Dear Catholic Exchange:
A co-worker claims that Dubuque, Iowa proclaims to be the papal refuge in the United States for the pope if he needs to flee Rome. This seems a little far-fetched to me.
Peace in Christ!
First, a disclaimer: The following notwithstanding, Dubuque would be a fine place for a papal refuge.
It can be difficult to prove the opposite, negative statement (this is one of the strengths of conspiracy theories), in this case that Dubuque is not a papal refuge. A person can spend quantities of time and find nothing, while still not reaching a certain conclusion. But here are a few considerations that might be helpful in drawing your own conclusion.
It would seem that arrangements for papal refuge would be secret and, ad tempus, planned according to a particular threat or need. It would be more difficult for the Pope to secretly reach refuge if enemies know of the destination.
There doesn't seem to be reference to such papal refuges in the usual resources.
A chancery official for the Archdiocese of Dubuque said that he knows nothing of such an arrangement.
This brings our gaze back to your co-worker. The easiest way to address such statements is to ask the person making the statement how it can be known to be true.
United in the Faith,
Director of Catholic Responses
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952