After Ambassador Glendon comes … this AP story from a Minneapolis TV channel:
My emphases and comments.
Hispanic theologian from MN college chosen for Vatican ambassador
A Hispanic Roman Catholic theologian who was an adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign will be nominated to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, the White House announced Wednesday. [If Pres. Obama was unsure about the Latino vote, he soon won’t be.]
Miguel H. Diaz, 45, an associate professor of theology at St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict [Not in recent years known for their strong adherence to the Magisterium, though we all hope this fellow is sound.] in Minnesota, would be the first Hispanic to serve as ambassador to the Vatican since the United States and the Holy See established full diplomatic ties in 1984. Diaz was born in Havana.
The announcement comes in the same week Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, to the Supreme Court. She would be the high court’s first Hispanic justice.
The selection of a Vatican ambassador rarely attracts scrutiny. But Diaz’s nomination comes as tensions run high in the U.S. church over Catholics’ voice in the public square [NB: Voice in the public square! We will be seeing this phrase more and more. I have been hammering at this for a long time. We have to get the discussion going.] and the politics of abortion.
Obama’s recent commencement speech and acceptance of an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame — Diaz’s alma mater [So… he went to Notre Dame….] and the nation’s flagship Catholic university — provoked controversy and criticism from dozens of Catholic bishops because Obama’s abortion stance clashes with a core church teaching.
The previous ambassador to the Vatican was Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard University professor and conservative Catholic scholar with longtime Vatican ties. Glendon turned down Notre Dame’s top honor, the Laetere Medal, because of the school’s decision to honor Obama.
In an interview with Catholic News Service at Obama’s inauguration, Diaz said he was looking forward [get this…] "to moving beyond the politics of fear to the politics of hope." [Oh brother.] He said Obama was "committed to working" with people who defend "life in the womb" and deeply respects people who hold positions he does not agree with. [So this fellow has essentially consumed the kool-aid.]
"Wherever we can, we should advance life at all stages," Diaz said.
Reached at his home Wednesday, Diaz read a brief statement [Sooo… he is being very careful about releasing words to the public for scrutiny.] expressing gratitude for the opportunity and saying, "I wish to be a diplomatic bridge between our nation and the Holy See, and if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I will continue the work of my predecessors and build on 25 years of excellent relations with the Holy See."
He declined to answer questions about his positions on issues, saying it would be inappropriate before his confirmation hearing.
One potential point of conflict is Diaz’s support for the nomination of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic whose abortion rights record angered conservative Catholics. [Let’s put this in another way: she is pro-abortion but she says she is Catholic.] Diaz was among 26 Catholic leaders and scholars who signed a statement hailing Sebelius as "a woman of deep faith" [I will put the list of signers at the bottom of this entry.] and citing her a record on immigration, education, health care and reducing abortion rates in Kansas.
The son of a waiter and a data-entry operator, Diaz was the first person in his family to attend college. He taught religious studies and theology at Barry University, the University of Dayton and Notre Dame. From 2001 to 2003, he was academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Diaz is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian. He is past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, and a father of four.
According to public records, Diaz donated $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint committee of Obama and the Democratic National Committee. He served on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory board.
Diaz was far from the most visible — or controversial — Catholic to campaign for Obama. Douglas Kmiec, [Note how the press associates Diaz with Kmiec.] a Catholic law professor and former Reagan administration lawyer, was targeted by conservative Catholics and denied Communion by one priest for his support for Obama. [I think this over simplifies the issue: As a very public Catholic Kmiec supported an aggressively pro-abortion candidate.]
Kmiec, who was mentioned as a possible Vatican envoy, applauded the choice of Diaz on Wednesday, calling him "a gifted theologian and a natural teacher. And his love for the faith is unquestioned."
Cathleen Kaveny, a Notre Dame law and theology professor who also served on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory committee, said it was significant Obama chose a theologian and a representative of one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. church, Hispanics.
"He is not a big donor, he’s not a big professor," she said. "He’s someone very knowledgeable about the Catholic tradition and Catholic theology. What you see is President Obama taking seriously not just Catholicism as a political force but as an intellectual force." [Is that what we see Pres. Obama is doing? That is what he is doing?]
The advocacy groups Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good issued statements Wednesday night praising the choice of Diaz. [Not a good sign.]
Obama is scheduled to travel to Italy in July, and the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican would likely play a role in arranging a possible meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Other shared interests between the U.S. and the Vatican include Middle East peace and relations with the Muslim world.
I found on the site of the Cardinal Newman Society that…
Half of the 26 Catholic activists, scholars and theologians who signed a statement publicly supporting President Barack Obama’s selection of pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services are professors employed by Catholic universities, The Cardinal Newman Society revealed today.
Lisa Sowle Cahill – Boston College
Nicholas Cafardi – Duquesne University
William D’Antonio – The Catholic University of America
Miguel H. Diaz – College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University (Minnesota)
Julia Dowd – University of San Francisco
Joseph Fahey – Manhattan College
Fr. David Hollenbach – Boston College
Delores Leckey – Georgetown University (Woodstock Theological Center fellow)
Fr. Thomas Massaro – Boston College
Vincent Miller – Georgetown University
David O’Brien – College of the Holy Cross
Fr. Thomas Reese – Georgetown University (Woodstock Theological Center fellow)
Stephen Schneck – The Catholic University of America
Are you wondering, as I am, how L’Osservatore Romano – with their Westpolitik – will report this?