Monday, February 20, 2012

Holy See Must Do It Our Way, It Seems

Under pressure, it seems the government is trying to wriggle its way out of the embassy debacle, but see how they are trying to do it.  Eamon Gilmore, Labour Minister for Foreign Affairs, has said that Ireland will reconsider reopening the embassy to the Holy See, if the Holy See changes its rule on doubling up on embassies to Italy/Holy See.  In other words - if the Vatican changes the rules then we'll reconsider - I presume then, if the Vatican doesn't agree, then it's the Vatican's fault, and Gilmore and Co. can throw their hands in the air.  He's calling it "flexibility" - if the Holy See is "flexible", then the government could be "flexible".

We have seen this approach before; it is in fact typical liberal methodology.  We have heard the same argument for contraception, divorce, abortion, gay marriage - if only the Vatican/Catholic Church would change its rules/teaching, then we'd all get on fine.  

Why does the Minister think that we in Ireland deserve an exemption to a rule which every other country in the world which has diplomatic relations with the Vatican, including the most powerful, the US and UK for example, have no problem respecting?  Do we really think that Ireland is so important in world affairs that we can put a gun to the Pope's head and expect him to blink?  Are we so vital to things that the Holy See must fawn to the infantile teenage rebels that populate the current administration in a country that does not even govern the whole of the little island on which it is based?

David Quinn wrote an excellent article last week on the issue of the embassy - he points out why the Holy See and the Pope must have an independent state - to guarantee that the Pope and the Church cannot be dominated by any one political administration.  He makes a very interesting point which I wholly agree with: he writes: "...the pope and the Holy See are ultimately more important in world affairs than Ireland or any Taoiseach could ever hope to be. Some of us might not like that, but it's a fact."  This is true and it is something the government needs to keep in mind. 

The rule which governs embassies and does not allow doubling up on missions to Italy is part of the Lateran Treaty, the Treaty which the Holy See and Italy entered into and ended the standoff which had resulted from the invasion of the Papal States by Italian nationalists.  It also recognised the right of the Holy See to its sovereignty, and established the Vatican City State as an independent country.  

The Holy See will have to consider whether housing two embassies in one the house is possible.   But why must the Holy See be the one to make compromises when this government is so hardline and insulting in its relations with the Vatican?  Why should the Holy See be "flexible" with a regime that breached diplomatic courtesies.? Is it not the Irish government who should make the move?  After all, the citizens of this country have made it very clear that they do not agree with the government's decision: is it not time to start listening to people that elected them?

I wonder, is Gilmore, in making his demand, interfering in the internal life of an independent sovereign state and laying down the condition that that country has to change the founding document which establishes its independence if Ireland is to reopen its diplomatic mission?  That is very interesting given recent history and accusations from the Taoiseach (unfounded accusations).  It is also deeply ironic as we see Minister Gilmore and his cohorts in the present administration, fawning over the Chinese Vice President in recent days.   No word about China making any changes to its policies.

1 comment:

  1. So the worldwide Catholic Church is co-extensive with the country of Italy? It's like suggesting the embassy to the UN could also be embassy to the USA!!