Monday, January 13, 2014

30 years ago: U.S.A. and Vatican reopen full diplomatic relations

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:..
...And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth...
... And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 17:3-4, 7-9, 18

On January 10, 1984, the United States and the Vatican reestablished full diplomatic relations after a hiatus of 117 years.

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Holy See began in the 18th century when the Papal States (before their absorption into Italy) agreed to open several Mediterranean ports to U.S. shipping. In 1797 John B. Sartori, an Italian, was named U.S. Consul...

In 1847, at the request of President James K. Polk, the U.S. Senate established a diplomatic post in the Papal States...until 1867 when anti-Catholic elements in the United States succeeded in getting the diplomatic mission eliminated.

Informal relations resumed in 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Myron C. Taylor as his "personal envoy" to the Holy See...

In 1981, President Reagan named William A. Wilson, a Catholic, to the post. Wilson served until 1984, when the Vatican and the U.S. began full diplomatic relations and Wilson was made the first U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Columbia (Knights of Columbus magazine), June 1990, p. 8 (cited by Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (1994), p. 226)

Carl McIntire, President of the International Council of Christian Churches, expressed his displeasure at the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S.A. and the Vatican in his newspaper, the Christian Beacon, January 12, 1984:

...The Roman Catholic Church and its state of a few acres are one. The Pope is the head of both, though both do not exist separately.

The arguments are now being presented. One: a personal representative has been doing the job since Roosevelt. The argument is reversed. He was appointed because we would not have an ambassador, but now we must have him as an ambassador because he was appointed.

Second: all the other nations are now doing it, 112 of them, even Great Britain, and only the U.S. and Russia are holding out. But we have a different concept of religious equality and liberty and should maintain our separation regardless of others.

Third: They can provide information not obtained in other channels. This betrays their entire position: the state is only a few acres, but the church is world-wide and does not occupy territory as a state in every country. The priests have their confessions which are supposed to be secret, but they gather through the confessional all manner of information not dealing with personal sins which they communicate to Rome to be provided to ambassadors. This is the direct use of religion under the guise of a state.

Fourth: The Pope is said now to be an international figure for peace and his leadership is influencing other nations. Here again it is using a religious leader an all his journeys, which he said were pastoral visits--U.S.A., England, Central America, Africa, the Philippines. Now the Pope becomes a world political leader, receiving a U.S. ambassador.

For the U.S. government to give prestige to this religious leadership is a devastating undermining of all the Protestants’ faith, especially those who are opposing the ecumenical movement. He uses the word, ecumenical, more frequently, perhaps more than any other church leader in the world. All of this must be dealt with.

Our radio program now will deal with these in the days that are ahead of us. We are planning a second Protestant pilgrimage to Washington.

It was our opposition that had a major part in reversing President Truman’s appointment of General Mark Clark as ambassador to the Vatican, which he withdrew in 1952. The issues are still the same, with the Roman Catholic church now more powerful.

It must now be in our lovely land of religious equality before the law.

Should the United States Have An Ambassador to the Vatican?

Statement by Dr. Carl McIntire on behalf of the International Council of Christian Churches on the appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican

January 10, 1984

The appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican destroys the equality of the churches before the law. There are several twists that have been used to mislead our people. The appointment of a personal representative was first made because an ambassador was not desired. Now his appointment has prepared the way for the securing of an official ambassador.

The effort to separate the church from the state collapses when the state covers only a few acres of geography in contrast to the broad world area from which the Roman Catholic Church gathers its information. The Vatican has no civil authorities and its value to the United States is confined to the material its network of priests can provide. In recent months the Pope has been traveling on pastoral visits. Now we are being told that the Pope, as an international figure, a position gained by such travel, with its political acumen and the information he possesses from these journeys, is of such value to the United States that he deserves to have a U.S. ambassador at his right hand.

But what is even more distressing is that everywhere he goes he is advocating church unity, which is without question a religious emphasis, and his concept of unity is that the church may be reunited throughout the world in one encompassing structure. This view is not accepted by millions of Christians who believe that their unity is spiritual and their fellowship with one another is in Jesus Christ and not in a visible ecclesiastical structure. The appointment of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican now is tantamount to a de facto recognition and promotion of the ecumenical movement. This boundary is beyond the church itself and involves the liberal, pluralistic churches of the West.

There are reasons to oppose such a Vatican recognition which did not exist in 1952. The Bible-believing Christians throughout the world who have been lifting their voices against the development of a one-world church and the relation that such a structure would have to a world political leader are now more vitally concerned than ever. The United States must not give credibility or assistance to the Pope’s leadership in building both the world church and its corollary, a world state.

The Protestants of this country must now pay closer attention to the pressures in Washington brought by Roman Catholics who occupy positions under appointment in the State Department. All of the civil rights statutes require that there be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Little Opposition to Vatican Ambassador

The announcement of the appointment of a United States Ambassador to the Vatican is justified in the press report on the ground that there was little opposition to it, that the opposition in 1952 that President Harry Truman faced did not develop.

The fact is there was not time for it to develop. The actions of Congress in rescinding objections which have stood in the past were done without any public knowledge. It has taken the Christian churches of the country by surprise...There simply has not been opportunity to confront the President with the will of the people. Constitution Hall in Washington must now be rented as it was in 1952, and the widest possible publicity and an array of speakers brought to the platform to let the President know that he is going to lose thousands and thousands of votes.

Religious liberty, the recognition of one state church as he has done transcends all other actions. He may boast of his improvements in the economy and tying the country with the Roman Catholic Church and all it has meant historically. The desire that our founding fathers had that Rome would not have preference or even an acknowledgment in this land across sea has now simply been dashed...

President Reagan is losing the support of fundamental and evangelical Christians all over the country, and they are not hesitating to say so. What this means to the future of the United States cannot be calculated.

Moreover the Vatican position on the Soviet Union is certainly not the position the United States has, and the influence of the Vatican in this area upon the United States would be damaging for the future of the country.
According to this Associated Press article from January 23, 1984:

Chicago--The Rev. Billy Graham worked behind the scenes last spring to help President Reagan assess what the reaction of evangelical leaders would be to U.S. establishment of full diplomatic ties with the Vatican, The Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday.

Graham, who since Watergate has downplayed his relationship to U.S. presidents, summed up his findings in a confidential, seven-page letter to Interior Secretary William P. Clark, then the president’s national security adviser, the newspaper said.

"If anyone can do it and get away with it, it is Mr. Reagan," Graham reported, quoting a comment from one of his contacts.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Sun-Times, the newspaper said.

On Jan. 10, Reagan established full diplomatic ties for the United States with the papal state after a break of 117 years. He nominated William Wilson, an old friend and California real estate developer, as ambassador.

Graham said in the letter that he made several "discreet inquiries" on a "confidential basis, and no mention was made of the fact that the inquiries were being made at the request of the White House."

Graham told Clark the reactions to expect from several "recognized leaders among evangelicals," then wrote, "I honestly don’t know what I personally would recommend that the president do.

"One person said, ‘If anyone can do it and get away with it,’ it is Mr. Reagan," the letter said.

"I think he would need to cover his political bases and be sure he brought people into the picture who might cause him trouble--Jews, Catholic Bishop’s Committee, National Council (of Churches), etc.

"It may be also that some people (like Jerry Falwell) could be persuaded to keep silent on the issue," it continued.

Graham said he and his associate, John Aker, made the inquiries and that he asked Gilbert Beers, editor of Christianity Today, "to raise the issue with Jerry Falwell, since he knows him better than I do."

Graham’s assessment of his colleagues stated that Falwell would be placed "in a very difficult position and hopes that the issue is not raised" because his Moral Majority includes both Roman Catholics and Baptists.

Falwell said after the announcement of full relations that he thought Reagan’s motives were "very sincere and pure" but that appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican was "a practical mistake."

"If the Southern Baptists were asking for an ambassador to Nashville, I’d be opposed to it," he said.
Dr. McIntire offered his comments in the Christian Beacon, January 26, 1984:

Graham Involved in Reagan’s Vatican Ambassador Decision

The revelation that Billy Graham was used by President Reagan to prepare for his decision to send a U.S. representative to the Vatican indicates how he himself has given up the Protestant position and heritage of our land. He not only would make no recommendation to the President, but he did advise him, "If anyone can do it and get away with it, it is Mr. Reagan."

And Mr. Reagan proceeded to attempt to do so...

...There can be no possible way of accepting or justifying the recognition of the Pope as a part of the political activities of the United States...
Billy Graham, with his typical compromise, political butt-kissing, and mischief-making, continued to give up the Protestant position to the extent that when Pope John Paul II died in 2005, Life magazine published a special commemorative issue, and Billy Graham wrote the introduction, praising John Paul II.

Mr. Reagan apparently had the Cold War on his mind when he restored diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The U.S.A. and Vatican City acted as allies in helping to bring down the Soviet Union, with the Vatican’s intelligence--better and quicker than that of the United States, according to Alexander Haig, U.S. Secretary of State (1981-1982)--and the political activities of Pope John Paul II playing major roles, acknowledged by Mr. Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader from 1985-1991. The story was told by Carl Bernstein in The Holy Alliance: Ronald Reagan and John Paul II, Time, February 24, 1992.

In the words of Mr. Hunt:

At this point we will leave it to the reader to consider the Vatican’s motivation in such heavy political intervention. The fact remains that such a role on the world scene, with its unholy alliances, political intrigues, and earthly goals, would be anathema to Christ’s true bride.

The Vatican has long been involved in clandestine activities and self-serving partnerships with many nations...

...Apparently Christ, whose kingdom at the beginning was "not of this world," had changed His mind. He who commissioned his disciples to call converts out of the world to heavenly citizenship with His gospel of redemptive grace has apparently decided to work with the nations of this world to create a paradise down here...

...Rome has not changed. Her ambitions remain very much of this world. Of course, it is in Christ’s name that she wants to reestablish her "reign over the kings of the earth."
Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (1994), pp. 225-226.

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