Thursday, May 28, 2009

Scenes from the Pryz

Live from Catholic U... lots to type, but in the meantime, a livestream of today's talks and panels is up and running.

SVILUPPO: Among other morning developments....
  • In the same room where the Pope addressed the nation's Catholic educators just over a year ago, Archbishop Pietro Sambi's opening talk quoted heavily both from B16's reflections after his Stateside trip last spring, noting along the way that the Pope's praise of the US' "healthy secularism" where the church "can carry out its mission with freedom and commitment" and serve, too, as a "critical conscience" was the same "argument" he developed several months later on his visit to France. By the same coin, "democracy can only flourish," Sambi said, echoing the pontiff, "when political leaders and those they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation." "In a world without truths, democracy loses its foundation," the Vatican envoy added, quoting Pope John Paul II.
  • Tapped to explain the historical context of the day's observance, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York recalled that, on Pio Laghi's elevation to ambassador-level status, the Holy See's first pro-nuncio to the States remarked that all the move changed was that he could "enter the White House by the front door, in the daytime -- and he had to get a better suit." While the name of the current incumbent of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was conspicuous by its absence for the symposium's first hour-plus, Dolan -- himself a onetime aide at the DC nunciature -- leaned heavily on the import of courtesy in fostering US-Vatican partnership his remarks; in 1893, the Gotham prelate noted, it was Rome's lending of maps to the Great Columbian Exhibition in Chicago that paved the way to the Holy See's long-sought establishment of an Apostolic Delegation at Washington to oversee the American church on-ground. Noting that progress rarely came easy, Dolan added that the establishment of a papal mission came four decades after a disastrous yearlong investigatory visit by a Vatican emissary that resulted in a fanning of "vile anti-Catholicism" (riots included) and was termed a "blunder from every point of view" by the then-archbishop of St Louis, the long-reigning Peter Richard Kenrick.
  • In the morning's first reference to last night's announcement of President Obama's intent to nominate Cuban-born theologian Miguel Diaz as the nation's next ambassador to the Holy See, CUA President Fr David O'Connell CM said that the move's timing added to the day's "exciting" feel. Of the eight Stateside legates since full relations were established in 1984, three are here, all of them appointees of Republican administrations: Ambassadors Thomas Melady (1989-93), Jim Nicholson (2001-05), and this morning's keynote speaker: the post's last occupant, Mary Ann Glendon, who served from early 2008 until her return to Boston in January. When a panel of the Villa Richardson alums was asked about Diaz's arrival on the scene, Melady blessed the nominee's resumé and voiced his hopes for the post's designated next occupant. In her first major US turn since declining Notre Dame's Laetare Medal due to the President's appearance at the university's commencement, Glendon added that Diaz should realize that, on his arrival, "he is inserting himself into an ongoing operation" -- noting the two powers' continuing efforts to, among others, combat human trafficking. "Great opportunities" exist in the post, she said, "concerning not so much the Holy See, but the other ambassadors who are present" -- especially those from Latin America -- in the hope of finding "fruitful new ground."