- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2014

The distance between the Vatican and the United States has grown wider in recent years, due primarily to President Obama’s insistence on maintaining a secular White House, absent an atmosphere of “absolute truths,” said the former ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, who served under President George W. Bush.

“The coolness towards the Holy See began with the beginning of [this] administration because the administration has a pretty secular orientation,” Mr. Rooney said during an interview on Newsmax TV. “President Obama wrote a book where he basically said there are no absolute truths in the modern era, which would tend to say that there’s no religion. He just doesn’t look at religion as a stabilizing force in society and the Holy See does.”

Mr. Rooney, who wrote “The Global Vatican,” said other presidents — like Ronald Reagan and Mr. Bush — worked hard to keep friendly, open relations with the pope and reached out to the Catholic Church with special trips to Rome. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, did not, he said.

“[Obama] only just recently made his first state visit … in March, where he sought to leverage some of the pope’s economic and social justice commentaries — perhaps to support his own domestic agenda,” Mr. Rooney said, Newsmax TV reported. “I’m going to … look forward and hope that now President Obama, and certainly Secretary [John] Kerry gets it, that there is a lot of opportunity for common leverage in pursuing common objectives with the Holy See.”

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