The Obama administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See to the American Embassy in Italy is pure politics.

There are principled reasons why some might say that the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See should be moved, such as safety concerns and economic issues. Had these positions been made by an administration that is Catholic-friendly, we could proceed with an honest debate. But this is not the case: the Obama administration’s key involvement with the Catholic community has been to burden it with the Health and Human Services mandate.

In terms of the safety issue, this is the administration that stood by and did nothing about the fatalities at the American facility in Benghazi—and to this day refuses to provide a full account. It therefore strains credulity to believe that safety is their real interest. Moreover, no administration in American history has been more fiscally reckless than the Obama administration, making it risible to suggest that all of a sudden they have discovered austerity.

Former U.S. Ambassadors to the Holy See, James Nicholson, Mary Ann Glendon, Thomas Melady, Francis Rooney and Raymond Flynn are right to sound the alarms; the net effect of this move is to diminish the prestige of the Holy See. Flynn is also right to see bias involved.

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