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April 12, 2009



Isn't the point of diplomacy to negotiate the relationship between two states? If there is something terribly dissonant about a particular diplomat as representative to a country, presumably the diplomatic relationship is going to suffer from it... and surely diplomatic ties have been hindered by far less serious issues than abortion! I'm not clear on why the Vatican's rejection is so unreasonable. Abortion is a major issue upon which U.S./Vatican relationship pivots, and they're choosing to reject a diplomat just like we have for numerous countries over the years. How is this different than our cautious diplomatic relationships with other countries over various and sundry human rights difficulties? Have we become so exceptionalist that we can't fathom the idea that another country might hold a legitimate ethical grievance against American policies or politicians?

And I imagine... though I'm not one to be knowledgeable of these things... that such objections and personnel shufflings happen all the time as a rather mundane event. That's politics, I suppose. Kennedy is somewhat of a "culture war" figure, hence the attention-getting of this news item, but I can't imagine that this stuff doesn't go on often. At least here it's the result of a substantive grievance.

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Scott Paeth teaches Religious Studies at DePaul University