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Monday, July 15, 2024
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Joe Donnelly steps down as Ambassador to Holy See

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The US Ambassador to the Holy See and former US senator of Indiana, Joe Donnelly, is stepping down after two and half years in the role.

He jumped right into European diplomacy at a time marked by conflict, as Russia invaded Ukraine. Now, as he is stepping down, violence continues to rage in Gaza.

“The first time I met with the pope, he said to me, ‘this is a hard time.’ And it has been in regards to the conflicts out there,” said Donnelly.

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“There’s so many agents of hatred out there and what we try to do is bring back some of the light, some of the peace, some of the ways that peace can be achieved in this world.”

Looking back at his time in Rome, Donnelly fondly recalls his relationship with Pope Francis and his commitment to creating lasting peace.

“He [Pope Francis] is humble. He is incredibly hardworking. He has a wonderful sense of humour. He’s somebody who is concerned about the human dignity of every person.

“His focus is on how each and every person, child, whatever country you’re from, whatever continent you’re from, that you have the chance to share in God’s grace.”

The Ambassador assures that US relations with Pope Francis and the Vatican are strong. And, from his experiences on the other side of the world, this is what Donnelly wants Americans to know about the Vatican:

“That the people who work there are incredibly hardworking. They are very serious, very focused and their goal is to try to make the lives of people around the world, from every corner better. To try to bring God to all of them.”

With US presidential elections around the corner, the Ambassador says he would have gone home in November, regardless. But he has chosen to step down a few months early.

“I’m thinking maybe there’s some things I can do back home to try to help my own country.”

When he returns to Indiana with his family on 8 July, Ambassador Donnelly will be taking many of the pope’s messages back with him.

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