Holy See Ya Later: U.S. Moving Vatican Embassy

And some Catholic Americans are not happy

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Andreras Solaro / AFP / Getty Images

Security men past the main entrance of the U.S. embassy to the Vatican on Dec. 29, 2010, in Rome

The U.S. is moving its stand-alone Vatican embassy into a bigger compound that’s also home to the American embassy to Italy. Why? In a word, savings: the State Department estimates it’ll keep another $1.4 million in its coffers annually once the shift is complete, according to the Washington Post.

The planned move was met with outrage from some in the U.S. who argue it’s a slight against the Vatican and Catholicism at large. Former U.S. ambassador James Nicholson called the move a “massive downgrade” in U.S.-Vatican relations. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, launched a website saying President Barack Obama “plans to close the U.S. embassy to the Vatican,” calling it “a slap in the face to Catholic Americans around the country,” though the Vatican embassy won’t be letting go of any of its seven staffers, notes the Post.

The State Department and Vatican have worked quickly to quiet the growing discontent over the planned move. U.S. officials this week highlighted the need for a more secure embassy location, while a Vatican spokesperson said the new American embassy is “well within the Holy See’s requirements for embassies and that relations with the United States are far from strained,” according to CNN.

What’s the big deal about the Vatican embassy? The Vatican is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world, landlocked by Italy but not part of it. That means foreign governments wishing to deal directly with the Vatican set up Vatican-specific embassies. Under the new plan, the U.S. will still have a Vatican embassy, but it will be outside the Vatican walls some 1.9 miles from the Holy See.

11 comments
BridgetC
BridgetC

This is the kind of shoddy partisan reporting that cause my mother to cancel her decades long subscription.

See, first you find all the FACTS, things like: Who, What Where When and Why.
Then you report those facts.

WHAT: The US embassy to the Vatican is moving.
WHERE: It is moving from what was a private residence to better secured building that is adjacent to the US Embassy to Italy, - the two will maintain separate entrances on separate streets. Oh, and the new embassy is a tenth of a mile CLOSER to the Vatican than the old one was. (and please note that no country has an embassy inside the Vatican City walls - there isn't room.)
WHY: Because the new location offers more in place security and we will save 1.4 million a year in lease and operating costs.
WHEN: the move will occur in 2015. The buildings were purchased several years ago during a different administration.
WHO: Well, since the buildings were purchased under the Bush 2 administration - you should be able to figure out when the plan to move began and whose State Department initiated it.

What you don't do is try to blame the current president for closing an embassy that isn't closing or imply that the current embassy is inside the Vatican walls when NO country has an embassy inside those walls.

s23bog
s23bog

Perhaps the Obama Administration is recognizing something here with this small gesture.

zelskid1
zelskid1

Savings include sale proceeds of old embassy?

larmarch5
larmarch5

The Author wrote, "Under the new plan, the U.S. will still have a Vatican embassy, but it will be outside the Vatican walls some 1.9 miles from the Holy See."

From the US Vatican Embassy website: "The United States Embassy to the Holy See, is located on the Aventine hill in the beautiful Villa Domiziana, which was built as a private residence in 1953. In 1994 the United States government acquired the property as the new chancery for the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See."

Maybe I should include this in a job application with Time.





donnertparty
donnertparty

Nonsense. There are no embassies for any country in Vatican City itself — there is simply no room. All countries locate their embassies in the city of Rome. The United States has decided to move its embassy from its current location — an unremarkable converted residence — to the same compound as the U.S. Embassy to Italy. It will have it’s own separate building and a separate entrance on a different street. The new building is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican than the old one. There will be no reduction in staff or activities. The move was planned during Bush II's administration.

fstein249
fstein249

No big deal. Almost all countries do the same thing. Typical hypocritical Republican bluster...

Openminded1
Openminded1

To the POPE we hope, To Obama the Muslim we can not wait on till 2016 for him to be out of the Oval office.

ChrisWeaver
ChrisWeaver

@Openminded1 Congratulations on believing the Republican lies on this.

1.  The move was originally put forth by President Bush.

2.  The current embassy is not in the Vatican.

3.  The new embassy will be closer to the Vatican than the old one.

4.  The move will save money while making the Vatican embassy more secure.

5.  While the Vatican embassy will now be on the same grounds as the Italian one, it will be in its own separate building.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ChrisWeaver @Openminded1 Chris I am catholic and i do not give a dam where the american embassy is located in the Vatican or outside of the Vatican walls. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ChrisWeaver @Openminded1 That is your opinion. You do know opinions are like ass holes,everyone has one,only some are better then others. Lighten up it really does not matter what location the Embassy is located . as long as it is secure and logistically makes sense.