Common Goals Mark U.S.-Vatican Relation, Says Envoy

Francis Rooney «Confident» About Efforts for Peace

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2005 ( The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See says that mutual respect and common goals underpinned the relationship between the United States and the Vatican.

«I am confident we will succeed in our determined efforts to bring our world the gifts of peace, justice, freedom, economic opportunity and democracy,» Ambassador Francis Rooney said Saturday when he presented his credentials to Benedict XVI.

Rooney told the Pope that he aims to enhance collaboration with the Holy See in addressing issues such as terrorism, global hunger, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the trafficking of human beings across international borders.

The ambassador was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Kathleen, and his three children. Diplomats from the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See also attended.

In his remarks to the Holy Father, Ambassador Rooney observed that 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of two key documents of the Second Vatican Council — «Nostra Aetate» on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions, and «Dignitatis Humanae,» on religious freedom.

Rooney said that «the United States sees in these documents the spirit of outreach, tolerance, respect and dialogue among diverse people that we wish to promote in our own society.»


Commenting on the ceremony later, Rooney said «it was a great honor and an incredible experience to meet Pope Benedict XVI. In our 25-minute meeting, His Holiness welcomed me warmly and expressed a real appreciation for the U.S.-Holy See relationship.

«The Pope offered important insights on many issues and encouraged our continued partnership to promote tolerance and human dignity. I am looking forward to working with him on some of the most pressing issues of our day. The United States couldn’t have a better partner in these endeavors.»

Rooney is the seventh U.S. ambassador to the Holy See since full diplomatic relations were established in 1984. He succeeds Jim Nicholson, who is now U.S. secretary of veterans affairs.

Rooney, 52, was the chief executive officer of Rooney Holdings Incorporated, an investment and holding company based in Naples, Florida, with administrative offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He is a member of the School of Architecture Council of the University of Notre Dame, and a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

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