A diplomatic blunder may have ruined Colombia’s shot at a visit from the Pope, the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported Monday.
Just when the Vatican announced it was considering a visit to Colombia in 2013, President Juan Manuel Santos appointed a new ambassador, German Cardona, to the Holy See without first seeking the Pope’s approval.
Cesar Velasquez, Colombia’s outgoing ambassador, had invited the Pope to Colombia “as a visitor of peace and forgiveness.” But the Pope may not forgive this diplomatic oversight, a “Vatican insider” told La Stampa.
It is common for countries to first submit their diplomatic appointee to the Vatican, which reviews the candidate’s professional, moral and familial standing before approving the choice, Colombia newspaper El Tiempo reported.
The Vatican rarely rejects a country’s nomination, the insider said, but Colombia’s failure to comply with Vatican protocol has been interpreted as impolite and may have cost them the visit.
It did not help that Colombia’s last ambassador to the Vatican stayed at his post for less than two years, or that Santos has not visited the Vatican on his trips to Europe.