15 February 2008

STATEMENT*

Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to the Holy See

(U.S. Embassy to the Holy See)

Fiumicino Airport
Rome, Italy
February 15, 2008

Buon giorno. Vi ringrazio della vostra accoglienza e di essere venuti a salutarmi qui all'aeroporto.

Its a great pleasure to be back in Rome, a city that has long been like a second home to me. And it is a special pleasure to be here as I prepare to present my credentials to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. I might add, on a personal note, that I am also happy at the prospect of being in the same city with my eldest daughter and three of my six grandchildren.

President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have honored me with a great responsibility one for which I am deeply grateful.

As most of you are aware, I have worked closely with the Holy See for many years: at times in a representative capacity, as when I have headed Vatican delegations to U.N. conferences, and at times in an academic capacity, as in my work as President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. It is my hope that those experiences will serve me well as I take up the task of advancing the already strong diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and the Holy See.

At the core of that relationship lies a common vision rooted in respect for the dignity of every man, woman and child. Both the U.S. and the Holy See have a long history in which faith and reason have been inseparably united in the quest to make that vision a reality. The United States is committed to the promotion of respect for human dignity through its vigorous defense of human rights and religious freedom, and through its efforts to promote dialogue and tolerance among people of different faiths and cultures.

As the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, it will be my responsibility, and my privilege, to work side-by-side with the Holy See in pursuing those noble goals.

In conclusion, I would like to offer my thanks to Monsignor Peter Wells from the Holy See who is here today, and assure him that I will do all within my power to build on and enrich the strong relationship that already exists between the U.S. and the Holy See. I would also like to thank the Airport officials, Dr. Alfredo Pacioni - Director of the Fiumicino Airport Police, the media for coming out to greet me, and the members of my Embassy staff who are present today. I am very pleased to be here, and I look forward to seeing you all on future occasions.

Auguro a tutti Voi un buon lavoro, certa che non mancheranno occasioni per incontrarVi nuovamente in un prossimo futuro. Grazie ancora, buona giornata a tutti, e a presto.

 * As prepared for delivery.