US Ambassadorship to Vatican Difficult for Obama to Fill

According to a Newsmax article from last Thursday, the Obama administration is having difficulty staffing the position of ambassador to the Vatican:

According to Massimo Franco, author of “Parallel Empires,” a recently published book on U.S.-Vatican relations, the Obama administration has put forward three candidates for consideration but each of them have been deemed insufficiently pro-life by the Vatican.

One of the few conditions the Vatican places on diplomats accredited to the Holy See is that they hold pro-life views in line with Church teaching.

Franco says the administration is now looking for a professional diplomat rather than a political appointee because finding an authentically pro-life candidate within the Democratic Party is proving impossible. The task is further hampered by the administration’s desire to reward individuals who gave donations to Obama’s campaign.

Since the U.S. opened formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican 25 years ago under President Reagan, all ambassadors have been political appointees and pro-life Catholics of varying degrees, even under the Clinton administration.

However, in view of the absence of qualified Catholic candidates, insiders say another option could be for the administration to choose a non-Catholic pro-life candidate rather than a Catholic whose record on pro-life issues is at odds with Church teaching.

“There may be room for such an appointment and it could be a good choice,” said Franco, “but at the moment I can’t imagine it happening.”

The post of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See has been vacant since Jan. 19, when Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon left the position. Commentators say that unless an appointment is made by mid-April, the Obama administration could face the embarrassing possibility of having no ambassador in place when the president visits Italy in July for the G8 summit. That would make any encounter between Pope Benedict XVI and President Obama not impossible but unlikely.

25 Responses to US Ambassadorship to Vatican Difficult for Obama to Fill

  • Very interesting. Sorry, Prof. Kmiec.

  • That’s a riot:

    Franco says the administration is now looking for a professional diplomat rather than a political appointee because finding an authentically pro-life candidate within the Democratic Party is proving impossible. The task is further hampered by the administration’s desire to reward individuals who gave donations to Obama’s campaign.

  • C’mon. There clearly are “authentically pro-life candidate[s] with the Democrat[] Party”. If they were smart, they’d go with someone like John Breaux.

  • So Kmiec’s out. No Kennedys, either- pul-leeze no Kennedys. A nice Episcopalian? Nope that denomination is coming apart like thrift shop sport coat. I know there are actually some Pro-Lifers within the Dem Party. But absolutely none at the most elite level- even our own Sen. Bob Casey was disinvited by the Benedictine college that hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers in pre-season camp. Besides, Steelers owner Dan Rooney is headed for Ireland and while a good man lacks the gift of bi-locality. I would nominate Don Mac but I see problems in the hearing room- instant friction with Leahy or Reid or some other schmoe. Thus, a dilemma.

  • Being pro-life is not just talking pro-life and voting pro-abortion, so that pretty much eliminates all of Obama’s supporters, democrat or otherwise, including Bob Casey Jr.

  • I really think this has to do with money and contributions

    Though yes the stable of compentent pro-life Dems to handle this postion is a little scarce thatn usual I have to think they exist

    As mentioned I would be talking to the propsed new Envoy to Ireland. He would be good

    I am not sure if Blanco has too much baggage or that she is up for the job but heck take a look at ther

    Former Louisiana Senator John Breaux would be a perfect fit it the President can pry him away from his lobbying postion for a couple of years

    I have to think in the Hispanic community there has to be one Qualified pro-lifer in Dem circles

  • I get the feeling that Obama may have been trying to make a statement/to test the Vatican, thinking he could win over the Vatican with the charm has led other Europeans to gush about him.

    And yet, in what has become a hallmark of his young presidency, he was wrong.

  • I think the Obama administration wants to go with a professional diplomat, because they are expecting relations to worsen with the Vatican. Better to have someone over there who will do what he or she is told rather than send over a Democrat with a pro-life voting record, a sure sign of an independent mind in the current Democrat party, who might decide to resign if relations with the Vatican get too bad.

  • One of the few conditions the Vatican places on diplomats accredited to the Holy See is that they hold pro-life views in line with Church teaching.

    How intolerant and Calvinist/Jansenist/Gnostic/American Exceptionalist/Leninist/hateful/partisan/immature of the Vatican. It’s not like they would be advocating the ambassador’s anti-life positions by receiving him/her. The Vatican has a lot to learn about what it means to be truly Catholic.

  • Perhaps he should look outside of political pay-backs and outside of professional diplomats and go where no one has gone before – to the blogs.

    Although seriously, the answer is for him to simply reappoint MaryAnn Glendon, who served for Bush. She was exemplary.

  • One of my law parters is heading off to fill a high level position in Obama’s Justice Department. I have alerted her to my willingness to serve. In keeping with time-honored Democratic Party traditions, I’m willing to pay, er, ahem, make a late campaign contribution if necessary.

  • Sure, there are plenty of sufficiently pro-life Catholic Democrats, some of them somewhat prominent. Not only Breaux, but Bart Stupak or Dale Kildee (though I’m not so certain on one of the latter’s stem-cell votes) here in Michigan qualify. And neither would result in the loss of a Democratic seat (both their districts are solidly Democratic).

    The problem apparently is that the administration doesn’t know any. Which, given Obama’s ultra-liberal milieu, is the furthest thing from surprising.

    And, yes, schadenfreude–but I’d be tickled pink if Kmiec was one of the rejectees.

  • How intolerant and Calvinist/Jansenist/Gnostic/American Exceptionalist/Leninist/hateful/partisan/immature of the Vatican. It’s not like they would be advocating the ambassador’s anti-life positions by receiving him/her. The Vatican has a lot to learn about what it means to be truly Catholic.

    Just so… ;-)

  • Late campaign contributions Mike, the mother’s milk of politics!

  • I think people would do well to question the article, and not just believe it just because it is what they want to hear.

    First, who are these unnamed sources? Second, why the mention of Doug Kmiec? I didn’t see his name listed in the article. In other words, the claims are 1) gossip being used for 2) defamation or calumnity. Not good.

  • The Vatican has a lot to learn about what it means to be truly Catholic…there’s a laugh.

  • Newt Gingrich just converted to Catholicism. Maybe the big O should appoint him. It would accomplish two things, someone with half a brain would be the ambassador and Gingrich would ostensibly be out of BO’s hair.

  • mary that is one of the more brilliant comments made on this blog in many a week. Additionally it would give a shot in the arm to the risible claim of Obama that he is above the usual partisan politics, and, if Gingrich were to resign down the road in opposition to some of Obama’s policies which the Vatican opposes, Obama could write it off as mere Republican sniping. I don’t think Obama would consider it, but it has considerable merit from his point of view.

  • Gingrich–nooooo. I think converts should be allowed to season for a while before they jump into something this big. Reappointing Glendon would be great, not to mention politically deft, given the ND firestorm.

    But it won’t happen.

  • And, OK, truth be told, I’m not a Gingrich fan, even though I readily concede he’s one of the smartest men in politics.

    He writes fine alternate history, too.

  • I agree, Dale. That said, I could actually see how it might work to benefit G’s seasoning. While I’m not a fan either, he’s a smart guy who could become a more serious and informed Catholic as a consequence. Agree it won’t happen though, for a lot of reasons.

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