Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec, a pro-life advocate of President Barack Obama’s election, has stated that he thinks he will be considered as a choice for U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Kmiec and his wife attended a private worship service with President Obama the morning of the presidential inauguration and also attended the Illinois inaugural ball that evening, Pepperdine’s student newspaper The Graphic reports.
"The President is nowhere close to determining such things because of the order of events … everyone's first order of business is economic recovery," Kmiec said, according to The Graphic. "At the appropriate time, when diplomatic relations through the State Department need to be addressed, I think my name would be part of the discussion."
Kmiec, who served as legal counsel for the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, has recently been criticized for his contention that a pro-life Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience.
The U.S. Ambassador under George W. Bush, Mary Ann Glendon submitted her resignation to the White House prior to President Obama's Inauguration, as is customary for all ambassadors when a new President is elected, reports Inside the Vatican.
In a Catholic News Service Story updated on January 26, after the first Vatican negative reaction to the Obama administration, John Thavis wrote: "the Vatican is closely watching for Obama's choice of a new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. An early appointment would be viewed at the Vatican as a sign of the president's interest and attention to the Holy See."
The choice of ambassador is, of course, up to the president. One informed Vatican official dismissed an earlier report that the Vatican, in a nod toward conservative Catholics, might veto the appointment of a high-profile Catholic supporter of Obama. Rejecting an ambassador for those kinds of political motives is not in the tradition of Vatican diplomacy and would, in fact, be very dangerous, the official said."
President Obama’s reversal of the Mexico City Policy, which had prohibited federal funding of international groups that promote or perform abortions, prompted Vatican officials’ first critical response of his presidency.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has criticized "Among the many good things that he could have done, Barack Obama instead has chosen the worst," he said.
"I do not believe that those who voted for him (Obama) took into consideration ethical themes, which were astutely left aside during the election debate. The majority of the American population does not take the same position as the president and his team."
In November, a Vatican official with the Secretary of State denied that Prof. Kmiec has a chance of becoming a U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, telling CNA under condition of anonymity "This will never happen."
CNA recently consulted the same official, who said:
"Obviously the Holy See will not openly veto Kmiec's appointment. But the process is not that simple. There are always back channel consultations with the (Vatican) Secretary of State, and there is no chance that he (Kmiec) will pass that test.
"There are many ways to tell the Obama administration way in advance that such an appointment would not be a good idea. There are many other candidates, Catholic or not, that would not spark the kind of antagonism and division that Professor Kmiec has sparked, as he himself has recently admitted," the official told CNA.