POLL: Obama closes the US Embassy to the Holy See

As you have probably heard, The First Gay President, who also brought you the “AFFORDABLE” Care Act’s HHS mandate, is going to close the embassy of these USA to the Holy See.

I didn’t really care much about this story at first, but I thought about it a little more.  And I read this which presents an interesting juxtaposition HERE:

The same week that Obama gives the imprimatur of legitimacy to the Islamic rogue regime of Iran and sanctions their nuclear weapons program, he closes the American embassy to the Vatican.

Moreover, many of the former ambassadors, including James Nicholson and Mary Ann Glendon, think that this is a bad move.

Nicholson said:

“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican – and to Christians in the Middle East.”

Some say that this move is a “slap in the face”.

So… what do you think?

Choose your best response.  The combox is open to registered users.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wmeyer says:

    Next up, I would expect to see Obama push to reduce the status of Vatican City at the UN.

  2. mamajen says:

    The Spitehouse strikes again! It’s really starting to add up, and it’s very troubling. His moves against the Catholic Church are calculated and purposeful. I worry what more will happen before he leaves office. The devil is at work here.

  3. bbmoe says:

    It’s all of a piece. I’ve been observing, as many have, that this president has a particular fondness for Islam and Islamic regimes, especially Iran and Turkey, and a particular antipathy for the Catholic Church (and, pace my non-Catholic friends who are Christian: the Catholic Church is the only Christian institution that Obama and the liberals consider an actual enemy.)

    This is a way to downgrade the Holy See’s influence on the international scene, and it’s no coincidence that he is doing it when the Pope’s calls for peace and religious liberty, especially in Islamic lands, are getting an especially loud megaphone because it’s this Pope and the MSM, bless their hearts, are unwittingly highlighting a certain contrast between the messages of the Holy See and the Faux Messiah.

    On the other hand, I have to agree with a person in the Twitterverse who sent this tweet last night, “To be fair, it is embarrassing to not be able to visit one’s own embassy w/o bursting into flames.”

  4. James C says:

    Here’s what I think, Father: You left out the best reaction to the closing, given by Clinton’s ambassador to the Holy See, the last Catholic mayor of Boston, Democrat Ray Flynn:

    “It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See,” Flynn told the National Catholic Reporter, describing the move as part of a broader hostility to religious groups and the Catholic Church in particular.

    That’s a pretty blistering condemnation, but Ray Flynn is a standup guy. And he’s absolutely right.

  5. Austin Catholics says:


  6. PA mom says:

    Any response yet from the USCCB?

    At some point even the most liberal bishops must start wondering just what have they voted for.

    The sequester is a good point. Remember how badly this Administration keeps working to make sure things really hurt.

  7. Ad Orientem says:

    Just for the record, the first homosexual (I refuse to abuse the word “gay”) president was almost certainly James Buchanan, in whose company Mr. Obama should fit nicely within the rankings of presidents. Although in fairness, Old Buck seems to have been extremely discreet and probably lived a continent lifestyle throughout his presidency and the latter years of his life.

  8. TundraMN says:

    This is a clear message from POTUS. Why he chose to do this is a good question, but it is disconcerting for sure. I was just listening to one of the cd’s put out by Lighthouse Catholic Media on religious liberties while on the road this last weekend and the creation of a US embassy to the Holy See was discussed briefly. It was a controversial decision when President Reagan did this because by doing so it was a formal recognition by the US of the Vatican City State as it’s own country. So, by removing the embassy, that certainly sends an interesting message to the Vatican on how the US feels about its legitimacy.

  9. teomatteo says:

    Is this not Sec. John Kerry’s baby? He knows what’s best for the Holy See. Right?

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    I see a disturbing trend here. First, we stab the Israelis and the Catholics in the back. Next, we make kissy-kissy face with the Iranians. I am not one of those who suspects that POTUS is secretly a Muslim, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the road we’re traveling. This all started with the “bitter clinger” speech and has gone downhill from there.

    Instead of being the “great unifier” this president has managed to compartmentalize the US citizenry like no other.

  11. gjp says:

    When you consider the following two items:

    1. This administration is the most anti-Catholic one in U.S. history;
    2. The CIA, et. al, use embassies to spy on the countries the embassies inhabit;

    then we must consider that the U.S. embassy moving out of the Vatican has to be a good thing.

  12. Patti Day says:

    At the very least it shows that Obama doesn’t care about about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. I believe he doesn’t care about Catholics in the U.S. either. I’m sure his people discussed whether there would be blowback, and quickly concluded, so what. The poll responses indicate they were right.

