s character, and they were sorry to see him go.

Bush’s successor, President Bill Clinton, appointed former mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn to be Ambassador to the Holy See. Ambassador Flynn worked to build stronger ties between government and the private sector. Through Ambassador Flynn’s many trips to African and Asian countries ravaged by disease and natural disaster he directed international attention to places where the Church, corporate America, and non-profit relief organizations could work hand-in-hand to help those in need.

Despite Flynn’s best efforts, the Clinton Administration’s relations with the Holy See were often fraught with tension. The two governments clashed most noticeably during the U.N. Conference for Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994. The Clinton Administration supported Cairo proposals calling for universal access to "pregnancy termination," a position the Holy See, not to mention Flynn, vehemently opposed. John Paul II launched an intensive political campaign to oppose the Cairo proposal, which he condemned for promoting "a society of things and not of persons." According to Ambassador Flynn, "John Paul II’s campaign against the Cairo proposals prompted the U.S. government to intensify its own campaign in support of the plan."[77] In addition to crossed views over right-to-life issues, U.S.-Holy See relations for much of Flynn’s tenure were marred by international press-coverage of President Clinton’s personal moral indiscretions.

By 1996, Flynn felt he had worked honorably to reconcile his values with those of the Clinton Administration and done what good there was to do at the Holy See. After an unusually long four and a half years in service, Flynn resigned his post and returned to Boston.

In 1997 Clinton nominated Corrine "Lindy" Boggs of Louisiana to be the fifth U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Lindy Boggs, had served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, having succeeded her husband, Congressman Hale Boggs, who disappeared in an airplane crash in 1972. At the age of 82 she brought with her to Rome a lifetime of informal diplomatic experience. In Washington she was known for her magnetic Southern charm. She had no known enemies and unending scores of admirers from every end of the political spectrum. Her popularity followed her to the Vatican, where she was loved for her graciousness and warm-hearted humor. These attributes proved to be essential as she strove to represent Bill Clinton to the Pope. While at the Holy See, Boggs worked extensively to promote worldwide religious freedom and religious tolerance on behalf of the Clinton Administration. With genial dexterity she raised awareness at the White House of the Holy See’s continued hopes for nuclear disarmament and third-word debt relief. During her stay in Rome Boggs also found time to actively promote environmental reform and she became an outspoken leader in the worldwide fight against trafficking in human beings, a cause the U.S. Embassy continues to actively pursue.

Boggs' tenure culminated in the spectacular Jubilee festivities of 2000 when millions of pilgrims descended upon Rome. She was diplomatic hostess to a never-ending marathon of parties, dinners, celebrations, and ceremonies. She handled her responsibilities with the sort of finesse and efficiency that only someone with experience organizing two presidential inaugural balls, a national bicentennial celebration, and a lifetime of Washington dinner parties could.

While Ambassador Boggs was preparing to say goodbye to the Holy See, the newly elected George W. Bush was working hard to assemble his administration back in Washington. Early in 2001, after several discussions with the new President and Vice President of the United States, President Bush called me at my office in Washington and said, "Jim, do you still want to go to the Vatican?" I said, "Yes sir!" He said, "I want you to go to the Vatican," and thus began the process that led to my being sworn in as the sixth U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See on August 10, 2002. My wife and I were off to Rome shortly thereafter, and were enjoying the breathtaking monuments of Roman antiquity, as we started our courtesy calls on members of the Curia and fellow diplomats, when suddenly the United States and the world were plunged into the shock of September 11, 2002. It was while paying a courtesy visit on the French Ambassador that we were informed of the World Trade Center attack. I knew then that the world and this mission would be a far different place.

Two days later I met with the Pope at Castel Gondolfo for about twenty minutes as part of my accreditation procedure, and the events of September 11th dominated our conversation. I took time to explain to the Pope my country’s need to respond to the terrorists in our own self-defense, and in defense of our friends. After much discussion and even a prayer together, the Pope responded by saying that he believed that the events of September 11th were indeed an attack not just on the U.S., but "on all mankind", and we were justified to take defensive action. He asked me only to appeal for him to President Bush that the U.S. adhere to the high standards of justice for which our country had become known. I assured him that I would, and President Bush has done so.

It was at this meeting that the stage was set for the Holy See’s support of our counter-terror campaign. It is extraordinary that the Pope and the Church are supporting us, and equally noteworthy that this support continues as we strive to find those behind the September 11th attacks and bring them to justice. Having the moral support of the Holy See in a Combatine context has been very valuable to President Bush as he leads the coalition of nations united in this "war on terrorism."

The Vatican, which did not support the U.S. in the Gulf War, nor in trade sanctions against Iraq or Cuba, is a stand-up moral supporter in Afghanistan. Having the good offices and staff of our Embassy here in Rome, with daily, sometimes hourly contact with the leaders and diplomats of the Vatican, whether it be on issues of terrorism, Middle East peace, religious freedom, human rights, hunger, or human trafficking, has proven itself invaluable to the U.S. as our government works to make the people of the world safe, fed and hopeful.

