Among the slate of high-profile American diplomatic posts is the ambassadorship to the Holy See. Perhaps more commonly referred to as the Vatican, it's essentially the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

Not surprisingly, every American ambassador to the Holy See has been a Roman Catholic. And it seems likely that the tradition will continue, following the announcement of the new nominee for the position.

Joe Donnelly selected for the role

President Joe Biden has made his choice for the ambassadorship, indicates the National Catholic Register.

And that is former U.S. Senator and Representative Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Donnelly would have to be confirmed by the legislative body he was once a member of in the U.S. Senate. He joins a list of former members of Congress tapped for diplomatic posts by the Biden administration. Including Tom Barrett, Rahm Emanuel, Jeff Flake, and Ken Salazar.

The formal position of United States ambassador to the Holy See has been in existence since the 1980s. For more than 100 years prior, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Vatican had been much more informal. At times, current or former public officials would be given the distinction of representing the U.S.. Though on a somewhat casual basis.

Including former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and former New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr., a precursor to the Holy See. For several decades before that, the United States had a formal relationship with the Papal States. Top American diplomats to the Papal States would include former Wisconsin Governor and later U.S.

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Postmaster General Alexander Randall.

Much of the response to Donnelly's nomination has been positive. Originally an attorney by trade, he joined the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld after leaving Congress. He's also been a member of the faculty of his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. The university president has released a statement calling Donnelly "an ideal choice" for ambassador to the Holy See.

Donnelly has the reputation of being moderate-to-conservative

Over the course of his political career, Joe Donnelly has become known as a moderate or conservative Democrat. Donnelly is a native of Massapequa on Long Island, New York. A single father raised him after his mother passed away when he was less than a year old.

Donnelly first graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in government. It was followed by another degree from Notre Dame Law School. He practiced private law before opening a printing and stamping company.

In the 1980s, Donnelly briefly served on the Indiana State Election Board. He also unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Indiana attorney general in 1988.

Two years later, he ran for a seat in the Indiana Senate, also unsuccessfully. In 1997, Donnelly joined the board of a Roman Catholic high school in Mishawaka, Indiana, near South Bend. Eventually, he became the board's president.

In 2004, Donnelly ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Indiana. He would lose the Republican incumbent J. Christopher Chocola. A 2006 run for the seat yielded a different result for Joe Donnelly. He would be re-elected to the House twice. In 2012, Donnelly was elected to the United States Senate, defeating Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. He was defeated for re-election in 2018 by Republican former State representative Mike Braun.