  13. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Several thoughts:

    1) On about 10 years ago (before the election of the current occupant of the White House) I predicted to a classroom of disbelieving 8th graders that if we continued on our current trajectory it would be illegal to be a practicing Catholic in 10 – 15 years. It looks as if it may be a photo finish! Set the countdown for October 13, 2017.

    2) Think which other countries have no direct diplomatic relations with America….. or with the Holy See, for that matter.

    3) To quote from A Man for All Seasons …”To renounce your pretended allegiance to the See of Rome”. (Yes, I know the context, and I think it’s entirely apropos.)

    4) The Holy Father appears to be tacitly approving of the gesture, so perhaps this is Casa Santa Marta, part 2, or perhaps it is the recognition of a situation which already exists.

    5) Has anyone seen “For Greater Glory”? (On the other hand, Blacks can’t be Masons, can they?)

    6) Could someone get the Papal Nuncio to ghost-write an encyclical letter, smuggle it into America, and get it read from all the pulpits of all the parishes up and down the country without the authorities in Berlin, um, Washington, knowing about it?

    Not a good idea, but entirely in keeping with creepy incrimentalism.

  14. Mike says:

    “Sed libera nos a malo”! Let’s say it out loud, as a firm, respectful plea, at the end of the Pater Noster when next we assist at a Traditional Mass.

    Let’s also fast and pray for deliverance.

  15. JLC says:

    While disappointing, please note that they aren’t closing the embassy outright–it appears that the diplomats accredited to the Holy See will be moving into an “annex” on the grounds of the embassy in Rome: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/26/obamas-call-close-holy-see-embassy-slap-face-catho/

    Also note that there is precedent for this, we also have a tripartite mission in Brussels (NATO, EU, and Belgium) that seems to work OK.

    While it may be a security and cost-savings measure, at least officially, it does seem to endorse the current status of our diplomats working with the Vatican. They already feel like second-class players to the Embassy to Italy.

  16. robtbrown says:

    If memory serves, Clintonco also wanted to combine the two embassies. For the most part, it’s a political gesture.

    NB: The US embassy to the Holy See is not within the Vatican.

  17. Luvadoxi says:

    There’s no need to panic. They’re not closing the embassy, just moving it to better, more secure and less expensive (overhead) quarters closer to the Vatican. [Having spent the better part of two decades in Rome, I know where the embassies are. One embassy is CLOSING.] There’s an article in Zenit that explains it well. It’s not like the closing of the embassy in Ireland. So I couldn’t vote–none of the choices really fits the situation.

  18. TC says:

    I think its good not because it saves a few dollars but it reveals the administration’s real policies toward the Church. Why pretend? No longer a case of’ the mask slipping but they have taken it off.
    Now, does that mean the US has no relations with the Holy See, i.e. does the Papal Nuncio lose his ambassadorial status? [No, they are closing the embassy, not breaking relations.]

  19. Caesar says:

    Sorry Father, but I don’t think your description explains the case exactly. [Yes. It does.] The current embassy building is closing [I rest my case.] and moving to the building which houses the American embassy to Italy, albeit with a different entrance, mailing address and territory within the building.

    HOWEVER, as I understand it, that is still a serious dig at relations with the Holy See from the perspective of diplomatic protocol. States which cannot afford two embassies in Rome accredit one of their ambassadors in a neighbouring country to the Holy See.