The diplomatic relations that began in the late 18th century have been marked with highs, lows, and hiatus right up to today, when the level of diplomatic encounters has never been higher. For example, President George W. Bush has had two private meetings with the Holy Father in the past ten months. But things were different in 1779, and it has been a long road to where we are now. When I think about the history of United States relations with the Holy See, I can not help feel that I am part of something—a legacy, a relationship that continues to be vital to the hopes for a peaceful world where men, regardless of their religion, will someday accept each other and live accordingly. Few will dispute the collaborative role that President Reagan and Pope John Paul II played in bringing down the Iron Curtain and freeing Europe and the world of the scourge of Communism. Few will dispute the role that President George W. Bush and the Pope, who have already met twice, can play in trying to diminish the growing polarity in the world due to religious intolerance and extremism. It is the leader of the strongest temporal power in the world teamed closely with one of the great moral leaders of the world, in a common goal of helping others to accept cultural and religious traditions that differ from their own.

The value of having this harmonious and full diplomatic relationship in today’s world is palpable. Having the responsibility of being the President’s interlocutor to the Pope in this context is both daunting and humbling. It is also a rare privilege which I cherish.

I firmly believe, as have my predecessors going back to 1779, that the Holy See has an international presence like none other. Whether a collection of Papal States in central Italy with an army or, whether 109 acres of sovereign land with a global following of over one billion people, the Holy See is a partner with us in the quest for freedom, justice, peace, and human dignity throughout the world. Being full diplomatic partners really helps.


Introduction to the 2004 Second Edition of “The United States and The Holy See: The Long Road”


As we celebrate the 20 th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the Holy See, I am pleased to add to my book on the subject published by 30 Giorni in 2002. These later chapters encompass our relationship from the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, through the Iraq War, and concluding with the Pope’s 25 th Anniversary in October 2003. The true test of a strong relationship between nation-states is whether it withstands tension and disagreement. The Iraq War provided such a test for the United States and the Holy See, although it was a test due more to disagreement over means than ends. Having weathered that test, our dialogue on how we can work together to better serve all of God’s children remains close, cordial, and dynamic.

* * *



From the beginning of my ambassadorship, it was evident that the relationship between the United States and the Holy See would be one of mutual cooperation that would bear much fruit because of our shared values. The National Security Strategy of the United States states clearly that the first goal of American international engagement today is to "stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the absolute power of the state, free speech, freedom of worship, equal justice, respect for women, religious and ethnic tolerance and respect for private property.” This goal is also at the core of the Holy See’s vigorous and extensive international engagement. That is why, in my first two years as ambassador, we worked together closely to promote the dignity of human life by combating the horrors of human trafficking, overcoming hunger and malnutrition, increasing humanitarian aid and relief, and promoting democracy, human rights, religious freedom and tolerance.


Post 9-11: A Voice Against Violence in the Name of Religion

When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, our country was confronted with a security crisis different than any we had ever faced before. Unlike Pearl Harbor -- an unprovoked military aggression by one country against another -- the terrorist attacks left us pursuing a shadowy enemy operating in many nation-states capable of striking U.S. interests at home or abroad. President Bush recognized that this enemy could only be defeated with the broadest possible international support, and set about building a coalition of 174 countries determined to oppose terror. In this coalition, the support of the Holy See greatly strengthened the moral foundation of this global effort to defeat terrorism.

I presented my diplomatic credentials to the Holy Father at his summer palace at Castel Gandolfo on September 13, 2001 – just 48 hours after the events in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. The Pope told me that he had thought and prayed about this tragic day and concluded that, “this was an attack not just on the United States, but against all of mankind.” He implied that the U.S. would have to take steps to protect itself and asked only that President Bush maintain the strong sense of justice for which our country had become so well respected. Building on the Pope's recognition that the September 11 attacks would justify a response, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, then-Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, gave public backing to U.S. actions to track down the perpetrators when he affirmed in an October 2001 interview that “t oday we all recognize that the United States government, like any other government, has the right to legitimate defense, because it has the mission to guarantee the security of its citizens."

Beyond recognizing the U.S. right to self-defense, the Holy See also intensified its own initiatives to counter terrorism by speaking out against any violence in the name of God, and by promoting inter-religious dialogue and understanding as a counter-weight to those who sought to provoke a violent clash of civilizations and religions. In January 2002, the Pope gathered over 200 religious leaders in the ancient city of Assisi, as he had done twice before, to lead representatives of world religions in a Prayer for Peace. At this time, the Pope exclaimed:"War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon earth justice and peace, forgiveness and life, love!"


