Unholy Mess at the Holy See: Vatican Rejects Three Candidates For U.S. Ambassador Over Abortion Views

120px-bentoxvi-30-10052007225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obamaThe Vatican has reportedly rejected at least three of President Obama’s candidates for the position of U.S. ambassador to the Holy See because they support abortion. It appears that the representatives of the United States must agree with the policies of Pope Benedict XVI.

I am not aware of this particular requirement for other nations like China, Russia, or countries with which we have major disputes. However, it creates a particularly difficult position for the White House since ambassadors are supposed to reflect the views of the President, who happens to be extremely pro-choice.

This could be particularly awkward when Mr. Obama attends a summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Italy in July if there is no ambassador. However, does this mean that other nations like Saudi Arabia could bar an ambassador who opposes Sharia law? Conversely, does our ambassador to Israel have to support the position of that country on Jerusalem or Gaza? The general assumption is that our ambassadors are meant to represent the views of the American (and not the host) nation.

The story leaked by an Italian journalist will now put Obama in a position of (1) leaving the post ope, (2) conspicuously selecting someone without a stated position on the subject, or (3) using a pro-life litmus test for the selection of our next ambassador.

For the full story, click here.

62 thoughts on “Unholy Mess at the Holy See: Vatican Rejects Three Candidates For U.S. Ambassador Over Abortion Views”

  1. bUDDHA:

    I dont necessarily disagree with that, the moon shot was something that was worthwhile as is the space station and as you say the particle accelerators are certaily providing good things.

    But generally I think most science should be left to the private sector because of government influence into the process of research.

    I am assuming that those were the types of things Gyges had in mind and so I would agree with him. But you have to be careful with state sponsered science, we all know how well that worked out under Hitler. There was some really crazy stuff along with the weapons systems (which we benefited from as did the Soviets although did we really).

  2. Bron,

    While I agree that the politicization of science is a bad thing for science, I think you fail to understand the scope of the problems and actual research costs that go into scientific research. Some endeavors, like high energy particle physics, are sciences that require national efforts to build like the Tevatron Collider at our own Fermilab. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN requires multinational cooperation to build the necessary equipment. Particle accelerators are complex, huge in scale and incredibly expensive to build and maintain. Very few, if any, corporations could afford this type of device absent governmental assistance. And high energy physics research affects, oh, just about everything in the modern world from electronics to medicine to space exploration to answering some of the more esoteric questions of quantum mechanics and particle theory. Now this is not to say all good science is expensive science. A lot of good science gets done on remarkably little money, public or otherwise. But the expensive stuff, well, it’s really expensive.

  3. Gyges:

    I doubt environmental and scientific research budgets have lead to the current crisis. but I dont think science should be funded by government, it becomes too political. A conservative administration will fund research showing abotion causes cancer, a liberal administration will fund research showing any consumption of beef is bad for you.

  4. Gyges:

    what is my circular reasoning? and what straw man did I throw in?

  5. MikeS:

    I know corruption exists, I understand your arguments and I agree that government needs to be a referee through the rule of law, but only through the rule of law. Issues between people who freely engage in commerce should be handled by an impartial legal system.

    The system has been broken since the inception of the Federal Reserve Bank. That institution needs to be sent packing and we need to stop funding everything through borrowing. If we dont have the money we shouldnt pay for it. A government should not go into debt at the people’s expense.

    I wish Professor Turley would address that on Rachel Maddow some night-The elimination of the Federal Reserve Bank and use Jeffersons thoughts on central banking as the central argument.

  6. Bron,

    I understand that, but your argument went from sound to circular (with a good bit of straw man thrown in) in about 30 seconds.

    Person 1: “I believe A and to prove it here’s example X”
    Person 2: “Here’s my feelings of example X”
    Person 1: “Yes well that can’t be true because I believe A.”

  7. Gyges:

    I was using green technology as an example of government interference in the market and how they would need to apply “incentives” through either tax mechanisms or reduction in regulations if there is no really market interest in green technology.

  8. “Your way has been tried for the last what, 70 years and it isnt working too well for us.”

    Our way, as you put it, was in effect between 1932 and 1964 (the Start of Viet Nam escalation) and worked very well. It was our country’s greatest era of economic growth and economic equity. Your way was implemented by Reagan in 1980 and for 3 decades has seen the erosion of the middle class, the rise of the Corporate/MI Complex controlled State and the erosion of our Constitutional rights. That seems to be the point you refuse to see, probably because you allow pre-conceptions to get in your way. There is no such thing as Classic Capitalism or pure capitalism. These are constructs that have little to do with reality and a lot to do with propaganda. The greatest threats to our country have come from those who while seeming to espouse a free market do everything they can to tilt that market in their direction. This has been true throughout American history and World history. The desire of people to make a buck trumps all ethical concerns and certainly leads to mischief like poisoned aquifers, harmful medications and unregulated investment products worth nothing. Government provides the balance and protects us from these predators.

