Published 17/12/2011 | 05:00
• Eamon Gilmore's justification for closing our embassy to the Vatican, ie, that it yields no economic return, reminds me of Stalin's famous rhetorical question at the Yalta Conference: "How many divisions has the Pope?"
The Pope's state was unarmed and powerless. Whereas Stalin could, and did, liquidate millions of people. He established some of the terrible gulags of the 20th century. For many years, the power of his terrible dictatorship seemed invincible.
Yet one day, Mikhail Gorbachev would tell the Turin-based Italian newspaper 'La Stampa' that Pope John Paul and the Vatican had played a key role in the demise of the USSR and in the extinction of his own office as president and Stalin's successor.