President Joe Biden on Friday said he would nominate former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
The position—actually referred to as the ambassador to the Holy See, the central governing body of the Catholic Church—requires Senate approval.
Donnelly, a Democrat and devout Catholic, defended Biden’s Catholic faith during last year’s presidential campaign, writing in an op-ed published in August 2020 that Biden “lives his faith every day.”
“Every Sunday, he is on his knees attending Mass and praying for his country, his family and all those in need in our beloved nation,” he wrote in The Indianapolis Star. “I know this because I know Joe Biden and I come from the same Irish Catholic faith tradition.”
Donnelly was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and served one term before he was defeated by Republican Mike Braun, who holds the seat today. Before his election to the Senate, Donnelly served three terms as a member of the U.S. House representing Indiana’s second congressional district.
After his Senate defeat, Donnelly became a partner at Akin Gump, a lobbying and law firm in Washington, D.C., where he advises clients in the financial services, defense and health care industries.
He has two degrees from the University of Notre Dame, a 1977 undergraduate degree in government and a 1981 law degree.
In a statement released after the announcement, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl called Donnelly “a man of character, integrity and faith.”
“His fundamental belief in the values we cherish as Hoosiers and Americans will make Joe a great fit to serve as ambassador to the Holy See at the Vatican,” he said.