    Because you are an ethical businessman does not mean that most are. The fact is the reverse is true. The human ability to rationalize their own corrupt practices is boundless and that is the problem with Libertarian ideals. They sound great but in the end the crookedest and most powerful will rule if unchecked. Sad fact, but historically faultlessly true.


  9. Bron,

    BTW, I took the velcro thing in the spirit it was offered. I just like to admit it when I’m wrong.

  10. Bron,

    We both agree that there are things wrong with the U.S economy, and I suspect we agree on what a large percent of those things are. However, that’s not really relevant to if Environmental regulations and Scientific research are worth having on a national level. We were discussing the merits of those two things.

    If DO you think the tiny percent of the Fed. and State budgets that goes to science research combined with environmental regulations are responsible for this crisis, I’m very interested in that theory.

  11. Gyges:

    I did not put the Velcro link up as a rebuttal of your entire argument. It was for informational purposes only (well a small nudge in the ribs too!).

    All I can say is I think what I am saying makes sense and will work in reality. Your way has been tried for the last what, 70 years and it isnt working too well for us.

    Current economic system is broke, it does not need to be fixed or tweaked it needs to be replaced.

  12. Bron,

    So I was wrong about the velcro, I’m pretty sure I’m right about the rest though.

  13. Gyges:

    I love velcro! And it was invented by a private individual.

    Sure some people/businesses will look to short term profits but they will be out of business pretty quickly. I have work right now and I attribute it to the fact that I am fair to my clients, I did not stick it to them during the housing boom and I could have. I have heard stories of engineers in similar circumstances making twice what I made over the last few years but I still have work. Although they are probably retired in Florida. Well anyway you understand my point and I yours.

  14. Bron,

    Do you like Velcro, The internet, knowing how your medicine interacts with things, less congested traffic, having stable populations of fish\wildlife, all sorts of medical procedures, devices, drugs, etc? Then thank the Gov’t. You should fund research because you ultimately will benefit from it.

    As for the funky anecdotal things you hear about all the time, most of that is misunderstood, and even if it wasn’t the good far outweighs the bad. Like I said, there’s little way of telling what research will be useful.

    As far as regulation goes, you continually overlook that people will often choose short-term profit over long term success, and that they also can make bad decisions. I’m not saying every business should be regulated so it succeeds, I’m saying that every business should be regulated so that it doesn’t do lasting physical harm to people’s health and property if it makes a bad choice. Think drug testing.

  15. gYGES:

    “most new scientific discoveries are too complex\expensive to be funded privately”

    Why should I have to pay for this? Why shouldnt private orgs fund research and take the risk and reward? that way we dont get funky science that goes off on tangents at tax payer expense. I can hear the critics already but private orgs are going to put a cost benefit analysis to proposals and will generally not be political (I did say generally).

    I look at regulations as I do the building codes, they are the minimum necessary to deliver. If you dont have a building code you get shoddy workmanship right? Probably not, the best contractors and engineers/architects are going to build something that stays up and is well made because it is in their best interest to make a good product, if they dont they go out of business. this same logic applies to all private enterprise. One thing I will admit to though is that this requires consumers to be well informed and responsible for their choices.

    Do you actually believe that the FDIC is going to cover the money in your account up to $250 k?

  16. Bron,

    Now I’m not what you’d probably think of as a Liberal, so any justifications are my own. I’m closer to Libertarian than anything else, but think that some of their stances aren’t really practical, and quite frankly I love the National Park system. I don’t like using taxes and tax breaks as incentives. I think we’re in agreement on that.

    However I DO think the government SHOULD fund research and impose regulations on businesses. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained my stance on both of those.

    We all accept regulations on driving because we realize that if we drive dangerously we could injure others and destroy their property. Just extend that logic to environmental regulations, we regulate businesses when their actions can injure others or destroy their property.

    As for funding research, since most everyone in a society society benefits from an increased knowledge pool, I have no problem taxing money to ensure that the knowledge pool keeps expanding.most new scientific discoveries are too complex\expensive to be funded privately. Now you might say “then leave it to the corporations to do new research” The problem is that scientific research is also a hugely risky investment, there’s no guarantee that any particular theory will be correct, and even if it is that there’s a practical way to apply it to make money. There’s also the potential for HUGE conflicts of interest.

