Envoy Sketches Vision for US-Vatican Relations

Article excerpt

VATICAN CITY. The new American ambassador to the Holy See met the press Oct. 5, for the first time since his nomination was announced in May.

Miguel H. Diaz received a group of 10 American and Italian reporters at the official ambassador's residence on Rome's Janiculum Hill, three days after presenting his credentials to Pope Benedict XVI.

When Diaz presented his credentials to Benedict Oct. 2, he drew a pledge of cooperation on international issues from the pope, as well as clear insis tence upon "the inalienable right to life from the moment of conception to natural death," and "the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care workers, and indeed all citizens," Both abortion and the rights of conscience are important issues in the health care reform debate currently underway in the United States.

Meeting with journalists Oct. 5, Diaz stressed the priorities that he said the Obama administration has in common with the Vatican, sketching out an agenda of collaboration in working against terrorism, religiously inspired violence, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking, and in favor of interracial, intercultural and interreliglous dialogue.

"The points where we have coordination today between this president and the Holy See are more than just one," he said, speaking in Italian, as he did for much of the meeting. "We have the possibility of collaboration on so many points. …