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Resolution On A U.s. Ambassador To The Vatican

WHEREAS, In 1984 the United States of America and the Holy See established diplomatic relations with each other; and

WHEREAS, The Holy See is an ecclesiastical entity synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church; and

WHEREAS, The Holy See is located in an entity called State of Vatican City which is headed by the Bishop of Rome and in which office and citizenship are conditioned on some relationship with the Roman Catholic Church; and

WHEREAS, A stated purpose of the State Department is establishing full diplomatic relations with the Holy See is “to influence the political positions on a wide variety of issues . . . taken by the Vatican;” and

WHEREAS, Recognition of the Holy See implies national identity with American missionaries and representatives of religion overseas in such a way that it may imperil their personal safety; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to prevent government sponsorship of religion, government financial support of religion, and government’s active involvement with religion; and

WHEREAS, The effects of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See include: (a) implicit recognition of the hierarchical government of the Roman Catholic Church in a manner to which no religious entity is entitled, (b) favoritism to Roman Catholicism by the United States of America, (c) continuing and excessive entanglement between the U.S.A. and a single religious establishment, (d) departure by the United States from the wholesome principle of governmental neutrality with respect to competing religious claims and groups.

Be it therefore RESOLVED, That messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 12-14, 1984, register continuing opposition to a U.S. ambassador to the Holy See; urge members of churches cooperating with this Convention to express their sentiment to elected officials; pledge support of actions which challenge diplomatic relations with the Holy See; commend our Baptist leaders for opposing a U.S. ambassador to the Holy See; urge the officers of the Convention to continue their opposition, acting in concert with each of our Baptist agencies; and, request this resolution to be sent to the President of the United States, to candidates for the presidency, to members of Congress, and to the platform committees of major political parties.