Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contrary To Wikileaks Reports U.S Government Had Strong Indications Ratzinger Would Be Pope

There are many problems with this Wikileaks mess. First a huge ole cable drop is not responsible. This is NOT the Pentagon Papers. This is political voyeurism dressed up as some nobility.

Further we are only seeing a very partial picture of how policy is made. We are only seeing a few cables. We have no idea what we are missing and not seeing as information is collected so the President can make policy choices. Woodward made this point last night quite well on Larry King .

We now have a wonderful example of this as to the diplomatic cables regarding who would the next Pope after John Paul II.

Father Z recaps the media coverage and in fact the link he has shows the problem in a vivid way. See Wikileak-ed diplomatic cables about the 2005 election of Pope Benedict

One gets the indication that perhaps the Government was shocked in D.C. that Ratzinger was elected Pope!! But were they?

Appears not and it appears that President George Bush was not shocked at all.

Let us now recall the time period. Our Embassy was in a tad of flux during this period. The Envoy to the Holy See , Jim Nicholson , who had been in that post shortly after 9/11, had just left six weeks before John Paul the II death to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It would not be till early 2008 that the new Envoy Mary Ann Glendon would take here post there.

Recently Catholic University held a wonderful discussion about the history of the Diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See. See here. (note in the description they get the dates of Nicholson's tenure at the Vatican wrong). There was a wonderful panel discussion that was had which you can view here.

James Nicholson is on that panel. If you go to the 32.30 second mark you will hear a wonderful and indeed funny story story. Nicholson describes being on Air Force One with President Clinton and President Bush. They were on the way to the funeral of John Paul the II. He was asked who would be the next POPE.

Again it is a nice and funny story so watch it. However he recaps that every three months part of his job was to talk about who the future Pope would be. President Clinton got President Bush to make Nicholson open up on Air Force One who the Pope would be. Referencing that report he he said RATZINGER. He then goes over that discussion he had with both Bush and Clinton as to why Ratzinger would be Pope. He was referencing that report he sent to the State Dept just a few months before!! So yes President Bush had good indications from the "horses mouth" that Ratzinger would be Pope.

Now the point here that report that Ambassador James Nicholson did just a few months would have been no doubt have been in the Pipe Line. But because we do not see it in the wikileak documents we get the impression that the State Department and thus the President might have been caught flatfooted. Well it appears the opposite is the case. Again we don't see all the information only certain building block to give the whole picture.

Something to keep in mind in this saga.

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