Another Vatican denial on ambassadors

VATICAN CITY — Never let an on-the-record denial get in the way of a good story.

That seems to be the philosophy behind the continued publication of rumors that the Vatican has rejected the names of three potential U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See, including Caroline Kennedy, because of the candidates’ position on legal abortion.

Last week, we ran a story quoting the Vatican’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, who dismissed those reports by saying: “No proposals about the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See have reached the Vatican, and therefore it is not true that they have been rejected. The rumors circulating about this topic are not reliable.”

But that rather categorical statement didn’t stop media in Europe and bloggers in the United States from repeating the story over the Easter weekend. “Pope says nope to Ambassador Kennedy” was a typical headline in a British tabloid.

Today Father Lombardi issued another denial, this one to Agence France Presse, saying specifically about the Kennedy report:  “There has not been any proposal regarding the new United States ambassador to the Holy See, and it is therefore untrue that she was rejected.”

Other Vatican sources — people who know — have told me the reports are unfounded. And based on conversations I’ve had, their initial bewilderment seems to be turning to irritation as the stories continue to circulate.

THURSDAY UPDATE: The BBC now quotes a “senior White House official” as saying the Obama administration had “not floated any names with the Vatican.”

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4 Responses to Another Vatican denial on ambassadors

  1. Gashwin says:

    I heard the same story (including the bit about Caroline Kennedy) on NPR last evening. It’s not just European tabloids …

  2. Mark says:

    There was also a story in my local newspaper, which I knew not to be true as I was reading it.

  3. G.K. Thursday says:

    Thank you for sharing about the NPR story. Another reason not to trust them as a news source. NPR long ago (late 80s) gave up on accurate reporting of news, taking up instead a activist approach to its stories. All NPR stories must align themselves with a particular political/cultural viewpoint, which is often anti-Catholic. This however hasn’t been limited to NPR, but has become a commonplace in contemporary journalism. As George Brock wrote recently in a TLS review of Robert Fox’s recent four volume history of journalism, EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY,

    “Serious journalism contains information (news) and sense-making (context, explanation and, crucially, selection). To these tasks, reporters – and not just columnists – have added the job of telling us whether something is acceptable or not. Analysis must have a moral edge. What offends many readers, viewers and listeners is the extent to which moral judgement has become routine. Scorn has become a mannerism.” (

    Unfortunately, the “moral edge” Brock observes is a free-floating pop-culture zeitgeist rather than anything probative. Since Catholic moral theology has a depth far surpassing this shallow zeitgeistliche “moral edge”, knowledgeable Catholics are understandably offended when reporters traduce facts in pursuit of sounding like prophets.

  4. JOSE HERAZO says:

    Archdiocese of Miami
    Health Issues and the Liturgy

    SUBJECT: Due to the recent outbreaks of both Swine Flu and Meningitis, that are both very dangerous and unpredictable, Archbishop Favalora is directing that at all Masses in the Archdiocese of Miami the Precious Blood is not to be distributed to the congregation until further notice

    COMMENT: It is very appropriate your decision in regard to possibility of spreading diseases when consuming the wine during Eucharist. Please take permanent measures because of the risk, specially for the Eucharistic ministers who serve the wine, and must consume the remaining wine. Perhaps another method would be distributing the wine in individual containers at the time of communion.

    Jose Herazo

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