Fairfield University Catholic Theology scholar comments on Obama's selection of new ambassador to the Holy See


Media Advisory

Dr. Nancy Dallavalle, chair of religious studies at Fairfield University, commenting on the selection by President Obama of Miguel Diaz as ambassador to the Vatican, says "If Miguel Díaz can effectively serve as the face of the serious Catholic commitment to a more just and inclusive world, one that is particularly attuned to the needs of the most vulnerable among us, he will do well." At the same time, she asks, "Can he work 'in concert' with the Vatican? And, more pointedly, will the competing forces in U.S. Catholicism allow him to do the good work to which the Obama administration has called him?"

Diaz, she says, "is clearly in the Obama camp, on record as donating to the Obama campaign and vocal as a speaker for the progressive group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. But make no mistake, he's clearly pro-life, part of the newly-energized movement of pro-life Catholics, who find Obama's policies to reflect the kind of social order that is committed to community and justice in a way that moves beyond the zero-sum calculus of the old left and the neo-con right."

What is important about the appointment, she says, "are the broad themes to which he returns, over and over, in his work. His book, 'On Being Human,' brings together the particular story of experientially-focused Hispanic theological insights with Karl Rahner's broad and generous story of humanity in search of God. It's THIS broad framework, this pattern of movement 'from disparate roots to common purpose,' that is well-suited to the needs of the Obama administration as it works in concert with the global concerns that face Benedict XVI everyday."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 28, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 345