Hamilton County Reporter [Westfield IN]
October 22, 2021
By Rev. Mark J Powell, M.Div.
On Friday, Oct. 8, President Biden appointed a member of my own party, Senator Joe Donnelly, as Ambassador to the Holy See.
As a 2020 Democratic Congressional primary candidate and a 62-year-old Lutheran pastor who at 17 years old was a novice Catholic monk, college seminarian prior to my appointment to the North American College at the Vatican to continue priestly studies, I have a little insight into this matter which escapes most folks.
I lived at the Vatican during the 1980-81 academic year. At that time, America did not have a Vatican ambassador with all its associated costs for building and staff. From the Embassy, it takes eight minutes by car to get to the North American College where I lived or to where the Pope lives, the Apostolic Palace. The U.S. Embassy to Italy and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See are a four-minute walk from each other – a one-minute car drive if security is an issue.
While Senator Donnelly is a member of my party, that is not a reason to carry on a needless taxpayer expense. The embassy was started in 1984 by the Reagan Administration to have more immediate communication to then Polish native Pope John Paul II when Poland was amid a crisis with the Communist Polish government controlled by the politburo in Moscow.
With the Soviet threat in Europe over and with Pope Francis’ cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party, which is America’s and the Free World’s greatest threat, it would be logical and prudent to send a message to the Bishop of Rome. In my view, it is about time to close the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States. For far too long priest personnel files have been transferred from American dioceses to the Vatican Embassy so investigations of clergy sex abuse were thwarted because of diplomatic immunity. Being a survivor of Clergy Sex Abuse, I know something about that issue too.
The solution is simple: Let the U.S. Embassy to Italy handle matters with the Vatican. I urge the entire United States Senate to vote NO to Senator Donnelly’s appointment to the Holy See. President Biden could appoint Mr. Donnelly to be U.S. Ambassador to Italy, which is vacant, and save the taxpayer some money and still have the former Indiana senator in Rome. On that appointment, I would urge the senators to vote YES.
Rev. Mark J Powell, M.Div.