The United States and the Vatican have been diplomatic allies for 30 years now. The first U.S. Embassy to the Holy See opened on April 9, 1984, but the agreement between the U.S. and the Vatican was signed on January 10, 1984. The first ambassador was William A. Wilson appointed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
“The relationships that have grown between our government and the Holy See over that period have been phenomenal,” said the new Ambassador Ken Hackett at a January 23 reception held to honor the event. “Look what happened in the collapse of the Berlin Wall, look at the collaboration on humanitarian assistance, issues like trafficking, and now under (Pope) Francis, the wider issues of peace,” he said. “So we’re hoping that there will just be a growth, and more opportunity for collaboration and cooperation.”
The U.S. and the Vatican have had a relationship since the beginning of the new Nation. Pope Pius VII named a young Jesuit, John Carroll, as “Superior to the Mission to the Thirteen States.” A mission is a papal office. He then became the first bishop appointed to the U.S. when President George Washington agreed to having the pope appoint bishops to the nation.
The relationship, said the ambassador “is a story of engagement and cooperation over the last century on a wide range of important global issues.” He also said that the importance of the relationship has been underscored by the recent diplomatic visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the upcoming visit of President Obama in March. “I’m sure it will mean an awful lot to President Obama,” said Hackett.
“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