U.S. Envoy Thanks Pope for Prayers and Closeness

«Consolation for All Americans,» James Nicholson Says

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II´s words of «spiritual closeness» to the «families of the victims and wounded,» in the attack against the United States, have been a «consolation for all Americans,» the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican said.

James Nicholson presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father this morning at Castel Gandolfo, in a ceremony scheduled some time ago.

Nicholson thanked the Pope on behalf of President George W. Bush, for his closeness to the country in its tragic hour, and renewed the offer of cooperation between the United States and the Vatican.

He said believes that this cooperation could prove decisive in the reconciliation of human communities, especially in Africa, the Balkans, and in the struggle against the traffic in human beings, the defeat of AIDS, the promotion of religious liberty in the world, and of peace and prosperity in the Holy Land.

When he addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 19, as ambassador-designate to the Vatican, Nicholson presented the work that his country and the Vatican are doing to promote religious liberty in China and North Korea.

Nicholson, a former head of the Republican National Committee, was born in Struble, Iowa, on Feb. 4, 1938. He has degrees in political science and law, and is a graduate of West Point Military Academy.

The ambassador is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and, among other distinctions, a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award.

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