  17. Gyges:

    Maybe wallet is not exactly what I am trying to say. For example Obama wants to implement a “green” economy. But does it make economic sense? If it did dont you think we would already be green as a country? One thing I know is that my greedy capitalist buddies will always try and make or save money. Obama is going to have to use tax policy to get that going so it really isnt a “free” market it is being manipulated. And it is an artificial allocation of resources, in my mind a misallocation of resources is going to cost the tax payers money and deprive them of the ability to make choices, thereby impacting their wallet.

    your thoughts?

  18. John,
    Your initial comments on this thread were brief and basically statements of your belief. All of those statements have a long history of discourse and have achieved the status of faux-conservative memes. Therefore when you say you oppose abortion the prime inference is that you seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, not that it’s a particular moral stance that you do not wish to impose on others. Taken with your pseudonym and given the propensity of pseudo-conservative trolls to merely make statements, it was a more than reasonable assumption to see you as more of the same. Perhaps you are not and perhaps you are someone who thinks for himself and if that is the case welcome aboard.

    “If you mean my death penalty stance, then I wold argue that I am placing the innocent individual— the victim— above a murderer.”

    My point to you was how do you as a conservative cum objectivist trust the government enough to believe that it will execute the right people? To me that is a dichotomy.

    “Secondly, I said that the church has acknowledged room for debate on the death penalty NOT that they endorsed it.”

    While this is true the RCC’s position seems hypocritical, since it heaps moral opprobrium on those supporting Roe v. Wade, but has in essence remains neutral on those supporting a death penalty. If one’s moral stance is “murder is murder” and therefore violates the commandment not to kill than this should hold true across the board. You and I know, however, that in the RCC’s history they have encouraged or made war many times. To me, given that, it is difficult for them to assume any moral high ground.

    “Third, just because I believe abortion is wrong doesn’t mean I want to impose my will on anyone”

    This is very reasonable on your part and really clarifies your position. In that sense, representing your moral stance,
    I applaud it. However, you surely are not blind to the battle taking place for more than three decades on Roe v. Wade and a mere statement, as you initially made, must be assumed to be against choice in the matter.

    “Fourth, just because I am pro death penalty doesn’t mean I’m pro lynching. Are you people even serious?”

    My point, possibly unclear I’ll admit, was that for someone whose pseudonym celebrates Objectivism, therefore distrust of government’s ability to perform properly, how can you believe that prosecutors and police will get it right? The lynching aspect was my being snide towards Objectivist belief in the fallibility of government. However, from a serious standpoint I cannot get how death penalty advocates, generally believers in governmental incompetence, would trust the government to execute the right people. I am personally not against the death penalty per se, but I believe that if even one innocent person is executed then the whole process is invalid. We have seen evidence that definitely more than one person has either been executed, or faced it. Therefore, I cannot support the process and I am loath to believe there is any method that will ensure 100% certainty of guilt.

    “Lastly, (Buddha, Mike I’m looking at you), it is useless and immature to attack someone because a personal conception of a label that you think fits them based on a handful of internet posts.”

    You are new to this site and have not seen the profusion of trolls who attack incessantly, using the same type of short postings that you did. Coupling that with an iconic pseudonym (to some at least)having specific connotations, would lead any thinking person to believe that here is more of the same. My method for dealing with these types has been ridicule, since I’ve found that engaging them in debate is fruitless. It is fruitless not because they disagree with me, but because their only methodology is to attack and not respond to what is being written. Perhaps my reaction to you was hasty, but all I had to go on was the evidence you gave me.

    “I think the world has heard enough Catholic bashing, and the nation has surely heard enough capitalism-bashing.”

    I am not an RCC basher per se, but when that Church seeks to interfere with political processes, then I do find room to criticize. I believe fervently in a separation between church and state.

    As far as capitalism goes I am for it. However, capitalism
    does not mean corporatism and the terms have too long been confused. Secondly, the term socialism is bandied about in this country ignorantly. In my life I have known more true socialists, Marxists and communists than most. For the most part I didn’t like them since they were too driven by ideology and they didn’t like me because ideology bores me. Since I received the information from the source I’ve got a pretty good understanding of what socialism is, that
    being total ownership/control of the means of production by the State. Certainly not a good idea. However, the overriding philosophy of the last 30 years that posits a “free market” that is non-existent in reality, presents an irrational alternative. Making the discussion harder is that these words are constantly bandied about as mantras, devoid of meaning.

    This site has been a blessing for people of all points of view in that our Ringmaster Jonathan has presented a site where people can actually have in depth discussions and exchange disparate points of view. If that is to your liking welcome aboard again, but understand that one actually needs to put some thought into their postings.

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