Former Ambassadors to the Vatican Oppose Anti-Vatican Movement

The Catholic Task Force of the Republican National Committee sent the following letter dated today to Al Gore and Hillary Clinton via fax signed by Hon. Frank Shakesphaere, U.S. Ambassador, 1986-89; and Hon. Thomas P. Melady, U.S. Ambassador, 1989-93:

We, former U.S. Ambassadors to the Holy See, had the honor of closely observing Pope John Paul II and the Vatican in their never-ending efforts for human rights, religious freedom, family values and human rights. This work gives the Vatican a unique role as a member of the United Nations. This is the reason why the sovereignty of the Vatican was rewarded with observer status at the U.N. in 1964. This position gives the Vatican the right to participate in the discussions at the U.N., while holding no voting rights.

It is an immense disappointment to us to learn about the attempts by various non-governmental organizations to evict the Vatican and the Pope from the U.N. It was even more discouraging to learn that the authors of some of the most horrendous attacks on the Vatican have been the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and Women Leaders Online (WLO). We do not wish to quote their disturbing statements about the Pope and the Vatican in this letter to you, but we do note that these two organizations and especially the heads of NARAL have been closely associated with you and your presidential campaign for President and Senate, going as far an to endorse Mr. Gore's candidacy.

We write today to request you to disassociate yourselves from these biased and cruel anti-Catholic statements, and to return their endorsements with vigor. Their close association with you enhances their credibility. We also request that you issue statements praising the great work of the Pope and the Vatican at the U.N., along with the return of their endorsements. One hundred and seventy-five states, including the United States, now recognize the Vatican as a sovereign state. But a group known as "See Change" is determined to evict the Vatican from the U.N. It is a moral outrage that this group wishes to silence the voice of the Holy Father.

It is in many ways so sad that these attacks on the role of the Pope and the Vatican in the U.N. occurred while he was on a pilgrimage of peace and reconciliation in Israel, Jordan and Palestine. A clear statement by you will help to clear up the pain and hurt that many Catholics and people of good will have felt about these attacks in the past several weeks.

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