The Deacon's Bench

The new U.S. envoy to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz, had his first sit-down with reporters on Monday, and stressed dialogue and “collaboration”:

Stressing 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 Church teaching on controversial issues to the Obama administration.

“But I think it’s important that one understands, too, that I’m not representing the church,” said Diaz, who is Catholic, making a point he repeated several times. “I’m representing the United States and my president.” 

There’s more at the link.

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