Last Tuesday, Pope Francis condemned the heart and soul of the Republican economic plan when he blasted “trickle down economics” calling it the “idolatry of money.” Republicans were stunned. They were back on their heels. When arguably the most popular Pope in recent history condemns your raison d’être, it is a bad day. Republicans were desperate to get the media spotlight off the Pope’s comments.
They got help last week when the Robert’s Court agreed to hear the Hobby Lobby case accusing Obamacare of violating their religious freedom because it mandates insurance companies offer women contraception. New York’s Cardinal Dolan chimed in with his accusations that Obama care’s contraception coverage is the worst attack on the Catholic Church’s religious freedom in history.
The Washington Times ran an article last Tuesday about the State Department moving its Vatican Embassy to the grounds of the American Italian Embassy in Rome. The author of the article, Cheryl K. Chumley, tried to fuel a conspiracy that could be tied to president Obama. She quoted an article Jim Nicholson, George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the Vatican, wrote in the National Catholic Reporter accusing Obama of “downgrading U.S.-Vatican ties.
"It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties.” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.”
Nicholson called Obama’s explanation a “smokescreen” and he continued :
“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”
Other former ambassadors to the Vatican joined in accusing Obama of being anti-Catholic. Ambassador Flynn said the administration’s announcement showed“hostility toward the Catholic Church.”
What Ms Chumley failed to mention that Nicholson is a Republican Party hack who was the Chairman of the GOP in Colorado and GOP National Committeeman before Bush gave him the mostly-ceremonial post at the Vatican. She also forgot to mention that all six of the former Vatican envoys mentioned in her article supported Mitt Romney in the last election.
Jeb Bush, trying to beat other potential Republican presidential candidates to the punch, tweeted on Wednesday:
“Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”
Republicans must oppose radical notions like providing more security for our Embassy and saving money. They were delighted and expressed their gratitude on Thanksgiving for this scandal because it made everyone forget about Pope Francis.
The problem is the entire story is a lie. The only smokescreen is the one Republican hacks like Nicholson are putting out.
CNN’s fact checkers called the Republican claim misleading—a polite way to call them liars. According to CNN, here is the truth:
“Neither Obama, nor the State Department, are planning on permanently closing the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See – also known as the Vatican. What is happening, however, is the building the embassy is currently using is being moved to a property closer to Vatican City.
Last week, the State Department announced it was moving its freestanding Vatican embassy to a compound shared with the U.S. Embassy in Italy and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. On a call with reporters, a senior State Department official said the purpose for the move was to save money and increase security.
But in an interview with CNN, a spokesman for the Vatican said the move was well within the Holy See's requirements for embassies and that relations with the United States are far from strained.
Meanwhile, the Republican Senatorial Committee, the body that works to elect Republicans to the Senate, is moving ahead with a petition that states "President Obama plans to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican." Why tell the truth when lies work so well.