US: Hispanic academic to be 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 US ambassador to the Vatican, the White House announced last Wednesday, reports Eric Gorski for the Associated Press. Miguel H Diaz, 45, a Havana-born associate professor of theology at St John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, would be the first Hispanic to serve as ambassador to the Vatican since the US and the Holy See established full diplomatic ties in 1984.

The selection of a Vatican ambassador rarely attracts scrutiny. But Diaz's nomination comes as tensions run high in the US church over Catholics' voice in the public square 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 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.
Full report on the Associated Press site