Former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson called the move a “massive downgrade” in U.S.-Vatican ties, turning the Vatican embassy “into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy,” in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter.
Former U.S. representatives to the Vatican — Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn, Thomas Melady — also objected.
In the past, the Vatican has insisted that countries maintain embassies to the Holy See and to Rome in separate locations, but it hasn’t protested the U.S. relocation. The State Department official said that while the embassies will be located on the same compound, the Vatican embassy will have separate entrances.