Did you know that the Catholics have their own country? It’s called “Vatican City” and it’s located near Italy and it’s ruled by the Pope and it’s a magical land where the only pharmacy won’t sell you wicked goods like condoms or Viagra or clip-on sunglasses. Its two largest industries are tourism and “contributions from gullible Catholics all over the world”. And, like many other countries, the US has an ambassador there, whose responsibilities include making sure that the embassy has all of the President’s favorite colas stocked whenever he visits, negotiating peace treaties with the Pope, and talking to groups of Vatican schoolchildren about what the ambassador does.
Unfortunately, President Obama is not having much luck getting the Vatican to approve any of his choices for ambassador:
Vatican sources told Italy’s Il Giornale newspaper that among those rejected were Caroline Kennedy and two other Roman Catholics who were unacceptable to the pope because they have publicly stood against church dogma.
Part of the problem is that the Vatican only seems to want Catholics as ambassadors, which (for reasons unfathomable to me) is one of the few forms of discrimination that our government seems happy to countenance. And part of the problem is that the Vatican only seems to want ambassadors who agree with every one of the Catholic Church’s teachings, including:
- Abortion stops a beating heart.
- Certain kinds of medical research are just plain wrong.
- Divorce is completely unacceptable, but getting a Priest to decide that your marriage was invalid from the start is just hunky-dory.
- The best way to prevent the spread of AIDS is by making it difficult for people to acquire and use condoms.
- Boy-touching is better handled as an administrative matter than a criminal one.
- Notre Dame gives out way too many honorary degrees, and also, why the hell does Charlie Weis still have a job?
- The sun revolves around the earth.
It does seem like it would be tough to find someone who believes all these teachings and who at the same time believes enough in science to be willing to get on one of the “flying machines” that are required to travel between Washington and Rome in any sort of timely fashion. Nonetheless, I have confidence that “YES WE CAN!”