Viewing cable 06VATICAN10
Title: VATICAN SUPPORTS SANT'EGIDIO EFFORTS ON TOGO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VATICAN102006-01-20 16:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
VZCZCXRO7425
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHSR
DE RUEHROV #0010 0201657
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201657Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0221
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0249
C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 000010 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE LARREA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/20/2016 
TAGS: TO VT PHUM PREL KIRF
SUBJECT: VATICAN SUPPORTS SANT'EGIDIO EFFORTS ON TOGO 
 
REF: 05 VATICAN 558 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Peter Martin, Pol/Econ Chief, Vatican, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
 
 
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Summary 
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¶1.  (C)  Vatican Country Director for Togo Monsignor Bettencourt 
expressed enthusiasm recently for the Community of Sant'Egidio's 
efforts at conflict resolution in the country (reftel).  He and 
Community leaders talk often about negotiations - not always the 
case in relations between the Vatican Secretariat of State 
(Foreign Ministry) and Sant'Egidio.  Bettencourt was optimistic 
about the recent appointment of American Archbishop Michael 
Blume as nuncio to Togo and Benin.  Blume's appointment is 
unusual in that he is not a graduate of the Holy See's 
diplomatic academy, but his experience in West Africa and in 
Rome recommended him for the position.  Post enjoyed close 
cooperation with him in his previous position in the Roman 
Curia.  End Summary. 
 
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Vatican Supports Sant'Egidio's Togo Efforts 
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¶2.  (C)  Vatican Country Director for Togo Monsignor Jose 
Bettencourt expressed enthusiasm recently for Sant'Egidio's 
efforts at conflict resolution in Africa, adding that the group 
had made significant strides in Togo.  Bettencourt fretted about 
the general fortunes of the Church in Togo, describing how the 
archbishop of Lome, Philippe Fanoko Kossi Kpodzro, had been 
"framed" in an aid scandal some time ago.  He mentioned ongoing 
government-Church tensions and said that the Church was not 
entirely free, giving as an example a difficulty Catholic media 
outlets have obtaining permits to operate. 
 
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Vatican - Community Cooperation Good in this Case 
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¶3.  (C)  Although Sant'Egidio is loosely affiliated with the 
Holy See and enjoys a close relationship with some high-ranking 
prelates, there have been tensions at times between the Holy 
See's Secretariat of State and the Community.  We have sometimes 
noted a lack of communication between the two on issues of 
mutual concern.  In this case, Bettencourt said he often spoke 
to Mario Giro, Sant'Egidio's lead on Togo.  Giro told us last 
week he had nothing concrete to report about the possibility of 
a third Rome negotiating session for the Togo conflict, rumored 
to be in the works (ref a). 
 
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Blume: Good Choice for Nuncio 
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¶4.  (SBU)  Bettencourt was optimistic about the recent 
appointment of Archbishop Michael Blume, an American belonging 
to the order of the Divine Word Missionaries, as nuncio to Togo 
and Benin.  Blume's appointment was a surprise to some Vatican 
observers as he is a member of a religious order and not a 
graduate of the Holy See's diplomatic academy.  This makes him a 
rarity among nuncios.  Some took the appointment as a sign that 
Pope Benedict was turning away from the Secretariat of State 
(Foreign Ministry), a branch of the Roman Curia populated 
largely by academy graduates that has earned a somewhat 
exclusivist reputation at the Vatican.  Unlike Popes Pius XII, 
Paul VI, and John XXIII, Benedict is not a graduate of the 
academy and never worked in the Secretariat of State. 
Bettencourt and others we have spoken to deny that this was a 
factor, telling us that the Secretariat of State would have 
presented Pope Benedict with Blume's name at the end of a 
selection process.  Benedict could have vetoed the selection, 
but would not have been the one to select him. 
 
¶5.  (SBU)  Post has enjoyed close cooperation with Blume on 
human trafficking issues, as he was the Undersecretary of the 
Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerants, the lead Vatican 
department on the issue.  His Divine Word Missionaries, who were 
active in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, have a rich history in 
Africa, and Blume himself spent some 17 years in Ghana.  His 
selection, says Bettencourt, was recognition by the Vatican of 
these facts - and recognition that Togo deserves close attention 
from someone who understands the region. 
 
ROONEY