  20. Marysann says:

    My husband and I are writing this together. We live in Rome and are fairly close to this situation. Some of what has been said in postings on this matter is rather misleading.
    The U.S. has three embassies in Rome — one to the Republic of Italy, one to the U.N. agencies (mainly the Food and Agriculture Organization) and one to the Holy See. Each has its own ambassador and staff, and that is not changing.
    The embassies to Italy and the UN are now co-located on a U.S.-owned compound in the Ludovisi district, along the Via Veneto. The Embassy to the Holy See has been housed in a converted two-story house on the Aventine Hill. The two locations are roughly equidistant from the Vatican. No country has an embassy to the Holy See within the confines of the Vatican. There is no room for them.
    U.S. taxpayers now pay an exorbitant $1.4 million a year in rent for the Aventine building, which is small, cramped and inadequate. The new location on the Ludovisi compound will be rent free, and the space to be occupied by our Vatican embassy is vastly superior to the Aventine location. We know. We have been in both. The new location is in the compound’s administrative support building, a grand old structure built in the early 1900’s as headquarters for an insurance company, and acquired by the U.S. government about 10 years ago. It is high-ceilinged, ornate and the Vatican embassy will have its own grand marble staircase entryway, adorned with ancient Roman statuary. Keep in mind that our ambassador to the Vatican will continue to live in the impressive residence for that position, Villa Richardson, on the Gianicolo Hill. This is where our embassy to the Holy See does all of its receptions and entertaining, so there will be no change on that front.
    Remember also, that Embassy staff explained these office move plans to the Vatican state administration some time ago, and they raised no objection to it. So if it is OK with the Vatican that we do this, it’s hard to see how one could call it a diplomatic offense or slap in the face to the Catholic Church.
    We hope the above makes clear that the U.S. is in no way, shape or form “closing” its diplomatic representation to the Holy See. It is just re-locating the staff’s offices, to save our taxpayers money.
    This is nothing like what Ireland did recently, when it really did close, remove all staff and shift the handling of relations with the Holy See to the Foreign Ministry offices in Dublin.
    Orthodox Catholics certainly have valid differences with the Obama administration, but the criticism voiced on this topic is way off target.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    [Yah yah. Yawn. Respondeo quaerendum:

    Cab fare around Rome: chump change.

    Rent for the world’s (still, for now, greatest) Superpower: $1.4 million.. chump change compared to the Obamacare website.

    Having a separate embassy for the Holy See, as if the Holy See counted for something at least symbolically? …]

  21. Sonshine135 says:

    I guess I am a rare bird in that I voted that it was a good move. While I agree it was politically motivated, the article I read stated that the Vatican Ambassador would take up residence in the Italian Embassy. I’m not opposed if it was done as a cost savings measure. I am opposed if it was done out of disrespect for the Holy See.

  22. swilson18 says:

    And Putin strategically visits Pope Francis just before the announcement, once again taking advantage of Obama’s inept decision making. What else will the future hold?


  23. Maxiemom says:

    Why is anyone surprised by this decision? I think it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t like Catholicism.

  24. Legisperitus says:

    With Russia becoming the international protector of Christians, and America becoming the worldwide exporter of secularism and immorality, a time traveler from 40 years ago would be justified in wondering what the heck happened. “Have the East and West magnetic poles reversed?”

  25. Lin says:

    I agree Father Z! This was intended to be a slap in the face. The cost to maintain is chump change compared to the money that is wasted daily by government. He has definitely empowered the Muslim countries since he took office; destroyed the US economy; further decimated the US educational system; ineptly attempted a hostile takeover of our nation’s healthcare system; thrown Israel under the bus; has successfully redistributed wealth in this country and out of this country; conned Catholics into supporting him; and this list does not even scratch the surface! God knows we cannot tolerate three more years of this. I do not recognize our country now! And have I mentioned that much prayer and fasting is required! Happy Thanksgivng!

  26. mddelala says:

    The embassy costs the U.S. 1.4 million a year.

    One (unus, uno, 1, I) tomahawk missile such as those Obama almost ordered to be thrown over Syria: US$1.4 million. (Yes, for EACH missile).

    It’s reaaaaaally difficult to think that this has nothing to do with the fact that Obama bassically hates the catholic church.

    BTW it’s interesting that the embassy worked on such a low budget.

  27. avatquevale says:

    The National Turkey.
    Am I the only one who found it offensive when Obama made the sign of the cross in a mock blessing over the Thanksgiving turkey? It was shown on international CNN, but domestic coverage may have cut the footage where Obama plays pope.

  28. AnneG says:

    Fr Z, did you correct this? The embassy is not closing. It never was in The Vatican City-state. [Who said it was?!?] The building is moving to another building. [?!?] The building is located on the same piece of land as the mission to Italy and the mission to FAO. [I think the US mission to FAO has a separate place.] It may be a slap but I think it isn’t. [Wrong on two counts. Yes, the embassy is closing. They can’t move a building. The embassy building and grounds are being closed and it will no long be THE EMBASSY. Instead the staff etc. are moving to the grounds of the open EMBASSY to Italy. If you want to go to the EMBASSY to the Holy See… you won’t be able to. If you want to find the Ambassador to the Holy See you will have to go to the US Embassy to Italy. And it is indeed a slap in the face. The closure of the EMBASSY and the relocation of the ambassador to the grounds of the Embassy to Italy also has symbolic meaning: The President of these USA doesn’t value relations with the Holy See enough to provide the ambassador with his own EMBASSY.]

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