Going to Church in Colombia
In April 2008, I traveled to Colombia to report on the foreign policy of the Catholic church. No one expects a small city-state to be a foreign policy powerhouse! Yet, the Holy See—the Vatican’s governmental and diplomatic arm—reaches across the globe with a network of hundreds of nuncios, or ambassadors. Other diplomats have described the Vatican’s nuncios as more knowledgeable of and dialed into the places they serve than CIA operatives.
The Vatican has a seat at the UN as well as membership in a number of international organizations. In some countries, particularly in the southern hemisphere, the Catholic church plays large roles in education, healthcare, development, and conflict resolution.
It was a challenging story for me to report as I resent the church for enabling and covering up decades of sexual abuse (and largely getting away with it). So, I had to put aside my bias and report objectively on the work of the church in Colombia to mitigate and reduce conflict and provide services that the government could not and did not.
The following paid subscriber content is the tale of my trip.