About Moving The Vatican City Legation…(Stuff I Refuse To Be Upset About)

Current location (left) vs. new location (right). I vote for the new location.

Recently a firestorm of fake dudgeon was released into the Catholic blogosphere when news came that the U.S. Embassy to Vatican City was, horror of horrors, going to be moved to a space that was available where the U.S. Embassy to Italy was located in Rome. The hue and cry from some quarters was loud and long.

Former ambassadors to the Holy See lined up to whine about the perceived slight they were enduring. Meanwhile, the current Ambassador to the Holy See was fine with the idea, and the Vatican was cool with it too. But that didn’t placate folks, and you know what? Neither will this blog post.

C’est la vie.

I said to folks what I’ll say to you right now: Call me when we cut diplomatic relations with the Holy See; then I’ll get interested.

Regardless of what sinister plots you see forming behind every single move of the government (they’re tunneling under your house!), this is not one of the things to be concerned about. Consider the fact the the U.S. didn’t even have diplomatic relations with the Vatican until 1984.  Learn all about the history of dealings with the Vatican, and our finally opening diplomatic ties, in Massimo Franco’s book, Parallel Empires: The Vatican and the United States–Two Centuries of Alliance and Conflict.

That book is fascinating and all, but for the straight gouge on this latest controversy du jour, head to the State Department’s blog, why don’t you? Therein you will learn some interesting facts. Here. I’ll help.

In the last days, there’s been a frightening amount of misinformation and rumor mongering out there about the moving of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

Mark Twain once suggested that misinformation can move around the world, “while the truth is putting on its shoes.” That’s apparently twice as true in Washington these days.

But here’s the truth — facts, not opinions or wild surmisals: the United States is moving the location of the Embassy to a building that is safer, bigger, and architecturally more appealing. It also is slightly closer to Vatican City.

Let me repeat that point: it’s closer to Vatican City than the current location.

Uh-oh. Here comes another inconvenient photograph.

Calm down, people.

You actually thought the embassy was in Vatican City? Seriously? Back to the blog,

Why do I need to state these facts? Because some have actually suggested that the United States has been considering closing the Embassy, or downgrading its status. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Nothing. Not only does the United States continue to respect the Holy See as a crucial bilateral partner in promoting religious freedom, protecting religious minorities, advancing humanitarian causes, and mitigating conflicts around the world, but Secretary Kerry, our first Catholic Seceretary of State in more than thirty years, is personally inspired by the Church’s work on issues from peace to global poverty, issues at the heart of Catholic social teaching.

So, if you hear or read misinformation, I hope you’ll share the truth – the facts – with folks who may be on the receiving end of some false rumors. Here are the facts, and like they say, ‘facts are stubborn things:’ At the end of 2014 or early 2015, we will move the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See from its current location near the Circus Maximus in Rome to a U.S. government-owned compound less than two miles away. The new location, which also houses the U.S. Embassy to Italy and U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies, is actually closer to Vatican City than the current location. The historic and beautiful building that will house the future Embassy provides ideal and expanded office space for the U.S. diplomats who do the critical work of representing the United States to the Holy See. The future Embassy will be 78 percent larger than the current Embassy. The residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See will not change.

Read the rest.

I can bet you the Marines guarding the old facility are quite alright with moving to the new one. And yes, the move should save some money too. Not a lot of money, but why is it that folks who are always clamoring for smaller government get all hepped up when a cost saving, security enhancing, move like this one is made?

Baloney, that’s why. Which is why I refuse to get upset about it. Especially when the really big news about closures was the one the military is considering regarding the commissary system. I bet you never heard about that one, huh?

I think I’ll go have another beer now, and some more Thanksgiving Day feast leftovers.

Have a great weekend!

  • Heloise1

    Nope. Not placated.

  • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

    People – Catholic and non-Catholic – are suspicious of everything Obama & Co do. And rightfully so, I would think.

    But this story shows that we don’t have to shoot at everything that moves. Not everything is a conspiracy.

    Thank you for this post. I was thrilled to see a sober appraisal of this story.

  • AnneG

    Thank you, Frank. Moving to the binational grounds will be more convenient and cheaper. There are 3 US embassies in Rome, but the bilateral mission has all the support stuff like GSO, DPO, security and they really will get better service. I almost never ascribe decisions to common sense but this may be an exception.
    I did hear about the commissary system potential cuts. Just one thing to consider. In places like Jacksonville, NC and Beaufort, NC prices and quality at Walmart have been equal to or better than the commissary in recent years. Commissaries overseas will not be affected.

  • James Hickman

    1. Sec. Kerry is not in line with Catholic Social Teaching. The official US policy is to promote “reproductive rights”, i.e. abortion and contraception, abroad. He certainly voted that way during his years in the Senate. Vice President Biden is complicit, too. So when you as a Catholic blogger quote a DOS blogger as arguing that Kerry and the DOS help promote Catholic Social Teaching, you are stretching the truth quite a bit.

    2. I don’t appreciate that you’ve distracted the reader with the commissary story. You gave it no commentary. You’d like us to worry about the troops, right? Sounds nice, but only to those not familiar with the military. Having served nine years on active duty, two years abroad in hostile zones, let me weigh in here. The US has experienced a widen of the gap between the military and civilian force. Imagine the great benefit of service men and women shopping in uniform with their children and spouses at a civilian market. It already happens, but it would happen even more if there were no commissaries on CONUS posts. The average civilian would be reminded that we are in fact still at war. They’d see the face of sacrifice on a regular basis: in the eyes of those children and spouses who cling to their service member.

    3. The blogger here and the DOS blogger make a big deal about the closer proximity of the US-Italy embassy to Vatican City. One-tenth is not something to brag about. I mean seriously, I realize we’re talking about diplomacy, but anyone who actually looked at the map or read the words would think: Are you kidding me!?!? You’re going to say that the move is not a big deal because it will be so much closer to Vatican City? Now that’s bologna!

    4. I’ve been to both embassies. I’ve partied at both with the Marines. Please don’t start saying that they’ll be happy unless you’re willing to go talk to them. Maybe you did. If so, please indicate that you’ve actually taken the time to talk to someone in uniform. What I do know is that while you’ve not outright dismissed service members here, you have dismissed several former Ambassadors to the Vatican. If ANYONE is going to be a reasonable source, wouldn’t we listen to those who’ve been there and actually held the post? You quoted the current Ambassador. OK. Did you really think he would be making a fuss? That might not be the most diplomatic approach. The ones with nothing to lose? They’re the ones who have made the fuss. The ones with real on the ground experience? They’re the ones you’ve attacked and dismissed. Way to go. Thanks for nothing.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/ Frank Weathers

      James, I’m a retired Marine, and one who has also been a Marine Security Guard watchstander. I’m glad you enjoyed your time at TGIF with the Marines.

      The move is no big deal period, is what I’m saying. Take it or leave it.

      Semper Fidelis.

  • Nordog6561

    Come on, it’s not like they’re moving the facility to Benghazi or something.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Well, I’m placated. I guess it was misinformation that went out, but you can see how if correct it would have fit into a pattern of conduct. And I can see how anyone would be angry over closing the commissary system. If John Kerry is so enamored with Catholic social teaching then he ought to renounce his pro-abortion positions. That’s like being pro-life before he was against it. ;)

  • Maggie Sullivan

    I agree, we all should be much more concerned with Obama giving Iran the bomb than moving an embassy. but of course it does seem strange that in the same week Obama has given Iran all they need to destoy the Jews he also slaps Catholics in the face.
    I would rather stand with the Jews than stand with Obama and Iran.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X