A former senator from Indiana, he studied law at Notre Dame.
US President Joe Biden has nominated Joseph Donnelly as US ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced October 8.
The former Democratic senator from Indiana will need to be confirmed by the Senate.
“I am truly honored to be nominated to this role by President Biden, a man of faith and a friend,” Donnelly said in a statement. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with the Holy See on a wide variety of issues, including human rights, religious freedom, immigration, climate change, peace, and poverty.”
Born in New York State, Donnelly is Catholic of Irish origin – like Joe Biden.
He studied his undergraduate degree and law at Notre Dame University, graduating in 1981, and went on to teach there.
He worked for a time in a law firm before starting a business. At the same time, he entered politics. In 2006, he ran for and was elected in Indiana as a Democratic member of Congress.
In 2013, Donnelly was elected a senator from Indiana. However, he did not manage to keep his seat in 2018. The same year, he joined a lobbying firm in Washington and worked for the election of Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential campaign.
During the campaign, he penned an op-ed for the Indianapolis Star defending Biden’s faith against accusations from Trump.
On various occasions Donnelly has opposed his party line to vote for abortion restrictions, such as opposing abortion funding in the Affordable Care Act. However, as a senator, he also supported federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
At the American Embassy to the Holy See, Donnelly would replace Callista Gingrich, businesswoman and wife of former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Republican primary candidate Newt Gingrich. The American, also a Catholic, held this position between 2017 and 2020, under President Trump.