The Honorable Miguel Diaz | University of Portland

The Honorable Miguel Diaz

The Honorable Miguel Diaz has been the United States Ambassador to the Holy See since August of 2009, when his nomination by President Barack Obama was confirmed by the United States Senate. A noted theologian, professor, ­author, dean, and sought-after speaker, Ambassador Diaz is also a renowned scholar of the work of Karl Rahner.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Diaz moved as a boy to the United States. His father worked as a waiter, his mother as a data clerk, and Miguel became the first member of the family to attend college; he studied at Saint John Vianney Seminary, earned his undergraduate degree at Saint Thomas University in Florida, and earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Notre Dame. He then taught at Barry University and Saint Paul Seminary in Florida (where he also served as dean), at the University of Dayton, and at Notre Dame, before becoming a professor of theology at both Saint Benedict and Saint John’s universities, both in Collegeville, Minnesota. He was in Minnesota when he was nominated to succeed Harvard Law School professor Mary Ann Glendon as the American ambassador to the Vatican, a relationship established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Abbot John Klassen of Saint John’s Abbey spoke for many American Catholics when he lauded the appointment “of a skilled theologian who is passionate as both a teacher and a scholar…a strong proponent of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural, to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith.”

Ambassador Diaz is the author of On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives, editor of From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology, and a scholar active in many theological societies; he was president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, is a board member of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Karl Rahner Society, and is a member of Voices for a Common Good, an association of men and women interested and articulate about Catholic social teachings.

The Ambassador has said that his work in Rome will be to help move “beyond the politics of fear to the politics of hope…wherever we can, we should advance life at all stages.” In his formal address to the Holy Father, Diaz praised Pope Benedict's humanitarian efforts, his efforts at promoting “inter-­religious dialogue for the sake of peace,” and the Pope’s encouragement of “authentic stewardship of God’s creation in order to combat climate change and ensure food ­security…my nation looks forward to working with the Holy See to ensure that the old and the young may embrace the audacity to hope, celebrate in the fruition of justice, and work together to defend fundamental human rights, economic opportunity for all, peace in our world, and respect for the dignity of all human persons. I promise to serve as a bridge-builder between the United States and the Holy See.”

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in his formal response to the Ambassador, lauded America’s ­“vibrant democracy committed to the common good, shaped by a ­vision of equality and opportunity based on the God-given dignity and freedom of each human being... ­religious vision and religious imagination do not straiten but enrich political and ethical discourse…
religions are called to be a prophetic force for human liberation and development…’”