Alumnus Appointed New Ambassador To Holy See
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 01:10
Kenneth F. Hackett, BC ’68, officially took over as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See on Oct. 21, after presenting his credentials to Pope Francis. Hackett fills a role that had been vacant for nearly a year, according to the Catholic News Service.
“The United States and the Holy See have converging interests that span a broad range of issues” including “a desire to promote human rights and social justice,” Hackett wrote the same day, in the first post of his official ambassador blog.
“We both work to make a difference on a range of important global issues such as trafficking in persons, interreligious dialogue, conflict resolution, food access and security, HIV/AIDS, and care for the environment. And I look forward to deepening, and expanding where possible, that collaboration during my time in Rome.”
Hackett is a former president of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency. He joined CRS in 1972, after a post-college stint with the Peace Corps in Ghana and retired from his position as president of CRS in December 2011.
Members of Boston College’s theology department are pleased with Hackett’s recent appointment.
“The appointment of Ken Hackett is simply superb,” said James F. Keenan, S.J., Founders Professor in Theology and director of the Presidential Scholars Program, in an email. “This is a person who has worked for social justice and healthcare throughout the world, a man who lives the vision that Pope Francis keeps evoking for us. As president of Catholic Relief Services, he brought intelligence, compassion, and leadership as he addressed many contemporary challenges.”
Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education and chair of the department of religious education and pastoral ministry at the School of Theology and Ministry, added to this, saying that Hackett is an excellent appointment as U.S. Ambassador.
“His many years of working at Catholic Relief Services, finally as president of CRS, have prepared him well for this important position—he knows both church and state from the inside,” Groome said. “He will serve with distinction.”
The U.S. has not had an ambassador at the Vatican since November 2012, according to the Catholic News Service. Miguel H. Diaz resigned and left Rome to become a professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton, Ohio.
University Spokesman Jack Dunn also commented on Hackett’s new appointment.
“As an alumnus of the Class of 1968 and an honorary degree holder from 2006, Ken Hackett has always brought honor to his alma mater,” Dunn said in an email. “From his work with the Peace Corps to his leadership of Catholic Relief Services, Ken has distinguished himself through his faith-inspired commitment to serving those in need. We are very proud of him for being named US Ambassador to the Holy See, and know that he will continue to represent Boston College and the nation with unwavering distinction in this important role.”