On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I was able to greet the Pope after his general audience where he prayed for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and to thank him for his support and prayers. To prevent future terrorist attacks, he called on the international community "to undertake new political and economic initiatives capable of resolving the scandalous situations of injustice and oppression.”


The Challenge of Iraq: Justifying War to a Man of Peace

As the fight against global terrorism proceeded and we learned more about terrorist efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, the United States increasingly began to focus attention towards states with a track record of development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which had demonstrated its brutal disregard for its own citizens by a willingness to use biological and chemical weapons against neighbors and Iraqis alike, and which had maintained long-term connections with Hezbollah and other international terrorist networks, quickly moved to the forefront of U.S. concerns.

Reflecting this priority, my staff and I began to outline U.S. concerns about Iraq to Vatican officials in the late summer of 2002, highlighting Iraq’s 12-year defiance of United Nations resolutions, its failure to account for weapons of mass destruction, and its continued internal repression and human rights abuses. We found that Vatican officials shared our concerns about Saddam Hussein’s regime and our desire to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In fact, senior officials went out of their way to counter what they regarded as a misleading public impression that the Holy See was sympathetic towards Iraq. This impression was a product of the Vatican’s previous opposition to the 1991 Gulf War, its persistent calls for the end of United Nations sanctions on Iraq, and its apparent public reluctance to address continuing Iraqi human rights abuses. In fact, the Holy See’s caution toward Iraq reflected its preoccupation with the fate of the approximately half-million Chaldean Catholics living in Iraq and a desire not to provoke any government reaction against them. While I appreciated this concern, I also knew that the Holy See was respected worldwide as a voice for human rights and I believed that Iraq’s abuses needed to be held up to international scrutiny. We therefore continued to make our case on Iraq privately, emphasizing the importance of human rights, the positive impact of the UN’s Oil for Food program for the Iraqi people, and the risks to regional and international security posed by this evil regime.

Another factor that may have contributed to this impression of caution toward Iraq was the Holy See’s broader desire for dialogue and cooperation with Islam and with the Muslim world to ease religious tensions that foment violence. Clear public support for President Bush's Iraq goals could have created a perception that the Vatican was at odds with Islam and could have reinforced and equated in the eyes of many Muslims perceptions of an alliance between the Western World and Christianity.

Under this Pontificate, the Holy See has made great strides in building bridges and promoting inter-religious dialogue. Pope John Paul II has expressed respect for Islam and has articulated a vision of openness, respect and a desire for reciprocity in his dealings with the Muslim world. The Holy See has also sought opportunities to find common ground and cooperate with Islamic countries, especially in international organizations, where they sometimes share similar objectives, as during the United Nation’s 1994 Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where joined together in opposition to worldwide access to abortion and other population control policies. I believe t he Holy See's initiatives and ecumenical efforts to reduce tensions between Christians and Muslims have helped prevent new divisions from being created and have great potential to continue breaking down walls of misunderstanding in the future.

As the U.S. spotlight on Saddam Hussein intensified in late summer 2002, a public debate emerged over whether the United States should seek a renewed UN mandate for any military action that might be necessary to compel Iraq’s compliance to UN Security Council Resolutions. Both privately and publicly, the Holy See conveyed its view that any recourse to force should occur with United Nations authorization. In fact, the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Tauran, in a September 9 interview with Italian Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire, reinforced the Vatican's view of the centrality of the UN's role: “Should the international community . . . conclude the use of force is opportune and justified, this should only happen with a decision made in the framework of the United Nations.”

Although the United States did not believe that such a decision could only be made within the UN framework, we clearly believed that decisions taken with strong UN support would strengthen the international community's hand in its effort to ensure Iraqi disarmament. To achieve such a consensus, President Bush appeared before the United Nations on September 12 and called on the UN to live up to its ideals and ensure its demands were respected. Far from ignoring the UN, the President was seeking to restore its authority in the face of a regime that had consistently ignored it. Following nearly two months of debate, the Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002 -- a resolution reflecting the united will of the international community to ensure Iraq’s compliance with UN disarmament resolutions and giving Iraq one final chance to comply or face serious consequences – in UN-speak: military force. This was a resounding vote, and included even that of Syria, affirming that Saddam Hussein's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles posed a threat to world peace.

The Holy See welcomed the recourse to the UN represented by resolution 1441 and the unity demonstrated by the international community. It also acknowledged to us that in the absence of the threat of military force, Saddam almost certainly would not have allowed inspectors to resume their work following the resolution’s passage. During the previous 12 years, Saddam Hussein had defied 16 previous Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, since Iraq invaded Kuwait, the UNSC had passed close to 60 resolutions requiring that the Iraqi regime comply with UN demands. In the absence of serious consequences for non-compliance, however, his only punishment had been further admonition and continued economic sanctions.

