The government is poised to appoint an old friend of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, the Sydney QC John McCarthy, as ambassador to the Vatican, but the process has been dogged by leaks and frustration with the length of time the Holy See is taking to rubber-stamp the appointment, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Mr McCarthy is understood to have been offered the posting but is frustrated he is unable to make plans or accept official congratulations until it is formalised by the Vatican.
''I am not going to deny to you or to anyone that there is likely to be an appointment shortly,'' he said on Tuesday.
Mr McCarthy said he was ''frustratingly broken hearted'' at the state of affairs, and that he had received many messages of congratulations which he found embarrassing because it would be premature to accept them. He said the speculation was particularly difficult in a ''gossip-ruled world like the legal profession''.
Last month the Bar Association newsletter, In Brief, announced Mr McCarthy's appointment, then quickly retracted.
A Sydney Morning Herald reporter’s phone call to the Vatican's Apostolic Nuncio in Canberra was not returned.
Meanwhile the Herald’s editorial today calls on the government to clarify the significance of the appointing of an ambassador to the Holy See.
“That the Vatican is a great influence in world affairs, and that no other main religion has such a central leadership, argues for governments to have a formal discourse with it. Yet the merits of having a dedicated ambassador have not been fully explored with the public.”
The paper said that until the appointment is explained, “the post appears to be a sinecure, an unnecessary embellishment to a diplomatic service that is already struggling to do its tasks”.
Carr selects new Vatican envoy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Our man in the holy see (Sydney Morning Herald)
Screenshot from SMH