The United States must embrace the Vatican, wrote Francis Rooney, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See in a USA Today op ed. The “cordial but cooling relations” between the U.S. and the Vatican, he suggested, have not taken into account the Holy See’s diplomatic role in the world. He argued that the Catholic Church could be much more helpful to U.S. global diplomatic interests and challenges if the relationships would be warmer.
“No institution on earth has both the international stature and the global reach of the Holy See—the ‘soft power’ of moral influence and authority to promote religious freedom, human liberties, and related values that Americans and our allies uphold worldwide.”
Claiming that it is a lost opportunity, Rooney pointed out that U.S. President Barack Obama has only visited the Vatican but once in his nearly six years in office.
In 1984 President Ronald Reagan established full diplomatic relations, Rooney said, because “he realized that he could have no better partner than Pope John Paul II in the fight against communism.” That fight, through the collaboration of the U.S. and the Vatican, led to the downfall of European communism. George W. Bush expanded the U.S.-Vatican relationship.
“The United States and the Holy See remain two of the most significant institutions in world history, one a beacon of democracy and progress, the other a sanctum of faith and allegiance to timeless principles,” Rooney said. “They are natural partners.” He added that “America’s foreign policy is much more likely to succeed with the support of the Holy See. “No two sovereigns are more naturally aligned than the United States and the Holy See…”
“While the Obama administration has been in conflict with the Catholic Church on a range of issues from abortion to contraception,” he said, “it is clearly in America’s national interests to strengthen diplomatic ties with the Holy See to advance our interests around the world.”
Rooney also pointed out that the Church has powerful ways of persuading nations, including bilateral relationships that help find diplomatic solutions to “international predicaments…” The Vatican represents more than a billion people on the global stage, said Rooney. Its power and influence is often underestimated. It has no military and a negligible economy (though it owns vast resources), but it is the “soft power” of its moral influence, which gives it a greater reach and influence than almost any other nation on earth. And the nations acknowledge this power.
Rooney is promoting a closer alliance between the U.S. and the Holy See, a relationship described in scripture as fornication with a prostitute or whore. See Revelation 17:1, 2, 18:3, etc.
“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Great Controversy, page 588
The Vatican maintains diplomatic ties in a number of ways with the current Obama administration. They are generally not very public as they were with George W. Bush, and they are sometimes strained. But political winds change. The Vatican may have to bide its time until a more favorable political wind arises in the United States. A change will certainly come. In the mean time, it is hard to ignore the vast influence of the Catholic Church in global politics.