Mary Ann Glendon was confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican by the Senate on Wednesday in the most perfunctory of votes. There’s no evidence there was even the customary hearing. Some folks had been spreading all sorts of rumors of controversy, but there was no more debate on her nomination than there is when the typical Second Lieutenant is confirmed for promotion to First Lieutenant.
There should have been objections, based on principle, as I noted back on November 6. She is not only an active Catholic, but is president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and was head of the Vatican delegation to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing. How can she represent the U.S. to the Vatican when she holds Vatican appointments? This is like naming an Iranian government minister as U.S. ambassador to Iran.
If the U.S. is to have an ambassador to the Catholic Church (a debatable proposition on First Amendment grounds), then surely the person should be chosen on the basis of whether they can represent the nation’s interests.