Ambassadors to the Vatican

Six former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See have endorsed Mitt Romney for president: Frank Shakespeare (1986-1989); Tom Melady (1989-1993); Ray Flynn (1993-1997); Jim Nicholson (2001-2005); Francis Rooney (2005-2008); Mary Ann Glendon (2008-2009). Their statement of support focused on religious liberty mentions the contraceptive mandate and the importance of the Christian conscience in the moral life of the nation (this site has the statement; news story here).

Since the Vatican seems to have operated in a cocoon about the sex-abuse crisis in the U.S. (and later in its own backyard), you have to wonder whether any of these eminent Catholics ever mentioned the issue while in Rome. Perhaps the first three had little inkling, but the last three....

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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