Obama Administration Planning to Relocate Embassy to Holy See


From Zenit:
Steps are reportedly being taken to relocate the U.S. embassy to the Holy See onto the grounds of the American embassy to Italy.

Although no official decision has been announced, the move appears likely and is being justified on grounds of enhanced security.

Previous American ambassadors to the Holy See contacted by the National Catholic Reporter have said they are opposed to the plans.

Yet another sign of the utter disrespect that the Obama Administration holds for the Holy See and for Catholics at large.


Why is this such an insult?

It’s not as if the current US Embassy is a building in Vatican City itself, it’s a villa in the Aventine. I’d have thought moving it to Via Veneto would make some sense.


As an American taxpayer I see it as a good thing, as a Catholic I don’t see it as necessarily a bad thing.


It depends on whether they’re going to relocate it to the same grounds or the same building. The same building might be a problem. The UK embassy to the Holy See is in a separate building on the same grounds.
It also must be stressed that they must still have a different ambassador. The 1929 Lateran Treaty does not permit ambassadors to have dual accreditation to the Italian state and the Holy See. That’s why since Ireland closed it’s embassy to the Holy See it had to accredit a civil servant based in Dublin to the Holy See.


I really do not know how to view this. I don’t think it would be taken as an insult by the Vatican. I am not sure why anyone would see it in such a way either.


Economic maybe. Probably saves a chunk of bucks too.:wink:


This administration is not well known for its economizing. Other reasons probably explain it better.


Not enough detail to tell what it means. Location of the building (within reason) matters little. But if the underlying reason here is so that they can gut the Holy See Ambassador of resources and support staff thus relegating him to a broom closet, it rather matters. That’s not what the press release would say, of course. Look for announcements regarding “consolidation of staff, reduction of duplicate services, enhanced efficiency, etc.” Those would be the code words that the Holy See ambassador will be losing his support structure (bet on him having little to no access to staff and resources “shared” with an ambassador to Italy.

Can’t tell from the article which it is.


Whether there's some ulterior motive, of course, is none of my business but the Embassy to the Holy See would, surely, be much more Ambassadorial than the usual Ambassadorial plus a large range of commercial, defence . . . and day-to-day diplomatic, bureaucratic and 'things happening to Americans, Americans getting up to things' business of a normal Embassy.


There is a security concern if the US Embassy is at the Vatican. Al Qeda could use a car bomb to level the place if it is not protected.


The US Ambassador to Italy does not have his office at the Vatican. The Ambassador to the Vatican currently has a separate office near the Vatican but not on Vatican grounds.

I agree that the likely reason for this will be identified as “cost-savings” but what that will actually mean is reduction in services to the Ambassador and to the Holy See.


There wouldn’t be much difference in distance whether Via Veneto or the Aventine (where the Embassy to the Holy See can be found at the moment).

Central Rome is actually quite a small area with travel times decided by the kind of streets (number of tourist attractions), number of junctions, which bridge across the Tiber and traffic density rather than distance - in that case Via Veneto would likely win.


U.S. to Downscale Its Vatican Embassy, Raising Concern Among Catholics—Including Five Former Ambassadors

But many Catholics—among them five former U.S. Ambassadors to the Holy See—strongly disagree, calling the plan a “massive downgrade” in U.S./Vatican relations.
Former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson, who served as Secretary of Veterans Affairs under George W. Bush and as chairman of the Republican National Committee, said, “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy.”

Ambassador Francis X. Rooney, author of The Global Vatican who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2005 to 2008, agrees. ”In the diplomatic world,” Rooney said, “ if you don’t have your own separate space, you’re on the road to nowhere.”

There is a Fishwrap article too, which is quoted by this blog. You can find it on the Fishwrap website. I don’t link the Fishwrap.


the Irish government did it recently and it was meant as insult to the Vatican by a very anti catholic Labour party, I think it saves 250,000 a year by doing it. looks like the USA is now going to follow suit.
in Irish terms saving that amount of money per year is miniscule. one of the other notiable things about the Irish closing its embassy was the other ones it left open, what other embassy is the US closing?


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