“Without Objection …”

Mary Ann Glendon was confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican by the Senate on Wednesday in the most perfunctory of votes. There’s no evidence there was even the customary hearing. Some folks had been spreading all sorts of rumors of controversy, but there was no more debate on her nomination than there is when the typical Second Lieutenant is confirmed for promotion to First Lieutenant.

There should have been objections, based on principle, as I noted back on November 6. She is not only an active Catholic, but is president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and was head of the Vatican delegation to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing. How can she represent the U.S. to the Vatican when she holds Vatican appointments? This is like naming an Iranian government minister as U.S. ambassador to Iran.

If the U.S. is to have an ambassador to the Catholic Church (a debatable proposition on First Amendment grounds), then surely the person should be chosen on the basis of whether they can represent the nation’s interests.

6 thoughts on ““Without Objection …”

  1. I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Because one is a Catholic as a matter of faith, it does not make them a citizan of the Vatican in the way that an Iranian ambassador to the US would be. Moreover, as far back as I can remember (at least from the 70’s, I think), all US Ambassadors to the Vatican have been Catholic and many, if not most, have been members of Catholic movements or lay orders, or received recognitions, such as Jim Nicholson who was knighted by Pope JP II. The fact that the vote was “perfunctory” with little or no debate is indicative of routineness of the whole affair.



  2. Glendon will be serving as our ambassador to Vatican City-State, an entity which is obviously related to but nonetheless distinct (and in numerous ways) from the Catholic Church. Obviously, there is no First Amendment conflict with having an ambassador to a city-state, regardless of its relationship to any religion.

    I see this as similar to having an ambassador to Israel, a state with just-as-obvious connections to a major religion.

  3. Amen! We should not be anti-catholic in order to question the complete absurdity of an Ambassador to the Vatican who is clearly chosen more to represent Catholicism than America.

  4. The Vatican City State is a legal fiction. It would have no significance whatsoever apart from it being the head of a world religion.

    And it isn’t analogous at all to Israel, which is a real nation.

  5. She is not an ambasador to the Catholic Church, there are more Catholics in the US than the Holy See or Italy, she is ambasador to the Holy See. By treaty between the Holy see and Italy diplomatic repersentatives to the Holy See must be acredited to the HS and not Italy. Blame the Italians

  6. The Vatican is the headquarters of the Catholic church. It’s a silly fiction to suppose that the “Holy See,” or Vatican City-State, is the sort of entity that the US would be sending an ambassador to if this were not the case.

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