Saturday, February 23, 2013

Former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz: "We need a bridge builder who can take on the world’s challenges... A manager who is able to manage God’s plan for Mankind.”

“Just like everyone else, Cardinal Mahony should reflect on the example set by the Pope.” Miguel Diaz, who up until two months ago was the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, is using all his diplomatic skill to persuade the Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, who was involved in the Church sex-abuse scandal, not to take part in the Conclave. Regarding the election of the Pope’s successor, he added: “There are obvious divisions. What the Church needs now is a leader that is able to say “that is enough”.” Diaz returned to his post as theologian at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, but the post of U.S. ambassador to the Holy See remains vacant: “I am waiting for President Obama and Secretary of State, Kerry, decide though of course I would be glad to participate in the election of the new Pope.”

What were your thoughts when you heard about the Pope’s resignation? 
“I wasn’t particularly surprised because Benedict XVI had spoken about it previously. He gave a human dimension to the papacy and acted as an example to all leaders, religious and non: when one is no longer in a condition - not only physical - to do their job, one has the right and the duty to resign.”
Mahony’s case is the most disputed one in the United States.

“The decision lies with him and he certainly has the legal right to vote in the Conclave, but the Pope also had the right to continue as Pope but instead chose to step down, accepting his human limits. A Pope’s physical conditions are not the only thing that can prevent him from serving to the best of his ability. We should all learn from Benedict’s example and ask ourselves whether there are obstacles and act responsibly, to ensure the common good of the institution, of the people of God and of all human beings.”
President Obama was also often criticised by the American hierarchy: how did he react?
“It is impossible for two institutions to be perfectly in line with each other. We knew there were differences but we made sure these did not paralyse us: the first conference I attended in Rome was on AIDS prevention.”

Why has Hilary Clinton never visited the Vatican?
“Organisational problems, that’s all. She told all ambassadors to do three things: listen to others, learn and lead based on what we have heard. I have done just this.”

What was your experience of the scandals during your time in the Vatican?
“Divisions do exist and all Catholics can see them. We are too divided politically, ideologically, theologically and on a regional level. What we need now is a leader who is able to say “that is enough”: this Church is Catholic, differences should not create division but opportunities.”

What do you expect from the next Conclave, an American Pope perhaps?
“It has nothing to do with nationality but quality of leadership. We need a bridge builder who can take on the world’s challenges. A manager who is able to manage God’s plan for mankind.”

Paolo Mastrolilli New York

Vatican Insider