Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 2011 travel posts - July 14

Well, the last post wasn't quite the last. We met this afternoon with His Excellency, Dr. Manuel Diaz, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Dr. Diaz is a Cuban American with a PhD in theology from the University of Notre Dame. He was appointed ambassador to the Holy See (ie, Vatican) because of his strong support for Barack Obama's campaign for president. Dr. Diaz taught at St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, where my friend Columba Stewart also teaches.

Ambassador Diaz spoke of the significance of having an ambassador to the Holy See because of the Vatican's many contacts around the world in places where U.S. influence is negative or negligible. Diaz has convened meetings of religious leaders in Rome to deal with topics such as climate change and conflict resolution. He spoke warmly of the Archbishop of Canterbury's understanding of his favorite theologian, Karl Rahner. I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to a conversation among Diaz, Benedict XVI and Archbishop Williams.

On the other hand, even the ambassador to the Vatican and his wife and four children are heavily protected by the Italian secret service and are taken from place to place in an armored SUV. What a world we live in...

See the photo of Dr. Diaz and my group on my Facebook page.