Despite the recognition of Saddam Hussein’s defiance of international law and the danger that he posed, concern about the possibility of war in Iraq was widespread within Vatican circles, and often found its way into Vatican or other international media. Some of the concern was measured, such as from Cardinals who said they saw “neither motive nor proof” to justify military action until the inspection process had an opportunity to proceed further, and who suggested that war “would do great harm in the region.” Other views, particularly from Vatican sources who criticized alleged “ U.S. unilateralism” and spoke of a “spirit of crusade,” were less guarded and contributed to an impression within the media of growing division between the U.S. and the Holy See.

Part of my job was to help overcome what seemed to be a high level of suspicion over the power and influence of the US and its alleged 'lust for oil.' Th is feeling, held by many in Europe, was that America, being the world's leading capitalist country, must have some profit motive in Iraq. The media’s efforts to portray the United States and Holy See as fundamentally at opposite spectrums of the war debate continued to intensify – with one Italian Catholic magazine even commissioning a poll asking respondents whether they were “with President Bush for war, or with the Pope for peace.” Notwithstanding such efforts, our positions were never as far apart as the media portrayed. Both the Pope and President Bush believed that war should be the last resort. Both recognized the danger posed by Iraq and called for Iraq to disarm. Both recognized that decisions on war and peace must be made by legitimate civil authorities. The difference we had essentially came down to the question of whether all diplomatic means to achieve Iraqi disarmament had been exhausted short of resort to military action. The United States believed after 12 years of Iraqi defiance in the face of a strong UN consensus that Iraq would never willingly comply with the UN. The Holy See continued to believe that inspections and dialogue offered a means to meet the international community's concerns -- a view the Pope conveyed to President Bush in a late October correspondence.

The Just War: the key role of Saint Augustine

As we headed into the New Year, this difference in approach over how to achieve Iraqi disarmament and promote regional security gave rise to an international debate about when military action was appropriate to achieve desired international ends. As the repository of the “just war” tradition dating back to St. Augustine, the Holy See increasingly found itself at the center of the global debate about the Iraq war. In his traditional address to the 174 nations of the Vatican diplomatic corps at the start of the New Year, the Pope outlined his approach to Iraq. Beginning with a firm "No to War," the Pope continued: "War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity!” Although his opposition to war was strong, the Pope also added that “war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions” -- a view the United States shared. The Holy See appealed to the world to be certain that the three well-established criteria of the just war tradition were met: that war be fought in self-defense or defense of others, that the use of force have a reasonable likelihood of success, and that all other non-violent means be exhausted. The Pope's message, reinforced in my private Vatican meetings, was that the international community should pursue all means short of war possible to achieve its agreed goal of Iraqi disarmament, but that the Church's doctrine did not exclude the legitimacy of the use of force under clearly defined criteria and after all alternatives were exhausted. President Bush made clear that he sought to abide by the precepts of a just war; however, in the end, the Holy See and the U.S. disagreed on the facts of whether all non-violent means had been first exhausted, and whether the threat of Saddam countenanced more time for talk and inspections.

Unfortunately, the subtleties of the Pope's message were lost on much of the public, particularly in Europe, where his "No to War" was seized on by protesters as an absolute "no" rather than a qualified "no." In Rome, I recognized that we needed to broaden the public debate to encourage more focus on the nature of today's terrorist and WMD threats and the responses morally appropriate to defend innocent populations from these new threats. We decided to stimulate some new thinking regarding these threats and reactions by inviting to Rome the noted American academic and Catholic intellectual Michael Novak to speak about Iraq in the context of the Just War theory. Novak's early February visit was intended to broaden the just war debate and clarify the just nature of United States policy in Iraq.

In the highly charged atmosphere of the time, with millions taking to the streets of European capitals, including Rome, to protest, the media seized on the visit, mistakenly portraying it as a last-ditch U.S. effort to convince the Pope to support the war. This misunderstanding prompted some American religious leaders to write me, opposing Ambassador Novak's visit, asserting that he was a “dissident theologian” whose support for a “preemptive” military strike against Iraq was at odds with the church’s teachings on what constitutes just war. Contrary to the media's portrayal and the reaction it generated, Michael Novak came to Rome as a private citizen presenting his own views on traditional just war theories and today's new threats, not on a mission for the United States government.

Novak's presentation and meetings with Holy See officials did in fact offer a needed perspective on the issue of when military action could be justified. His February 10 lecture at Rome's Center for American Studies, entitled: "Asymmetrical Warfare and Just War," spoke directly to the new challenges confronting our leaders in a world where international terrorists operating without connections to states threaten innocent people with catastrophic results. Novak eloquently made clear that traditional theories needed to be updated to take into account the speed and devastation of modern threats and the inability of governments to wait until after such an attack to respond. Taking on critics of "preventive war" -- he also pointed out that military action against Iraq should more appropriately be seen as the “lawful conclusion to the just war fought and swiftly won in January 1991,” whose ceasefire terms Saddam Hussein had violated with impunity.

