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President Appoints Hispanic Catholic Theologian Miguel Diaz as Ambassador to the Vatican

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Professor Diaz is on the graduate faculty of the School of Theology/Seminary of St. John's University.

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Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/28/2009 (1 decade ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

COLLEGEVILLE, Minnesota (Catholic Online) - After weeks of speculation which generated scores of opinion pieces, President Barack Obama has surprised many observers by choosing Miguel Diaz, PhD, as the United States Ambassador to the Holy See. Professor Diaz is on the graduate faculty of the School of Theology/Seminary of St. John's University and the undergraduate faculty of the Department of Theology at the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University.

Abbot John Klassen, OSB, of Saint John's Abbey said of the appointee: "Professor Miguel Diaz is a skilled Trinitarian theologian who is passionate both as a teacher and a scholar. He is a strong proponent of the necessity of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural, to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith. Born in Havana, Cuba, he is a leading Hispanic theologian in the United States."

Dr. Diaz is married to Marian Diaz, who holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree. The two have four children. He earned his bachelor's degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla., and his master's and doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind. He taught previously at Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla.; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and the University of Notre Dame. He also served as the academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French.

Dr. Diaz was a strong supporter of President Obama during the Presidential campaign. All indications are that he is a Pro-Life Democrat. We await further discussion of his Pro-Life bona fides and will pay close attention to what is said by Kristen Day and "Democrats for Life of America", which she leads. However, his enthusiastic support of the nomination of dissident Catholic Kathleen Sebelius to HHS is troubling to some pro-life observers, including this writer.

The Catholic News Service interviewed Professor Diaz during President Obama's Inauguration. He said that he looked forward "to moving beyond the politics of fear to the politics of hope." He insisted that President Obama would be "committed to working with people who defend 'life in the womb' and deeply respects people who hold positions he does not agree with. Wherever we can, we should advance life at all stages."

In addressing reporters concerning his nomination on Wednesday, Dr. Diaz gave the following statement:

"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."

Like the Presidents' nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Dr. Diaz has a compelling life story. He is the first in his family to attend college. He is the son of a waiter and a data-entry operator. He has an accomplished academic and professional record and it will, of course, be scrutinized closely by all who have awaited this important nomination.

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