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Conscience Magazine

New US Ambassador to the Holy See Confirmed

September 16, 2013

The former president of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Ken Hackett, has been confirmed as the next US ambassador to the Holy See. His nomination was approved by Congress after he was selected by President Obama and received diplomatic approval from the Holy See.

The choice of Hackett, a USCCB insider who has relationships with Vatican offices on foreign policy and charity, according to the National Catholic Reporter, means “his nomination likely avoids yet another source of tension in the sometimes strained relationship between the Obama administration and the bishops.”

Hackett’s background in overseas international aid reflects a mixture of policy positions, ranging from a 2010 letter to Congress in support of the Mexico City Policy, which prevented US-funded organizations from performing or referring for abortion, to a 2008 letter produced by CRS under his leadership, which stated that affiliated charities should give information on condoms, which are “highly effective when used correctly.”