Vatican Op-eds

Vatican Op-Eds

President Trump’s Vatican Visit Highlights The Importance of Diplomatic Ties
By  Francis Rooney
5.16.2017  |  The Daily Caller

President Trump’s decision to visit the Vatican on his first overseas trip underscores the importance of United States diplomatic relations with the Holy See. History shows that the moral persuasion, or “soft power” diplomacy, of the Holy See is an important resource for successful pursuit of American foreign policy goals. Going forward, the United States and the Holy See should work together on their common objectives of defeating Islamic extremism and promoting human rights… READ MORE

Religious Freedom and Islamic Society
By  Francis Rooney
5.5.2017  |  Real Clear Policy

This is the second of a two-part series on religious freedom by Rep. Francis Rooney. For part 1, see “The Role of Religious Freedom Today.”

As discussed in the first article in this series, free expression of religion can stabilize civil societies and has helped defeat extremist ideologies. Currently, Islamic society is stuck in the past and uses an extreme interpretation of the Koran to justify barriers to the free expression of religion, such as blasphemy laws, and for violent religious persecution. Promoting religious freedom, including the values of free expression and dialogue, will help undermine these blasphemy laws, hopefully leading to their elimination, and will allow Muslim leaders to freely speak out to reform Islam from within.. READ MORE

The Role of Religious Freedom Today 
By  Francis Rooney
5.4.2017  |  Real Clear Politics

This is the first of a two-part series on religious freedom by Rep. Francis Rooney.

Throughout history religion has played a stabilizing role in society. When practiced freely, religion establishes a moral compass for people to follow, which in turn leads to tolerance of differing views and comity in civil society. Free expression of religion allows pluralistic religious organizations to exist within modern secular states, and can ease ideological conflicts by transforming volatile societies into models of peaceful coexistence.. READ MORE

The U.S. and the Holy See: Evolving Attitudes 
By  Francis Rooney
9.23.2015  |  The Georgetowner

Whatever challenges and changes each face, the United States and the Holy See remain two of the most significant institutions in world history, one a beacon of democracy and progress, the other a sanctum of faith and allegiance to timeless principles. Despite the obvious differences between the first modern democracy and the longest surviving Western monarchy, both were founded on the idea that “human persons” possess inalienable natural rights granted by God. This had been a revolutionary concept when the Catholic Church embraced it 2,000 years ago, and was equally revolutionary when the Declaration of Independence stated it 1,800 years later… READ MORE

Welcome to America – The pope’s visit to the U.S. is a historic opportunity to demonstrate American values
By Francis Rooney
9.21.2015  |  U.S. News

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit to the United States offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of the significant role that the pope and the Holy See play in world affairs. And just as important, the visit will afford Francis a glimpse at the fundamental values at work in the United States, providing a unique occasion to inform his views on crucial economic, human rights and environmental issues. Francis has never visited the United States, so there is a historic opportunity to demonstrate how American values can help resolve many vexing global problems…READ MORE

A Papal Bull for Foggy Bottom
By Francis Rooney and Maximillian Angerholzer III
7.26.2013  |  Real Clear Religion 

Met by crowds inspired by both adoration (for the Pope) and indignation (towards their government), the visit of Pope Francis to Brazil provides valuable insights for how the United States can better approach its Latin American neighbors.

The pronouncements of Pope Francis, a Pope of many firsts (first Jesuit, first from the Western Hemisphere), reflect a new Catholic evangelization based around human rights, social justice, and basic dignity. His austere lifestyle, stretching back to his days as a Jesuit priest in Buenos Aires, reflect his desire to refocus the Catholic Church towards its social mission of providing both physical and spiritual nourishment to the masses…READ MORE

The Global Vatican: A Supra-National Force for Good
By Francis Rooney
10.30.2013  |  American Enterprise Institute 

With the latest controversy in Germany and the ongoing scandal over priests charged with sexual abuse, it is clear that the Catholic Church, being a human enterprise, occasionally falls short, and its leaders sin greatly. But these lapses do not overshadow the good the church has accomplished in the past and — more to the point — can accomplish in the future…READ MORE

U.S. Must Embrace Holy See 
By Francis Rooney
10.26.2013  |  USA Today

The past few years have seen cordial but cooling relations between the United States and the Vatican. Since President Obama took office, he has visited the Vatican just once, and the administration has demonstrated little more than a perfunctory interest in the Holy See’s diplomatic role in the world. This is a lost opportunity at a critical time for America. U.S. foreign policy has much to gain from its relationship with the Holy See, the governing body of the Catholic Church. No institution on earth has both the international stature and the global reach of the Holy See — the “soft power” of moral influence and authority to promote religious freedom, human liberties, and related values that Americans and our allies uphold worldwide…READ MORE

The Diplomacy of the Holy See in the Modern Era
By Francis Rooney
9.9.2013  |  E-International Relations

In the increasingly secular environment of the developed western world, driven by rapid information exchange and an unprecedented degree of inter-personal connectivity, one might consider the role the Holy See plays in the affairs of states and international relations as a quaint anachronism or a vestige of the distant past, and thus seek to consign the Holy See to obscurity.  However, to do so would ignore the ageless foundation upon which Holy See diplomacy is based, and the fact that it remains as relevant to humanity in the 21st century as it has been in the past. It would also fail to account for the unique role the Holy See plays now, lacking a territorial agenda, in the cultural and religion-inspired conflicts around the world today…READ MORE

Reflecting on Pope Benedict’s Papacy
By Francis Rooney
2.21.2013  |  First Things

Pope Benedict XVI’s humble and selfless resignation, effective February 28, should be seen as a fitting closure on a papacy that was quietly significant. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected in the 2005 conclave, many pundits viewed him as a temporary officeholder. Yet Benedict XVI fulfilled the legacy he set out for himself when choosing the name of the World War I pope….READ MORE

Archbishop Sambi will be greatly missed 
By Francis Rooney
8.11.2011  |  Tulsa World

The death of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Papal Nuncio to the United States for the last five years, is a great loss for the diplomatic community in Washington, D.C., and for the world. A veteran diplomat with many years experience in Israel and Palestine, Sambi brought a depth of knowledge and personal credibility to the diplomacy of the Holy See that will be greatly missed…READ MORE

Religion and Democracy: The Emerging Diplomacy of Pope Benedict XVI 
By Francis Rooney
Spring 2011  |  The Ambassadors Review

While many Americans only see him as a spiritual leader of Roman Catholics, the Pope exerts an often subtle but undeniable influence in international affairs. The Pope is the final authority of the Holy See, which derives its name from “seat” in Latin and signifies the repository of authority and direction over the organization and affairs of the Church. As an institution and sovereign, the Holy See is the “oldest diplomatic entity in the world.”…READ MORE