Using inside sources and extensive field reporting about the secretive, high-stakes world of international diplomacy, Vatican reporter Victor Gaetan takes readers to the Holy See to explicate Pope Francis's diplomacy, show why it works, and to offer readers a startling contrast to the dangerous inadequacies of recent U.S. international decisions.
Victor Gaetan is senior international correspondent for the National Catholic Register and a contributor to Foreign Affairs magazine, the Washington Examiner, America, and The American Spectator. He resides in Washington, DC.
Introduction: What Does Washington Fear About Pope Francis and Vatican Diplomacy?
Chapter 1: An Adaptable Network, Willing to Bleed
Chapter 2:Mission Beyond Religion
Chapter 3:Education of a Diplomat
Chapter 4: Sovereignty is the Ticket to the International System
Chapter 5:Diplomatic Classics, Rules of Thumb, and Modus Operandi
Introduction: The Mustard Seed: Jorge Bergoglio as Manager, Missionary, and Mystic
Chapter 6: Stifling War in Ukraine; Prioritizing Peace with Russia
2013 protests in Ukraine lead to a war that threatens over two decades of
relationship building between Rome and Moscow
Chapter 7:Mediating Cold War Quarrels: Cuba
2014 marks normalization of relations between the US and Cuba, a landmark agreement brokered by Rome
Chapter 8:Diminishing Division: Kenya
2015 finds Pope Francis in Kenya where he shares a simple gesture
Chapter 9:Letting War’s Victims Lead: Colombia
2016 clinches a peace deal signed by government and guerillas after over 50 years
of fighting; the Catholic Church helps define the agreement’s core concern
Chapter 10: Piecing Together the Middle East: Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia2017 brings political crisis in Lebanon that cardinal-patriarch works to untie
Chapter 11:Unifying the Religion of the Lord of Heaven: China
2018 achieves agreement between Vatican and Beijing on bishop selection
Chapter 12: Piercing Hearts: South Sudan
2019 witnesses a pope on his knees kissing the feet of warlords
[God’s Diplomats is] a mix of impartial description and informed opinion. Not everyone will agree with how different issues are framed, or how different figures are portrayed. But what certainly cannot be argued with is the fact that Gaetan has given a gift not only to foreign policy practitioners, but also to American Catholics. You will not find a book on Church diplomacy as accessible, comprehensive, and faithful, as God’s Diplomats. It is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the Vatican’s diplomatic priorities better — and especially why they don’t always align with America’s.
Gaetan’s book tells the story that Pope Francis and Holy See diplomats themselves do not in a combination of accessible, novel-like prose and meticulous research (including 117 pages of endnotes). The award-winning journalist has reported on Vatican diplomacy for over 20 years, and in God’s Diplomats he tells all.
Informative, insightful and entertaining, he has produced a page-turner that will shed much light and offer fresh perspective on parts of Pope Francis' ministry that have received too little attention. . . .If you read one book on Pope Francis and the Vatican this year, read this one!
God’s Diplomats: Pope Francis, Vatican Diplomacy, and America’s Armageddon is a welcome addition to the literature on the Holy See and it should not be missed, not only by scholars and a more general audience interested in the Holy See, but also by anyone interested in diplomacy and diplomatic negotiation in contemporary international relations.
In God's Diplomats, the chapters on the history of Vatican diplomacy in individual countries are a must-read for anyone trying to understand why the Vatican works the way it does.
Gaetan's book fills a space never covered: by John Allen [renowned American Vaticanista], former Ambassadors, or Italian authors on the Holy See and diplomacy. Gaetan explains how and why the Vatican diplomatic corps works well and should be a model to US diplomacy.
This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the influence the papacy wields on global politics in the 21st century.
I expect God’s Diplomats will become a standard reference for scholars of the role of religion in international affairs, and benefit anyone who wishes to understand the impact of Vatican diplomacy, and its surprising ability to alter the views of world leaders as diverse as Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, and Bashar al-Assad.
Illuminating, entertaining, and inspiring, God’s Diplomats is a major contribution to contemporary literature on Catholicism, international relations and the Francis pontificate.
God’s Diplomats will appeal to many audiences. It is a must read for secular diplomats and Church leaders at every level engaged with the Church’s diplomatic efforts. It should also be required reading for trained diplomats. In-the-pew Catholics and other people of goodwill will find it affirming of the positive role that religion can play in the public square.
I'm so impressed by the meticulousness of the research, the breathtaking pace at which Victor Gaetan guides the reader in God's Diplomats through one of the most complex labyrinths on earth (which constantly made me feel I was reading a great spy novel), and the deep faith reflected in his careful historical analysis.
Victor Gaetan's God's Diplomats will make a valuable contribution to writings about Holy See diplomacy.
History proved the Vatican to be correct when it warned the United States that going to war against Iraq would unleash mayhem. But how could the Church predict such an outcome? In this tour de force work of history, Victor Gaetan demonstrates how invaluable is the Vatican's worldwide diplomatic network, a veritable intelligence gathering machine. Iraq is just one example in Gaetan's book, in which he shows how the Church's well-established diplomacy infrastructure can serve as a force for world peace.
It's a fascinating read, well written, widely sourced, with over a hundred pages of endnotes. It is also a sympathetic view of the Church's involvement in world diplomacy, with particular emphasis on recent hotspots. I recommend it most highly.
7/15/21, Aleteia: Covers the release of the book and features a Q&A with Victor Gaetan.
7/28/21, Catholic News Service: Victor Gaetan talked with CNS about the book and Vatican diplomacy.
8/30/21, Religion News Service: Victor Gaetan talked about the book and the inner workings of the Holy See’s diplomatic efforts.
4/13/22, 52 Living Ideas: Victor Gaetan discussed the book on Digital Catholic Social Teaching by Stahlman.