Magazine article The Christian Century

As Envoy to Vatican, Hispanic Theologian Will Stress Collaboration

Magazine article The Christian Century

As Envoy to Vatican, Hispanic Theologian Will Stress Collaboration

Article excerpt

The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, who was nominated to the post in late May and was easily approved by the Senate, met the press recently in Rome for the first time--and showed some diplomatic skill.

Miguel H. Diaz received a group of ten American and Italian reporters at the official ambassador's residence on Rome's Janiculum Hill on October 5, three days after presenting his credentials to Pope Benedict XVI.

Emphasizing the priorities that he said the Obama administration has in common with the Vatican, Diaz sketched out an agenda of collaboration against terrorism, religiously inspired violence, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking and in favor of interracial, intercultural and interreligious 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."

As might be expected, Diaz downplayed differences over abortion and other biomedical issues which, as one reporter mentioned, the pope himself raised with President Obama when they met at the Vatican in July.

"In any international relationship between two states, it's normal to have differences," he said, quoting Obama's statement that it is possible to "disagree without being disagreeable."

The ambassador voiced his ambition to be a "bridge builder" between the Vatican and the White House, a job that he acknowledged would include explaining Catholic teaching on controversial issues to the Obama administration. …

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