The Pontifical North American College

December 14, 2015

Ambassador Rooney Presents on “The Global Vatican”

On December 9, 2015, the College was privileged to welcome the Honorable Francis Rooney, former ambassador of the United States to the Holy See (2005 to 2008) and long-time friend of the College. The Ambassador energetically shared from his experiences as ambassador and gave us some privileged insights into his research while writing of his new book, The Global Vatican (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).

Many of us were surprised to learn that the Vatican has the second largest diplomatic corps in the world, trailing only the United States. Ambassador Rooney stressed that the Holy See is uniquely positioned today to defend the natural rights of all people because of its independence, political neutrality, and large following as the center of a world faith, the Catholic Church. This point was well summed up by the soundbite of the night, which received an ovation from the seminarian audience: “No group can speak as clearly and candidly as the Church. The Church doesn’t have special interest groups; its only special interest is God! And that’s a good one.”

Ambassador Rooney also insisted that the “soft power” of the Holy See is uniquely allied with the “hard power” of the United States as two sovereign countries that are based upon the natural rights of man. The Ambassador believes that together, they can effect great change for good in the world.

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Christian Huebner (Washington, ’19) asks a question of Ambassador Rooney during the conference on December 9.

In the face of today’s global problems, Ambassador Rooney ended the night by encouraging us seminarians to be “the front line in an army of compassion,” drawing the analogy that just as the Holy See is able to do good on the global stage, so we can be prepared to make a difference in the lives of those whom we will one day serve.

The community genuinely enjoyed Ambassador Rooney’s presentation and The Global Vatican promises to be an intelligent insight into the unique relationship between the Successor of Saint Peter and the United States of America.