June 4, 2024 // National

U.S. Ambassador to Holy See to Step Down in July

By Justin McLellan

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly will leave his post in July, embassy officials announced.

The ambassador will step down from his role and return to his native Indiana on Monday, July 8, representatives of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See said in a post on X published on Thursday, May 30.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my country in this unique way,” Donnelly was quoted as saying in the post.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, poses for a photo at his residence in Rome March 7, 2024. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

The former Indiana senator assumed his role in Rome in April of 2022 when he presented his letters of credential to Pope Francis. His posting coincided with the 40th anniversary of the United States establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1984.

In a March interview with Catholic News Service, Donnelly said that when interacting with Vatican officials his job was “to try to make sure that where the United States stands, it’s understood.”

As an example, when Pope Francis said the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have been “facilitated” in part “because NATO is barking at Russia’s doors,” Donnelly said, “We tried to let them know, well, here’s what’s actually going on” in the various parts of Ukraine and “here’s the plans that Russia actually had to invade Ukraine based on that they just wanted to take Ukraine back.”

Embassy officials announced that Laura Hochla, a career diplomat who has served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See since July of 2023, will serve as chargé d’affaires of the embassy.

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