Poles displeased over Vatican’s nuncio courting of Russian ambassador

The Vatican’s man in Warsaw invited a Russian ambassador to attend an official gathering of diplomats, which is a breach of unwritten protocol and a scandal, writes Tomasz Terlikowski

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Tomasz Terlikowski
Salvatore Pennacchio, Vatican's apostolic nuncio in Poland. (source: Twitter@EpiskopatNews)

The invitation issued to the Russian ambassador to attend an official function hosted by the Vatican’s representative in Poland has raised eyebrows as it is a clear breach of the unwritten protocol that the Russian ambassador should not be invited at a time of Russian aggression.

It is unacceptable that the Vatican feels that these rules do not apply to it and this incident should have consequences. 

The Vatican’s policy has been pro-Russian for some time. This is a political error and it morally discredits the Vatican’s diplomacy. That is its business, but on Polish soil the Vatican should play by Polish rules, which dictate that at a time of Russian aggression, Russian diplomats are not hosted at official functions at which Polish officials may be present. Polish diplomats do not wish to have contact with Russian diplomats and this wish should be respected. 

The Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Warsaw, Salvatore Pennachio, is fully aware of this position, yet he still invited Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreev to his function. This was uncomfortable for other ambassadors. This being the case, it is time Pennachio was called in to explain himself to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If Pennachio refuses to play by the rules and customs expected of him, he should be sent back or should leave of his own accord. 

The fact that the diplomatic breach has been made by a man of the cloth has not diplomatic nor religious meaning. Pennachio is simply the Vatican’s representative and is not a religious authority. Catholics have every right to judge his actions from a political and diplomatic rather than religious perspective. That judgment cannot be anything other than negative given the present circumstances.

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