Catholic World News

Ambassador Hackett: religious freedom of ‘paramount priority’ to Obama administration

October 25, 2013

Kenneth Hackett, the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, has told the Catholic News Service that religious freedom is of “paramount priority” to the Obama administration.

“We may not always agree, but I think religious freedom in the bigger sense is of paramount priority to this administration,” said Hackett, the former CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the US bishops’ international development agency. “Let's not lose sight of this and get completely covered by the other issues on health care, because there are bigger religious freedom issues.”

Referring to the HHS mandate, Hackett said that “if asked I will try to make the case as thoughtfully and constructively as I can.”

“I believe that if we move out at the current pace and in the current style of Pope Francis, in another 24 months he is going to represent a very powerful force in the world," he continued. “It will be back to the days when John Paul II was dealing with the issues in Poland. The EU as a government will probably not be able to think about a major issue of peace or human development without (asking), ‘Where is the Holy Father's position on this?’”

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  • Posted by: jimr451 - Oct. 27, 2013 11:04 AM ET USA

    This administration is big on words which have little basis in reality. Here is just another example. So disappointing.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Oct. 27, 2013 9:33 AM ET USA

    Assuming that Hackett is a Catholic, what does it say about his integrity that he would make the case for the HHS mandate. That admission makes him untrustworthy in my eyes.

  • Posted by: chasann113163 - Oct. 26, 2013 7:47 AM ET USA

    This guy must be one of obama's puppets, because anyone who honestly believes that the Obama administration is for freedom of religion, is a real DUMMY! God Have Mercy On Us.

  • Posted by: Athelstan - Oct. 25, 2013 6:33 PM ET USA

    Ambassador Hackett says that “religious freedom in the bigger sense is of paramount priority to this administration....Let's not lose sight of this...because there are bigger religious freedom issues.” What can this really mean when the HHS Mandate denies Catholics outright their freedom of conscience? It is mere duplicity. Referring to the HHS mandate, Hackett said that “if asked I will try to make the case as thoughtfully and constructiv

  • Posted by: - Oct. 25, 2013 6:26 PM ET USA

    Has Ambassador Hackett already become a flack for Obama?

  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 25, 2013 12:06 PM ET USA

    Religious freedom is “paramount priority” to whom? It's quite a distance across the Atlantic, but Hackett should have asked Obama to repeat what he said (perhaps Obama thought he was talking to a iman somewhere). There are bigger religious freedom issues not tied to health care? Doesn't Hackett know that no one should have to give in on such an issue at all? Obama chose well if this is the kind of CINO politician representing us at the Vatican - he did come from the CRS, so I guess it figures.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 25, 2013 12:03 PM ET USA

    Talk about “weird” manifestations, what is this, anyway??? “Religious freedom” is of “paramount importance??” On what planet and according to whose doctrine…, Nancy Pelosi’s? And he anticipates a discussion with the Holy Father…? That surely shall be an interesting scenario.