Fun History Fact: U.S. had no diplomatic recognition of Vatican until 1984

That’s right. The United States did not diplomatically recognize the Holy See until Reagan established diplomatic relations in 1984.

The real fun fact is why no diplomatic recognition existed until then: separation of church and state. It was viewed as an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state to recognize the Pontificate as a foreign nation. Also, American Protestants were hostile towards the Pope and the Catholic hierarchy and were historically against such recognition.

For much of the 20th century U.S. Presidents would send a personal representative to the Holy See, but they were not an official ambassador until 1984.

History can be surprising and illuminating, no?

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