Home > Archives > 02 - 2004 > Prefaces by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
from issue no. 02 - 2004

The History of diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the Holy See

Prefaces by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran

Archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church former Secretary for Relations with States

I am happy to unite myself with those who rejoice at the publication of the volume: “USA and the Holy See: the long road”, written by the United States Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson.
These pages recount a particularly significant chapter in the relations between the United States and the Holy See. The reader can follow, step by step, the course of a long journey, which allowed both parties to know each other better, to free themselves from the conditionings of history and to have the courage to open a new road.
These pages show how much can be obtained through sincere and persevering dialogue and how diplomacy, formed of respect and discretion, is capable of defeating prejudices and misunderstandings.
Since 1984, the daily collaboration with the United states Embassy in Rome and the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington allows the sustaining of joint efforts, exchanges of ideas about the great challenges which peoples are called on to face: human rights, freedom, justice and peace.
From interesting starting points, Ambassador Nicholson reveals the story of this ‘partnership’, from the end of the eighteenth century until now, showing that, despite some divergences of opinion, the United States and the Holy See found themselves, and find themselves even now, in agreement about the necessity of not sparing any effort to arrive at an international cohabitation where reason, good will and law prevail over emotions and passions.
In addition, in the Declaration of American Independence there is a reference to the Creator, as the origin of human dignity: this facilitates the agreement between the Holy See and the United States on fundamental moral principles, which can help contribute to the stability of a world which has need of peace and respect for human rights: a world which has a hunger for bread, a thirst for justice and brotherhood.
Many will discover how much more the Holy See is than a “sounding board” and how much more pontifical diplomacy is than a “technique”. The Pope and his collaborators nurture a single ambition: to help governors decide with a sense of responsibility before God and their own conscience, remembering always that man is sacred and that the respect of his rights and fundamental freedoms is the condition sine qua non for the future of a world where all have their own place and know the joy of living in peace and harmony.
The decision taken on 10 January 1984 to resume, after 117 years of interruption, the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, was without doubt an epoch making event which, as the then President of the United States Ronald Reagan, had to say, was destined to “correct an anomaly of history”.

Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português