List of ambassadors of the United States to the Holy See
|Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See|
|Apostolicae Sedis Legatus Civitatum Foederatarum|
|Nominator||The President of the United States|
with Senate advice and consent
|Inaugural holder||William A. Wilson|
as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
|Formation||April 9, 1984|
The Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See is the official representative of the United States of America to the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church. The official representation began with the formal opening of diplomatic relations with the Holy See by President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Before the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Postmaster General James Farley was the first high-ranking government official to normalize relations with the Holy See in 1933. In addition, Myron Taylor would serve during World War II as an emissary for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1951, President Harry S. Truman's pick of World War II hero Mark W. Clark was defeated.
Between 1951 and 1968, the United States had no official representative accredited to the Holy See. President Richard Nixon changed this when he appointed Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. as his personal representative. President Jimmy Carter followed with the appointment of former New York City mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Every ambassador to date has been a member of the Roman Catholic Church. The post is currently occupied by Joe Donnelly, a former United States senator from Indiana.
History before formal diplomatic relations established
The United States had diplomatic relations with the Papal States from 1797 to 1867. The Papal States ceased to exist in 1870, when its last territory (the city of Rome) was lost to the Kingdom of Italy. After that, the international status of the Papacy was controversial until 1929, when the Italian government agreed to the establishment of Vatican City as a sovereign city-state.
The United States was slow to establish full diplomatic relations with the re-established Holy See, partly due to the prevalence of anti-Catholicism in the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Postmaster General James Farley was the first high-ranking government official to normalize relations with the Holy See in 1933 when the Postmaster General set sail for Europe, along with Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinoff on the Italian Liner SS Conte di Savoia. In Italy Farley had an audience with Pope Pius XI, and dinner with Cardinal Pacelli, who was to accede to the papacy in 1939. Myron Charles Taylor, an industrialist, philanthropist and diplomat (starting with World War II), served from December 1939 until 1950 as an emissary[clarification needed] to Pope Pius XII for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
On October 20, 1951, Truman nominated Mark W. Clark, a U.S. Army general and World War II hero, to be emissary to the Holy See. Clark later withdrew his nomination on January 13, 1952, following protests from U.S. Senator Tom Connally from Texas and Protestant groups.
Between 1951 and 1968, the United States had no official representative accredited to the Holy See.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon changed this when he appointed—as his personal representative[clarification needed]—Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., a former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Nixon's 1960 Republican vice presidential running mate and a former U.S. ambassador (to the United Nations, South Vietnam, and West Germany).
|Name and Title||Presentation of
|Jacob L. Martin, Chargé d'Affaires||August 19, 1848||August 26, 1848|
|Lewis Cass, Jr., Minister Resident||November 19, 1849||November 27, 1858|
|John P. Stockton, Minister Resident||November 27, 1858||May 23, 1861|
|Alexander Randall, Minister Resident||June 6, 1862||August 4, 1862|
|Richard Milford Blatchford, Minister Resident||November 26, 1862||May 20, 1863|
|Rufus King, Minister Resident||January 8, 1864||August 17, 1867|
List of ambassadors
The following is a list of U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See:
|Name||Years served||Pope||U.S. President|
|William Wilson[a]||1984–1986||John Paul II||Ronald Reagan|
|Thomas Patrick Melady||1989–1993||George H. W. Bush|
|Raymond Flynn||1993–1997||Bill Clinton|
|James Nicholson||2001–2005||George W. Bush|
|Francis Rooney||2005–2008||Benedict XVI|
|Mary Ann Glendon||2008–2009|
|Miguel H. Díaz||2009–2012||Barack Obama|
|Callista Gingrich||2017–2021||Donald Trump|
|Joe Donnelly||2022–present||Joe Biden|
In 2009, the post of ambassador remained vacant for several months because of tensions between the Vatican and the Obama Administration over the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Three candidates were mentioned, including Caroline Kennedy and Douglas Kmiec.
From November 2012 through mid-2013, the seat was also vacant, after Miguel H. Díaz left the office to teach at the University of Dayton. President Barack Obama nominated Ken Hackett, a longtime president of Catholic Relief Services, for the position in June 2013. Ken Hackett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See on August 1, 2013.
- Embassy of the United States to the Holy See
- Holy See–United States relations
- Foreign relations of the Holy See
- Ambassadors of the United States
- From 1981 to 1984, Wilson was Reagan's personal representative to the Holy See.
- Mission Statement Archived April 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine from the website of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See
- "Full text of "Jim Farley S Story"".
- "Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador". The Hill (in American English). January 22, 2022. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
- "Obama's candidates for Vatican ambassador failing 'simple standard'". Catholic News Agency. April 9, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
- "The Vatican versus the White House". Irish Independent. April 18, 2009.
- "Pope 'rejects Caroline Kennedy for being too liberal'". The Times. April 15, 2009.
- Jaweed, Kaleem (June 14, 2013). "Ken Hackett To Be Nominated As Ambassador To Vatican". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Rivera. "CRS Congratulates Ken Hackett on his Confirmation as US Ambassador to the Holy See". Catholic Relief Services. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Gibson. "Former charity head confirmed as US ambassador to Vatican". Washington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/. (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets)