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Archive for Vatican

Newsline: New US Ambassador To The Vatican Nominated

President Trump’s choice to represent the United States at the Vatican, Callista Gingrich, has one especially prominent achievement as a Catholic: She is responsible for her husband, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, converting to Roman Catholicism in 2009. “When Newt became a Catholic, it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” she said in a 2012 interview with The New Yorker. Callista Gingrich has been an accomplished pianist since childhood and also plays the French horn. For the past 20 years, she has sung professionally in the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Her husband began attending mass at the Basilica largely to watch her perform in the choir, and he told the Catholic TV network EWTN in 2011 that it was that worship experience that led him to convert to Catholicism. Before marrying her, the twice-divorced Gingrich had his previous marriage annulled. Under Catholic church teaching, divorced Catholics are not supposed to receive communion unless they have their former marriages officially annulled. Newt Gingrich is one of President Trump’s strongest supporters, and Callista Gingrich may well be seen by Vatican authorities as carrying her husband’s political clout.

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/20/529276806/callista-gingrich-nominated-as-ambassador-to-the-vatican

Newsline: Malaysia to open embassy in Vatican

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman will officially open the Malay­sian Embassy in the Vatican during a visit to the Holy See. “The opening of the embassy marks an important milestone and will elevate relations between Malaysia and the Holy See to greater heights,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. During this inaugural visit, which begins on Tuesday (May 9), Anifah is scheduled to meet his counterpart, the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Diplomatic ties between Malaysia and the Holy See were established on Jul 27, 2011, following Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to the Vatican City.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/malaysia-to-open-embassy-in-the-vatican-8829670

Newsline: Vatican arrests former ambassador on child sex abuse charges

A former Vatican ambassador has been placed under house arrest and will face a criminal trial on child sex charges, the Holy See said. The action against Józef Wesołowski, 66, is the first time that the Vatican has charged a high-ranking official with paedophilia. If found guilty he could face up to 12 years in prison. The Polish-born cleric was recalled from the Dominican Republic in August 2013 after the archbishop of Santo Domingo told Pope Francis about rumours that Wesołowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Caribbean country. Prosecutors there say he allegedly paid boys as young as 13 to masturbate. In June a Vatican tribunal found Wesołowski guilty of abuse and imposed its toughest penalty under church law: laicisation, or returning to life as a layman. Being defrocked meant that he lost his diplomatic immunity and the Dominican Republic has opened an investigation into accusations that he paid boys to perform sexual acts. The Vatican had been criticised for protecting Wesołowski from legal action by the Dominican authorities by recalling him last year. Wesołowski is the most prominent church figure to be arrested since Paolo Gabriele, a former papal butler convicted in 2012 of stealing and leaking private papers of the former pope Benedict XVI. The Pole was granted house arrest in a Vatican apartment on medical grounds rather than being detained in its prison – a small number of rooms attached to a courthouse. It is unclear whether Wesołowski would be jailed inside the Vatican, or in an Italian prison, if convicted.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/vatican-ambassador-child-sex-catholic-paedophilia

Newsline: Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic could be tried

The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who has been accused of paying underage boys there to engage in sexual acts, has lost his diplomatic immunity and could ultimately face prosecution in criminal courts outside of the Vatican, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church announced. The former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, has already been defrocked by the Vatican, the harshest penalty under the church’s canon law short of excommunication. Beyond that, the Vatican has also said that it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time it will hold a criminal trial for sexual abuse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/world/americas/ex-diplomat-for-the-vatican-could-be-tried.html?_r=0

Newsline: Vatican Defrocks Ambassador in Abuse Inquiry

The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope’s representative in the Caribbean nation. The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to have been removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, had recently completed his canonical trial. He has two months to appeal the decision. He still faces a criminal trial by the Vatican because, as a diplomat, he is a citizen of the Vatican city-state. It would be the first such trial held under new rules for criminal procedures implemented by the Vatican last year and a test of Pope Francis’ resolve to turn a page on the long-running sexual abuse scandal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/world/europe/vatican-defrocks-dominican-envoy-accused-of-abuse.html?_r=0

Newsline: Former US ambassador to Vatican faced sexual harassment claim

A University of Dayton investigation in 2013 found “reasonable cause” to believe that former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz sexually harassed a married couple while a professor there. The academic news website Inside Higher Ed first reported the allegations against Diaz. It published two confidential letters from the University of Dayton’s provost and its general counsel to the two alleged victims, who are professors at the Ohio university. A July 22, 2013 letter from university provost Joseph Saliba acknowledged the claims of the married couple as “concerns that Dr. Diaz was sexually harassing you through various requests and references to explicitly sexual feelings.” The letter said there was reasonable cause to believe that he engaged in “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, particularly after being told to stop.” Diaz served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to the Vatican from 2009-2012. Since then, he has served as a professor of faith and culture at the university. Diaz declined to comment to Inside Higher Ed through his attorney Gabriel Fuentes.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/former-vatican-ambassador-faced-sexual-harassment-claim/

Newsline: Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See appointed

Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See is Emma Madigan, who had been an assistant chief of protocol at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her nomination was approved by the cabinet at its meeting today. She succeeds Noel Fahey who retired from the position in summer 2011. On November 3rd 2011 Tánaiste and Minster for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore announced “with the greatest regret and reluctance” that the Government had decided to close Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See. “While the Embassy to the Holy See is one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yields no economic return,” he said, adding, “the Government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident Ambassador.” Since then Ireland has been represented at the Vatican on a caretaker basis by secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs David Cooney. Last January Mr Gilmore announced that the Embassy to the Holy See was to reopen as part of an expansion of Ireland’s diplomatic network which will also see embassies opening in Thailand, Indonesia, Croatia, and Kenya. The new embassy will not be housed at its old site of the State-owned Villa Spada which, in the meantime, has become the Irish Embassy to the Italian state. It was stated that this was not because of any Vatican veto on a dual purpose embassy but rather because there is no space available at Villa Spada. Foreign Affairs has also said the new Embassy will be a “modest”, one-person operation, in keeping with the desire of Pope Francis of “a poor church for the poor,” and will re-open this summer.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/new-ambassador-to-the-holy-see-appointed-1.1785493