Thursday, May 28, 2009

For President's Pick, a Papal (Nuncio's) Blessing

In an unplanned intervention here at CUA, the papal nuncio to Washington Archbishop Pietro Sambi leaped to the mic for a second time during this morning's program to note the "wonderful and unexpected coincidence" of Miguel Diaz's nomination as the next US ambassador to the Holy See on the eve of today's symposium for the 25th anniversary of Vatican-Washington relations.

"I would like to express to [Diaz] my congratulations and best wishes," Sambi said, "as his partner on the other side to collaborate with him on what is our main reason of life: to improve relations."

The unexpected move was the nuncio's first public comment on an action of the Obama administration since it came to office. As the Holy See's representative to the US government, Sambi was present at the 44th President's inauguration on 20 January.

Multiple sources with advance knowledge of the administration's move have confirmed that Diaz received the Vatican's clearance to be named in advance of the announcement. What's more, one well-informed church official added an unsolicited, categorical denial of widely-circulated rumors earlier this spring that the Holy See had given a thumbs-down to multiple other names for the posting.

And now, to lunch.