GOP and Vatican divided by Iraq war

Strained relations
The Vatican and the United States were close allies during the 1980s phase of the cold war. Republican President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II seemed to campaign shoulder to shoulder to oppose Soviet communism, especially in the pontiff’s homeland of Poland, and to combat abortion.

Republicans thought they still had the inside track on good relations with Catholic leaders in Rome during the era of Bill Clinton, whom conservatives assaulted for not standing up for family values.

But, according to best-selling American author John Allen, arguably the world’s leading commentator on the relationship between the Vatican and the U.S., the close-knit days have ended, to the surprise and unease of the Republican administration and its supporters.

It’s because of Iraq.


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