Throughout this period, the Pope spoke out repeatedly and carefully in favor of dialogue and a peaceful means to end the tension, reiterating that war should always be the last resort. I fully appreciated the Pope's message. He is a man of peace -- perhaps the world's greatest voice for peace -- but he is not a pacifist. His Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, frequently emphasized this fact during his public discussions of the Holy See's position. In fact, the Pope’s position was fully in line with traditional Catholic teachings on just war, which make clear that there are circumstances in which “evil must be confronted to defend the innocent and to promote the minimum conditions of international order.” In fact, throughout this period, the Pope himself never took sides or condemned military action as immoral. His plea, consistent with the traditional role of the Holy See in international affairs, was to remind the world of the horrors of war and to encourage world leaders to resolve the threat through dialogue and reconciliation in order to achieve a lasting peace. The United States shared this goal, and continued to work through the United Nations during this period to achieve Iraq's disarmament peacefully.

Diplomatic Station of the Cross: Cardinal Laghi's Mission to President Bush

As debates over a second UN resolution intensified in New York, the Vatican emerged as an international focal point for leaders on both sides of the debate who were seeking to make their case to the Pope and to secure his moral support for their hardening positions. Numerous prime ministers and foreign ministers came through Rome to see the Pope, prompting the New York Times to describe the Vatican as a "diplomatic stations of the cross." In the space of two weeks, the Pope received Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. The Pope’s visitors brought different perspectives to Vatican City, but regardless of what side of the debate they represented, the Pope’s message was clear and consistent: First, all parties have an obligation to strive for peace and reconciliation. Second, all parties have a responsibility to collaborate with the international community and conform to justice, inspired by international law and ethical principles. Finally, special attention and consideration must be given to the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people.

The Aziz visit presented an opportunity to convey to one of Saddam's inner circle the determination of the international community to see Iraq disarm. In a meeting I held with Archbishop Tauran prior to Aziz's visit, it was clear to me that the Holy See intended to use the meeting to send a clear message to Iraq on the importance of complying with UN resolutions. In Aziz's subsequent meetings with the Pope and his senior officials, the Holy See told him directly that time was running out for Iraq and that it needed to make concrete commitments to disarm in order to avert war. Unfortunately the Pope's message fell on deaf ears. The blustering Aziz publicly threatened European countries in a post-meeting press conference, asserting that “if the Christian countries of Europe participate in a war of aggression, it will be interpreted as a crusade against the Arab world and Islam. It will poison relations between the Arab world and the Christian world.”

With the prospect of war looming ever larger because of the unwillingness of key members of the Security Council to impose the “serious consequences” called for in the unanimously approved Resolution 1441, the Holy See decided that it was time to make a final diplomatic initiative. Rumors of an envoy to Washington had long been circulating in the media, and the Pope's decision to send Cardinal Roger Etchegaray to Iraq to meet with Saddam increased speculation of a mission to Washington. Etchegaray's mission, seen by the Vatican as a last chance to avert war by impressing upon Saddam the implications of his refusal to cooperate, made little headway. Defiant and fatalistic, Saddam offered little more in his February 15 meeting than Iraq's standard assertions of its compliance and willingness to fight to the end. Despite Saddam's intransigence, the Holy See believed that Iraqi disarmament could be achieved through continued international pressure on the regime short of war with intensified inspections.

To make this point directly to the President, the Pope decided to dispatch Cardinal Pio Laghi as his Special Envoy to the President. I strongly supported this meeting, believing it would afford the President a chance both to outline the moral case for action in the event of Iraqi defiance and to highlight the commonality of our goals for the region's security. Cardinal Laghi, a former Nuncio to Washington and tennis partner of the President's father, arrived in Washington the first week in March carrying a letter from the Pope. I accompanied Cardinal Laghi to the Oval Office where he delivered the Pope's message, which assured the President of his prayers and urged him to "search for the way of a stable peace." Laghi reinforced the Holy See's view that war should be the last resort, and that any decision on military action needed to be taken within the framework of the UN. The President eloquently outlined his view of both the legality and morality of military action, noting that the UN had already provided the needed framework for action with Resolution 1441 and previous resolutions, and that his duty was to protect the American people from the potential risks posed by Saddam's regime.

In the end, neither side shifted its view on the need for military force, but both found common ground on the need to overcome the terrorist threat. Cardinal Laghi's mission, following the breakdown at the United Nations arising from France's decision to oppose any further resolutions on Iraq, did not change the Administration's approach. Nevertheless, the President's willingness to meet at length with the Vatican envoy reflected the importance he attaches to the Pope's views and his desire -- reflected in his two meetings with the Pope -- to take the Holy See's perspectives into account in U.S. foreign policy decision-making. This would pay benefits in the aftermath of the war when we were to collaborate closely on humanitarian relief and issues relating to Iraqi reconstruction and development.

