Faith and Freedom
May 29, 2009 § 1 Comment
Yesterday was a near-perfect day. First of all, I took a day off from work. Instead, I attended a symposium that will provide me with food for thought (and blog posts) for a good while to come. The symposium, hosted in honor of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, was entitled “Faith and Freedom” and addressed various topics surrounding the issue of Church and state. A well-attended event, the symposium boasted such promininent Catholic luminaries as Papal Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Mary Ann Glendon, Ambassador Milady, and Professor Robert George. Three out of (now) nine ambassadors to the Holy See were in attendance, as well as the ambassador to the Holy See from the UK who had a unique perspective.
I did not realize that our diplomatic ties with the Holy See were so young. Apparently, the Holy See had tried to establish relations with us since the founding of our country (via our French allies) but were rebuffed from the very beginning by Benjamin Franklin, who insisted it was a useless move. After that, anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States prevented such an official relationship all the way up to President Reagan’s administration, when President Reagan and Pope John Paul II began the now 25-year old relationship between the United States and the Vatican.
To tide you over until I get around to typing up my 14-some-odd pages of notes from yesterday, listen to Professor George’s talk. I must say that Prof. George is one of the most amazing men and impressive speakers I have ever heard. Yesterday was the fourth time I have had the privilege to hear him speak, and before his talk I finally got to meet him and talk for a bit.