Senate confirms Callista Gingrich as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See

| October 17, 2017 | 8 Comments
Callista Gingrich

Callista Gingrich is pictured during a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Washington July 18 after being nominated by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. The U.S. Senate late Oct. 16 voted to confirm Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

The Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich as the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Voting late Oct. 16, senators approved her nomination 70-23. More than 20 Democrats joined Republicans in supporting Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a vocal ally of President Donald Trump.

Gingrich, 51, a lifelong Catholic and a former congressional aide, has been president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Virginia, since 2007.

She was expected to present her credentials at the Vatican in the coming weeks.

Gingrich’s associates welcomed the vote. Among them was Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, where Gingrich has been a longtime member of the choir.

“Callista has been part of our shrine family for two decades and so, as any family rejoices when good news arrives, we rejoice with Callista,” Msgr. Rossi said in an Oct. 17 statement. “Both Callista and Speaker Gingrich are wonderful supporters of our ministry here at Mary’s shrine, most especially our music program.

“More importantly, Callista has a great love for the church and our country,” he added. “Her faith is an integral part of her life and I am confident that her faith will be her solid foundation as she enters a new service to church and nation.”

The Bethlehem University Foundation wished Gingrich “great success in her new role.” The Gingrichs have been foundation patrons, serving as advisers to its executive director and donors.

During her confirmation hearing July 18, Gingrich emphasized her desire to work with the Vatican to protect religious freedom and human rights, fight terrorism and human trafficking, and seek peaceful solutions to international crises.

Gingrich also explained under sharp questioning that the U.S. wanted to be a leader in addressing environmental issues despite initiating efforts to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. She said the White House was committed to sustaining “our clean air and our clean water.”

“We are all called to be stewards of the land,” she said, echoing a common theme expressed by Pope Francis.

In 2010, Gingrich’s company released the film “Nine Days That Changed the World” about St. John Paul II’s nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in 1979 and how it played a part in the fall of communism in Europe. She also has written the “Ellis the Elephant” children’s American history series and co-authored “Rediscovering God in America.”

Gingrich graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1988, majoring in music, a passion that has remained with her throughout life. She served as a congressional aide for more than 30 years.

She is the third woman to serve as ambassador to the Holy See after Lindy Boggs, who held the post from 1997 to 2001, and Mary Ann Glendon, who served in 2008-2009. Gingrich succeeds Ambassador Ken Hackett, who retired in January.

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  • Charles C.

    All Republicans voted in favor, 23 Democrats were opposed. Can anybody explain why? What Democratic principle is advanced in opposing a nomination to the Vatican? Did they think she wasn’t Catholic enough? Were they afraid that she might say something that would set off World War III between the US and Vatican City?

    Or is a quarter of the Senate dedicated to saying “No” to anything Trump wants, for no reason other than simply because it is Trump doing the asking?

    • Dominic Deus

      Dominic Deus here. ” Can anybody explain why?” Yes, because she was having sex with Newt while his wife was in the hospital dying of cancer. In normal times, which to say “before Trump,” this would have been totally disqualifying.

      Why isn’t it now? Can anybody explain why?

      • Forgiveness and redemption

        • Dominic Deus

          Paul–You are absolutely correct. Forgiveness and redemption are open to all including the philandering Newt Gingrich and his future wife, according to Catholic teaching. But that wasn’t the question.

          The questionCharles C. asked was why no Democrats voted in favor of the nomination as Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican).

          The reason is that all ambassadorial nominations are usually cleared with the receiving country before they’re announced let alone voted upon in the United States Senate. Ambassadors to Rome face additional hurdles in that they are traditionally Roman Catholics and must be “in good standing” with the Church. In normal times, Callista Gingrich would not have been nominated, let alone confirmed. In my view, the Democrats were simply using their votes to showcase how far the administration has departed from normal practices. The Republicans, in my view, were only too happy to get Newt out of country. As I understand it, the only legislator they dislike more than former Speaker Gingrich is current Senator Ted Cruz.

          • Charles C.

            Dear Dominic,

            I must be misunderstanding, it sounds as though you are doing what you have warned others against, judging an individual’s heart.

            She’s been married for 17 years, what makes you think she is not in good standing with the Church?

            Further, please explain to me where in the article you saw that she had not been cleared by the Vatican prior to being announced. I saw nothing like that.

            This is not like you. The only people opposed were Democrats, not Church officials; they seemed to like the idea. Is there controversy in Rome over this? Or only in the Senate.

            Now if you want a controversial ambassadorial appointment, go back to 2013.

            “The Catholic-dominated Dominican Republic is in an uproar over President Obama’s selection of openly gay James “Wally” Brewster as ambassador, and religious leaders are calling for a national protest, “Black Monday.”

            “The protest will take place on July 15, and participants are asked to wear black clothing and black bandanas, and decorate their vehicles with black items, The Christian Post reported.

            “The protesters want Dominican President Danilo Medina to publicly denounce the candidate — who has also come under fire by other long-serving U.S. ambassadors who see favoritism in the pick. Mr. Brewster raised more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, CNN reported.

            “But in the Caribbean, it’s Mr. Brewster’s homosexuality that’s ignited anger. It’s an offense to the nation, religious leader say.

            “‘It’s an insult to good Dominican customs,” said Rev. Critobal Cardozo, who leads the Dominican Evangelical Fraternity, in The Christian Post.”

            So other ambassadors think he bought the job, and a large number of Dominicans hate him. Why was he nominated? Why no upset over him? And nobody, Republican or Democrat voted against him.

            The administration hasn’t departed from normal practices, some politicians have let anger get the best of their reason.

          • Dominic Deus

            Dear Charles,

            Thank you again for being such an excellent correspondent. You challenge me to justify, to double check, to rethink and even ask myself, “What would Charles say?”

            I will give you a thoughtful response tonight or possibly tomorrow. Right now, the water pipe from the lake is frozen.

            Thank you for your criticism. I always read it attentively.

            All the best,

            Dominic

          • Charles C.

            Dear Dominic,

            With just a few more exchanges you will know “what would Charles say,” and then I will be superfluous.

            I understand you’re in the North, near Canada. If such a thing is possible, Canada holds a “warm” spot in my heart. My parents were first generation Canadians, as I am a first generation American. Tim Horton’s forever, eh?

          • Dominic Deus

            Dear Charles,

            That is way cool! (Pun alert). We are about 15 air miles from Canada. We have about six inches of snow and it’s 24 degrees. There is a fire in the fireplace and we just FaceTimed with granddaughter #8 who is not quite a year old and for her first Halloween dressed as a skunk. Did the same a couple of hours ago with #5 son (I feel like Charlie Chan) and wife in London on an iPhone. If only morality could advance as quickly as technology. You are ahead of me in worthy posts and I will try to catch up. Tonight I will respond to Jo.

            Do you think the Archbishop reads any of this? I don’t write for him or the others but I do respect them and wonder what they think of this, if anything? More later.