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US ambassador cites strong ties with Vatican January 10, 2008

The US ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, met with Pope Benedict XVI in a farewell visit before leaving Rome.

After his talk with the Holy Father, the American envoy told Vatican Radio that relations between the US and the Holy See today are "stronger than ever, both from a policy point of view and a personal point of view." The US, he said, regularly supports Vatican policy initiatives, since both are committed to protecting "human dignity and essential freedoms." On the personal level he reported a warm friendship between Pope Benedict XVI and President George W. Bush.

Rooney, who has served at the Vatican since October 2005, will soon return to the US. He will be replaced by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law professor whose nomination to the Vatican post was recently confirmed by the US Senate.

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