The War.

On March 19, after 12 years of waiting for Saddam Hussein to comply with United Nations’ conditions imposed at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, the President announced that U.S. forces were en route to liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. He defended his decision by explaining: “We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action.” Secretary Powell had phoned Archbishop Tauran on March 17 to alert him that if Saddam did not respond to the President's final plea to leave Iraq, military action would follow. He assured him that the U.S. was mindful of the Pope's concerns, and would do everything possible to minimize casualties and alleviate suffering. Archbishop Tauran conveyed his appreciation for the call, and stated, as he had publicly days before, that the decision on whether all diplomatic means had been exhausted was one for civil authorities to make, this being consistent with the Church’s doctrine on just war.

Following his intensive personal efforts to avert war, the Pope received the news of the outbreak of war, with “deep pain,” according to his spokesman. The statement added that: “On the one hand, it is to be regretted that the Iraqi government did not accept the resolutions of the United Nations and the appeal of the Pope himself, as both asked that the country disarm. On the other hand it is to be deplored that the path of negotiations, according to international law, for a peaceful solution of the Iraqi drama has been interrupted.” Other officials expressed fears of "a blaze that could spread throughout the Middle East sowing hate and enmity against Western society which is perceived as an invader" and predicted "destruction, hatred and the development of a grave crisis.”

While the United States and the Holy See ultimately disagreed on whether all peaceful means had been exhausted prior to the decision to go to war, the Holy See did ultimately accept that such decisions are for legitimate civil authorities to make. Archbishop Tauran summarized the Holy See's role best when he explained to Famiglia Cristiana, that "the Holy See is a moral power, and must be the voice of conscience. We recalled the supreme good of peace, the defense of life, the defense of human rights, and above all, the need always to make recourse to law. And then, at a certain point, the decision fell to civil authorities. They must decide if the time for diplomacy has ended and if the time to move on to force has arrived. It is their responsibility and the conscience comes into play. We tried to enlighten the conscience of those with responsibility."

On April 9, concurrent with a visit from Undersecretary of State John Bolton, taken at the request of the White House, to begin to discuss possibilities for post-war cooperation with the Holy See in Iraq, Baghdad fell and Saddam's statues began to tumble. The Holy See expressed its relief that casualties had been minimal, and issued a statement April 10 calling the collapse of the Hussein regime as a “significant opportunity for the population’s future.” Following the discussion with Undersecretary Bolton, the Vatican emphasized its determination to work with us on the post-war needs of the Iraqi people, noting that "the Catholic Church is ready to lend the necessary assistance through its social and charitable institutions.”

Kissinger and "Pacem in Terris"

With the first wave of military operations over and our attention turning to the construction of a peaceful, democratic, and tolerant Iraq, I reflected on my role as the representative of the American people to the Holy See during this historic period. My responsibility, and the responsibility of my colleagues in the diplomatic corps, is to advance America's national interests by building international support for actions we believe can create a stable world environment for Americans and for others. To do this effectively, as Henry Kissinger has pointed out, we need to build a moral consensus internationally by making clear that America's interests and those of other countries can best be advanced by working toward shared values of liberty, human dignity, and peace. My efforts as Ambassador were aimed at forging a moral consensus on Iraq. Even though the Holy See did not in the end agree on the decision to resort to military action, they did share our goals for international and regional security and an end to the oppression of the Iraqi people. In the end, there was no doubt on either side that conditions for true peace were absent in Saddam's Iraq.

It was significant that at the start of this tumultuous year in his Message for the World Day of Peace, the Pope had recalled the framework for peace first outlined by Pope John XXIII in “Pacem in Terris.” The Pope identified four essential pillars of peace: truth, justice, love and freedom. In the case of Iraq, none of these conditions existed. Instead of love of others, Saddam used chemical weapons on his neighbors and citizens. Instead of justice, we saw suppression of the Kurds, with whole families lined up in front of pits in the ground and shot. Instead of truth, we saw deception of the international community. Instead of liberty, we saw oppression and fear. Hate, injustice, deception, and fear – these are not true foundations for peace.

Managing the post-war period: Colin Powell visits the Vatican


Recognizing the absence of the foundations for peace, the question the international community faced was how to create conditions to establish these foundations for the future. This was the challenge confronting President Bush and the rest of the free world. As a leading voice for peace and security, the United States had to define a response to the threat and the injustice embodied by the Hussein regime that would achieve the foundation for the genuine peace we all seek. President Bush listened carefully to the moral advice offered by religious leaders in shaping his prudential judgment on how to respond to the new threats we face in this era of senseless terrorism. The President himself is a man of deep faith. At the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2003, he outlined the source of his decision to act: "We can be confident in America's cause in the world. Our nation is dedicated to the equal and undeniable worth of every person. We don't own the ideals of freedom and human dignity… But we do stand up for those ideals, and we will defend them."


