Unsolicited, but Worth Pondering
John Allen has just posted an unsolicited letter to President-elect Obama. Here’s an excerpt:
You are a hero to much of Africa, giving you a degree of political capital on the continent that no other Western leader could rival. At the same time, 2009 is shaping up as a “Year of Africa” in global Catholicism. Over the next 12 months, Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cameroon and Angola; the African bishops will hold their plenary assembly in Rome; and bishops from all over the world will converge on Rome for a “Synod for Africa.” All this suggests the possibility of synergy between the world’s most important political and spiritual leaders — i.e., you and the pope — to promote peace and development for Africa, where the world’s most impoverished and abandoned people are today found.
If you’re interested in forging such a partnership, the first important choice to make is who to send to the Vatican as your ambassador. Ideally, you will turn to someone known to have your ear, who will have real political influence in your administration, and who also knows the Catholic world. What you’re looking for, in other words, is a Democratic equivalent of James Nicholson, President Bush’s first Vatican ambassador. Nicholson had served as the chair of the Republican National Committee, and helped to steer the party’s outreach to Catholic voters. Bush sent a clear signal with that nomination that he was interested in the Vatican, and this is one case where it would behoove you to follow his lead.
And here is the rest.