No, Obama Isn’t Closing the Vatican Embassy

The latest nontroversy to cause wingnuts to fire up the Faux Outrage Generator 2000: ZOMG! Obama is closing down our embassy to the Vatican, proving that he hates Christians and is a Kenyan Muslim terrorist who wants to force everyone to get gay married! As usual, it’s complete bullshit.

The internet is ablaze with some fairly shocking news: Obama is closing the Vatican embassy! “Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics,” proclaims the Washington Times, in an article that has attracted more than 2700 comments and was prominently featured on the Drudge Report. “OBAMA ‘INSULTS’ CATHOLICS IN VATICAN-EMBASSY SHUTDOWN,” reports WND. The Daily Caller piles on with “Catholics furious over Obama plan to close Vatican embassy site.” Breitbart reports that “the Obama administration is trying to diminish and discredit the Vatican’s role in the world because it’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values is at odds with the Regime’s pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage stance.”

So you might be surprised to learn that, in fact, Obama is not closing the embassy — or diminishing U.S. diplomatic relations with the Holy See in any way.

There are no embassies for any country in Vatican City itself — there is simply no room. All countries locate their embassies in the city of Rome. The United States has decided to move its embassy from its current location — an unremarkable converted residence — to the same compound as the U.S. Embassy to Italy. It will have it’s own separate building and a separate entrance on a different street. The new building is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican than the old one. There will be no reduction in staff or activities.

And by the way, it was the Bush administration who bought the property adjacent to the Italian embassy precisely for this purpose. That did not stop Jeb Bush — the smart, reasonable Bush, remember — from tweeting:

Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.

Seriously, there is no fake story so ridiculous that the wingnuts won’t seize it and throw a fit about it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    There is no lie so outrageously wrong that the Faux Noize Machine won’t broadcast it 24/7.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Obama is closing down our embassy to the Vatican, proving that he hates Christians…

    Ironically, many Protestants will insist that Catholics are not Christians. (The ones I have met are mostly Southern Baptist.)

  • steve84

    The US should follow the Irish lead here.

  • barry21

    Why NOT close the Vatican Embassy?

  • MikeMa

    Jeb Bush as the smarter brother is not raising the bar all that much.

  • MikeMa

    Why on earth would they even need a separate entrance. Seemingly that would raise costs and require more personnel, security, etc. Use the same door, same metal detectors, same security and turn right for Vatican, left for Italy. Big whoop.

  • roggg

    I always get sucked in on these Washington Times storied because the name of the paper sounds so much like a real newspaper, that I forget what they really are.

  • Chiroptera

    Seeing how the Vatican is really just a pretend country, I would have no problem with not having an embassy in the Vatican (or recognizing a Vatican “embassy” here in this nation). It may be an important international organization, but with what other international organizations (other than ones where the US government is a voting member) do we have embassies?

    Not that this has anything to do with the totally inaccurate faux outrage over the false rumor. Just that I see nothing inherently wrong with not having a State Dept. embassy to a profit making corporation.

  • Albert Bakker

    Aside from the rightwing bullshit, there should not be *any* Vatican embassy, because the Vatican should not actually be a state, it’s a church. A religious organization should not have direct relations and influence with actual governments of actual states. It’s an anachronistic nonsensical charade that should have already been ended about a thousand years ago.

  • zippythepinhead

    Moving the embassy literally down the street a few blocks is plainly and simply one of those diabolical and intricately calculated moves in Obama’s multi-dimensional chess game against all things good and holy in the universe. It sheds new light on his depravity.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    Why do we essentially have an embassy to a religion anyway?

  • steve84

    @WithinThisMind

    People always that the Vatican is a country, but it’s a pretend-country. All people who live there are still citizens of other countries.

  • whheydt

    So long as we have diplomatic relations with the Vatican, all Catholic priests and bishops should be required to register as agents of a foreign power.

    And we should negotiate an extradition treaty.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The reports I’ve seen indicate that this move will save the US $1.4 million each year, without cutting a single staff position.