Throughout this period, the Holy See always acknowledged that the pillars of peace were absent and that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to his people and the region. In fact, Cardinal Laghi referred to the four pillars of peace in his meeting with the President. Our discussions, contrary to the media-driven perception of a "chill in relations" were always shaped by this shared understanding of Iraq's shortcomings and our common interest in a peaceful, disarmed and tolerant Iraq. As a result, they were always friendly and focused on shared moral goals. As Archbishop Tauran explained to a journalist during the peak of the international debate when asked about discussions with the U.S.: "We are having conversations, but they are calm and serene. I would say they are persevering in making their argument." Moreover, contrary to perceptions of anti-Americanism that arose during this time, I always found the Holy See to be open to our views and appreciative of our efforts to advance the values we share. As Archbishop Tauran told the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana, the idea of an anti-American feeling within the Holy See "doesn't correspond to reality." He added: "The American people are a great people. There is a Catholic community involved in social and cultural life, with works of charity. These are the values that the Pope and the Holy See greatly appreciate."


Reflecting the continuing strength of the relationship and the breadth of our shared interests in bringing hope to regions of the world that have only known despair, Secretary Powell arrived in Rome in June for an audience with the Pope and a meeting with his top officials, Cardinal Sodano and Archbishop Tauran. In his meetings, Secretary Powell discussed ways the U.S. and Holy See could collaborate to help the Iraqi people, to promote religious freedom in Iraq and elsewhere, to advance the Middle East peace process, to promote inter-religious dialogue and understanding, to combat malnutrition and hunger through expanded use of bio-tech foods, and to defeat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. The visit reaffirmed publicly our private sense of a close, vibrant, and mutually beneficial bilateral relationship that is helping to promote human dignity worldwide.


The Moral Issue of Biotech Food

In fact, throughout this period relating to Iraq, I was having separate and productive discussions with the Holy See on a moral issue, a life issue dear to my heart -- that of feeding the hungry. From the time I learned of the potential of biotech foods to ameliorate hunger and starvation, I was determined to work with the Holy See to try to bring its strong moral voice to this issue, just as it had recently done on the issue of trafficking in human beings at a May 2002 conference on this subject, which my Embassy organized with the Vatican's support.

The biotech food issue came to a head in the fall of 2002 when American food aid provided through the World Food Program was rejected by the Zambian government because it could have contained a small percentage of biotech foods. A Jesuit priest was active in Zambia in encouraging the government to take this stand, and he in turn had influenced Zambian bishops, contributing to the confusion that put millions of Zambians at risk. The World Food Summit held in Rome in June 2002, concluded that 800,000 people in the world are undernourished and that a child dies every five seconds from starvation. Food, when needed to sustain life, is clearly a moral issue, and thus, while acknowledging that every state has the sovereign right to accept or reject commodity assistance, the United States maintains that every state also has the duty to ensure that their citizens have enough food to eat. In short, we believe that food sustains life, and life is precious, and therefore this is a moral issue, especially to advocates of a “culture of life” such as the Vatican.

In light of the positive assessment of biotech foods by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Science, I urged them to share their results more broadly with bishops and nuncios to help overcome the misinformation that had paralyzed the World Food Program's efforts in Zambia. Secretary Powell also took up the case in an appeal to Archbishop Tauran, and as a result, the Holy See agreed to share information more widely with church leaders in affected areas.

Given the benefits for the developing world from biotechnology, we believe that the Holy See’s moral voice on the safety of foods for consumption and on the potential of such foods to overcome hunger and malnutrition can help dispel myths about biotech foods throughout the developing world. It can also discourage the propagation of misinformation by Church leaders or affiliated groups that is currently putting lives at risk. There are too many hungry people in the world whose futures should not be held hostage to narrow political agendas of well-fed people in developed countries. Significantly, in November 2003, the Holy See convened an international conference, “Genetically Modified Organisms, Threat or Hope? ” indicating a strong interest to be better informed on this undeniably moral issue and a willingness to examine the potential of such foods to ameliorate hunger and malnutrition among the world's neediest people.

This is just one example of how the United States and the Holy See continue to work closely together to improve lives around the world. Whether protecting the sanctity of life, promoting human dignity, championing religious freedom and liberty, bringing attention to the trafficking of human beings or feeding the world’s hungry, the fundamentally strong partnership between the United States and the Holy See ensures that these common goals that shape our respective foreign policies will continue to dominate the agenda for human dignity worldwide.

