Professor Stephen Bainbridge, one of the country’s foremost scholars of corporate law, and often cited in the decisions of the Delaware courts, has penned a thoughtful post about another law professor who has been mentioned as a potential new ambassador to the Holy See. As the good professor explains in his scholarly fashion:
The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from the Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory …. The Pope is the ruler of both the Vatican City State and the Holy See. The Holy See, as the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church, is a sovereign juridical entity under international law.
The current ambassador to the Holy See is a Harvard Law School professor. The issue in the post arose because the other law professor who has been suggested as a potential new ambassador to the Vatican has been one of the most vocal opponents of key, core positions of the Catholic Church during the recent election of our new president-elect. One commentator has suggested that it might be similar to appointing as the next ambassador to Israel a proponent of Iranian views or kindred folk who do not recognize the right of Israel to exist.
It remains thought-provoking to see the rigorous intellectual analysis that a scholar has brought to bear on corporate governance issues, applied to this intersection of International Law; Church Law; First Amendment rights; diplomacy and "extracurricular activities" of law professors.
The post includes a quote from a Vatican official indicating clear opposition to this "hypothetical nominee." Among the many facets of this fascinating topic, the post concludes with this rhetorical query:
The question then becomes whether it’s good policy to appoint an ambassador you know will offend a host country.
Would you want to offend, or why would you want to offend, the Pope?
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI