The odd and questionable custom of the United States having an ambassador to a church continues. Miguel Diaz has been formally welcomed by Pope Benedict XVI. And let’s not play games and imagine that we send an ambassador to the Vatican because it is a “country.” We send an ambassador not to a square mile with a population of 900 people, but to a church with a billion members–of which this ambassador is always one. Benedict knows this. That’s why his address to Diaz is about what “the Church”–especially “the Church in the United States”–must do and say. He underscored the moral vision the [Catholic] Church must uphold and teach–acting then as a teacher to a docile student.
The same teacher/student relationship is apparent each year at Red Masses around the country, which honor the legal profession and give bishops the opportunity to instruct lawyers and judges in the Catholic Church’s moral teaching. No Red Mass has a higher profile than the one in Washington, DC, which traditionally attracts many of the members of the Supreme Court. CNN notes that some have a problem with it. Ruth Bader Ginsberg says, “”I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion.” She was shocked, shocked!–that they were teaching Catholic doctrine.