The United States and the Holy See will continue to share the international stage in the years ahead. Their voices will continue to shape the international agenda as well. Although we will almost certainly have differences over how best to achieve some goals we hold in common, the primacy of human dignity will illuminate the long road ahead of us. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our formal diplomatic relationship, I am confident that our thoughtful dialogue will continue to enhance the dignity of mankind, and will continue to nurture the mutual goal that each person, regardless of race, color or creed can live peacefully in a free society and realize their God-given potential.

Celebrating 20 Years of Full Diplomatic Relations

And so, as we celebrate this 20 th Anniversary of our full diplomatic relationship, we do well to reflect on the words of the Pope and President Bush regarding the road traversed and the road ahead. The Pope, addressing the President during his July 2001 visit to the Vatican, observed: “ I am confident that under your leadership, your nation will continue to draw on its heritage and resources to help build a world in which each member of the human family can flourish and live in a manner worthy of his or her innate dignity.    I cordially invoke upon the beloved American people, God's blessings of wisdom, strength and peace. President Bush reciprocated his respect and esteem for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Poland in May 2003. Speaking in Krakow, the Pope's spiritual home town, President Bush commented: “ Through the years of the Second World War…a young seminarian, Karol Wojtyla, saw the swastika flag flying over the ramparts of Wawel Castle. He shared the suffering of his people and was put into forced labor. From this priest's experience and faith came a vision: that every person must be treated with dignity, because every person is known and loved by God. In time, this man's vision and this man's courage would bring fear to tyrants and freedom to his beloved country, and liberation to half a continent. To this very hour, Pope John Paul II speaks for the dignity of every life and expresses the highest aspirations of the culture we share.”

After 20 years as full diplomatic partners, this relationship between these two great superpowers -- one temporal, one moral -- is maturing, and, with their foundations of common values, will do well together to bring peace and dignity to the world’s people. As the President’s Ambassador to the Holy See and interlocutor with the Pope, it is a great privilege to be part of this history and this opportunity.


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National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002

“Ethical Conditions Outlined for U.S. Military Operation,” http://www.zenit.org, October 15, 2001

The Pope declared on January 1 and reiterated on January 10, 2002 that “It is a profanation of religion to proclaim oneself a terrorist in the name of God, to kill and violate human beings in the name of God. Terrorist violence, in fact, is contrary to the faith in God the creator of the human person, a God that takes care of humanity and loves it.”

“Papal Address on Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks,” http://www.zenit.org, September 11, 2002

As early as March 2002, the President expressed in a press conference, “Every world leader that comes to see me, I explain our concerns about a nation which is not conforming to agreements that it made in the past; a nation which has gassed her people in the past; a nation which has weapons of mass destruction and apparently is not afraid to use them one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction.


This concern was illustrated by His Holiness Pope John Paul II when he addressed the Diplomatic Corps on January 13, 2003 stating, “Ecumenical dialogue between Christians and respectful contact with other religions, in particular with Islam, are the best remedy for sectarian rifts, fanaticism or religious terrorism.”

The largest mosque in Europe was inaugurated in 1995 in Rome, the Pope’s diocese; however there is no Church in Riyadh.


“No war on Iraq unless the United Nations allows the use of force, top Vatican official says,” Associated Press, September 09, 2002. http://www.cin.org/archives/cinjub/200209/0022.html


U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, November 08, 2002. http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/02110803.htm, The resolution states that Iraq remains in material breach of council resolutions relating to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and requires that Baghdad give UNMOVIC and IAEA a complete and accurate declaration of all aspects of its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and ballistic missiles systems, as well as information on other chemical, biological, and nuclear programs that are supposed to be for civilian purposes, within 30 days or face serious consequences.


Letter to President Bush from His Holiness John Paul II, October 21, 2002.

Papal address to the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See, January 13, 2003

Michael Novak, “Asymmetrical Warfare and the Just War” Delivered on February 10, 2003 at the American Studies Center, Rome.


George Weigel, “Moral Clarity in a Time of War” William E. Simon Lecture, October 24, 2002, Washington, D.C.


Statement to Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, February 27, 2003

“The Word From Rome,” National Catholic Reporter, February 21, 2003.

“Papal Envoy meets Bush, reiterates Vatican opposition to Iraqi war,” Catholic News Service, March 06, 2003.

National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002


“Pained by War, John Paul II Prays for Iraqi People,” www.zenit.org, March 20, 2003


www.zenit.org, March 19, 2003

Archbishop Tauran’s Interview with Familglia Cristiana, March 2003


Catholic News Service, April 10, 2003

President Bush Address to the 51 st Annual Prayer Breakfast, February 6, 2003. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030206-1.html

“The Word From Rome,” National Catholic Reporter, January 31, 2003.

“Remarks by President Bush and His Holiness Pope John Paul II, July 23, 2001, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/07/20010723-1.html

“Remarks by the President to the People of Poland,” May 31, 2003, http://www.usinfo.pl/bushvisit2003/wawel.htm