Here’s how Catholic News Agency reported the most recent diplomatic gaffe:
During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.
You can read more about Guadalupe here, but Roman Catholics believe that the beautiful image was miraculously imprinted on the cloak of a 16th-century peasant. It is Mexico’s most popular and important religious image and the basilica that houses it is the second-most popular Catholic shrine in the world.
Here are the details of the exchange:
Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.
After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”
Now, it’s one thing to not know what the Catholic Church teaches about Guadalupe. But it’s another for the State Department not to have briefed Clinton prior to her visit. Of course, those are political considerations. (emphasis added)
I agree that every little mis-step made by a politician shouldn’t be headline news. If that were the case these days, evening newscasts would be nothing but blooper reels. But I have to wonder, what if Condoleezza Rice, or Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin had made that comment …
The Catholic News Agency also notes:
Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, ‘you have a marvelous virgin!’
With the Smartest Woman In The World in charge of the most protocol-obsessed department of the United States government, these things should not be happening, should they?