  • Dave Maier

    What Reginald said @2, and on that note check out some of the comments on the WND post — attn Bill Donahue? … Bill? … Hello?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    He’s NOT dumping the pretense that the RCC is a state? Yet another disappointment for us progressives.

    OTOH, relocating our “embassy” to the Vat inside our embassy to Italy is a very good symbolic step in the right direction, as it kinda sorta admits that a fake state inside a real state merits a fake embassy inside a real embassy.

    So all in all, I guess there’s a real reason for the far right’s freakout here. Not that I’m complaining, mind you…

  • DaveL

    @16

    Unfortunately, they actually relocated it to a property adjacent to the existing embassy, but I like your idea better. In a large room with a high ceiling inside the US Embassy in Italy, like say a lobby, erect a complete miniature building with a guard in a ridiculous anachronistic costume standing outside with a spear. Insist to anyone who asks that it is in fact a separate and independent embassy and act offended that anyone would claim otherwise.

  • http://saltycurrent.blogspot.com SC (Salty Current), OM

    You’d think that right now they’d be happy to see the US cutting ties with the Marxists at the Vatican.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    whheydt @13:

    So long as we have diplomatic relations with the Vatican, all Catholic priests and bishops should be required to register as agents of a foreign power.

    And we should negotiate an extradition treaty.

    I was about to join the chorus of asking why we should have an embassy to a religion, but that idea is so much better. But they’d better get that extradition treaty down right.

  • Chiroptera

    steve84, #12: All people who live there are still citizens of other countries.

    Not only that, but the only reason they live in the Vatican City (good heavens, does anyone besides the pope actually reside there) is because they moved there to work for the corporation. When their job is done, they will move away again.

    OP: “OBAMA ‘INSULTS’ CATHOLICS IN VATICAN-EMBASSY SHUTDOWN,” reports WND.

    But the US doesn’t even have embassies in Salt Lake City nor to the Southern Baptist Convention or in the Archbishopric of Canterbury. Are these sects being insulted even more?

  • raven

    But the US doesn’t even have embassies in Salt Lake City …

    But they do have an army base, Fort Douglas, in the hills above Salt Lake City.

    It was built to keep an eye on the Mormons, just in case they decided to form their own country again.

  • justsomeguy

    It’s also worth pointing out that by maintaining an embassy to the Vatican, we’re giving the pope cover for his “head of state” status. And there are CRAZY advantages to being treated as a head of state. Not to mention the possibility of issuing someone diplomatic immunity…

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Chiropetra: I’m pretty sure no one actually resides in Vat City except the Pope and the Vatican Swiss Guardsmen who live in barracks on the east side; and maybe the priests who live in on-site rectories. Most of the turf is churches, gardens, museums, offices, and that big open space where people gather to cheer new Popes. I’m sure most of the people who work there live in Rome and its suburbs — including the bishops and cardinals who represent other areas entirely.

  • dan4

    If the Vatican is a “country,” thereby justifying its UN ambassadorship status, why is it called “Vatican City?”

  • sugarfrosted

    @24 I don’t see the contradiction. In ancient Greece, most of the cities were city-states. In other words cities that were countries. Not to say whether or not the Vatican is a country.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    In a large room with a high ceiling inside the US Embassy in Italy, like say a lobby, erect a complete miniature building with a guard in a ridiculous anachronistic costume standing outside with a spear.

    They could put that next to their Nativity display. And maybe something in between them depicting God handing Peter the keys to Heaven.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    dan4: it’s sorta like Singapore, only less productive.

  • freehand

    I’ll grant this – of all the countries in the world, the Vatican must have the highest per capita income.

  • yoav

    Breitbart reports that “the Obama administration is trying to diminish and discredit the Vatican’s role in the world because it’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom values

    Someone should explain the good people at Breitbart the difference between being pro religious freedom and being a theocracy ruled by a wizard.