Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Word From Rome is up - not quite as interesting as in previous weeks - a report (posted earlier in the week as a separate story) on the study group on pedophilia and the priesthood that met last week, more discussions about homosexuality and the priesthood, and John Allen's interview with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton"

For Italians, the big news was that Bolton met with Ruini rather than Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s secretary of state and hence the pope’s “prime minister.” Sodano has been sharply critical of the U.S.-led war, while Ruini has opposed the war but has also criticized anti-American tendencies in the European peace movement.

Strictly speaking, the meeting with Ruini was puzzling from the point of view of protocol, and some church-watchers felt it was poor form on Ruini’s part — a kind of upstaging of Sodano on his own turf. Bolton went out of his way at the press conference to praise Ruini as someone with “knowledge and familiarity on some of these issues.” ....

...While the Bush administration may want to forgive and forget, sources tell me the Vatican is not so eager to forget their objections now that things seemed more or less settled on the ground. Certainly the Holy See wants to work with the United States on post-war issues, especially a settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian problem, and it’s also true that some in the curia believe the pope’s anti-war line was exploited by groups with a completely different agenda from the church. At the same time, there is a wide sense in the Vatican that the U.S. decision to go to war without a United Nations mandate, and without having exhausted all peaceful means of achieving disarmament and reform, was dangerous. As one senior Vatican official put it to me April 10, “Even if the war is over, the moral question remains.”