f_0022601_18593 - Religion and Democracy: The Emerging...

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The Ambassadors REVIEW 39 Religion and Democracy: The Emerging Diplomacy of Pope Benedict XVI Francis Rooney United States Ambassador to the Holy See, 2005-2008 hile 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.” 1 During the two World Wars, Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII boldly promoted peace without preconditions. The jovial Pope John XXIII and more reserved Pope Paul VI implemented the Vatican II reforms. The unforgettable legacy of John Paul II, the Polish Pope, is his unswerving opposition to communism. The current Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, continues the diplomatic tradition of the Holy See aimed at salvaging faith in some parts of the world and promoting reason in others. While Benedict XVI is often characterized as being less media-centric and charismatic than his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, he demonstrated remarkable strategic focus and clarity in his papal visit to the United Kingdom, September 16-20, 2010. His spirit of goodwill enabled him to overcome vocal and hostile opposition to the visit and, as a result, this visit will likely be remembered as a defining moment for the diplomacy of the Holy See. In his in-flight press conference, the Pope made it clear that he wasn’t willing to compromise or soften his outreach, saying that “a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power.” 2 Free of constraints of political correctness or hegemonic aspirations, the Holy See has often exhibited a unique clarity and honesty in its discourse. The visit to the United Kingdom was no exception. During the same press conference, the Pope expressed his gratitude towards Queen Elizabeth for elevating the trip to the level of a state visit. The Pope said that the visit reflected the “common responsibility of politics and religion for the future of the continent and the future of humanity: the large, shared responsibility so that the values that create 1 Francis Campbell, (14 October 2010), “The Crown’s Oldest Diplomatic Relationship is With the Papacy,” Speech presented at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, United Kingdom. 2 “Pope Benedict: Interview,” Catholic Communications Network , 16 September 2010. Available online: www.thepapalvisit.org.uk/Replay-the-Visit/Speeches/Speeches-16-September/Pope-Benedict-Interview . W
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0022601_18593 - Religion and Democracy: The Emerging...

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