Thursday, July 16, 2009

Diaz on Deck

Since President Obama's (Vatican-blessed) nomination of Miguel Diaz as US ambassador to the Holy See has garnered quite the amount of interest from its announcement in late May, it's worth noting word fresh off the wire that the confirmation hearing for the St John's theologian -- an adviser to both the Obama campaign and the Dem-friendly lobby Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good -- has been scheduled for next Wednesday, 22 July.

The 9am session before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will see the Vatican nominee join three other ambassadors-designate in taking questions from the panel's 11 Democrats and seven Republicans; if green-lighted there, the nods move to the full Senate for a final vote.

Chairing the hearing will be Massachusetts' John Kerry, a Catholic and the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. Other Catholics on Foreign Relations include Connecticut's Chris Dodd, New Jersey's Robert Menendez, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and New York's Kirsten Gilibrand, all Democrats; Idaho's Jim Risch is the lone GOP Catholic on the committee.

In the 100-member upper house -- where the Blue bloc now holds a 60-seat supermajority -- Catholic Democrats outnumber the body's Republican faithful by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

As Diaz has observed the standard pre-confirmation silence since his nomination was announced, Wednesday's hearing will provide the stage for his first public comment, especially on his intended approach to the post that, in all likelihood, he'll soon take up.

As always, stay tuned.