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Voices Online Edition
Vol. XXIII, No. 2
Pentecost 2008

In the News

Mary Ann Glendon — New US Ambassador to the Vatican | Helen Alvare Named Laity Council Consultor

Mary Ann Glendon — New US Ambassador to the Vatican
Mary Ann Glendon, the new US Ambassador to the Vatican, presented her credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on March 1, an event movingly described a few days later by her daughter, Elizabeth Lev (Zenit: “The Vatican through an Ambassador’s Eye”, March 6).

Professor Glendon’s appointment had been confirmed by the US Senate on December 19. She succeeds Francis Rooney.

The new ambassador, a noted Harvard law professor, is well known to Catholics in the United States. She headed the Vatican delegation to the United Nations Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. Since 2004, she has been president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and has been a member of the Academy since its founding in 1994.

In 2001, Professor Glendon was appointed by President Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics, serving two terms (2001-2004). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Comparative Law, and a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science. In addition, she has been a visiting professor at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University and the Legionaries of Christ’s Regina Apostolorum Athanaeum, both in Rome.

She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and legal theory. She is also the author of ten books, the most recent is Traditions in Turmoil (2006). Among her many honors, she has received the National Humanities Medal, and honorary doctorates from several universities.

A native of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, she received her bachelor of arts, juris doctor, and master of comparative law degrees from the University of Chicago. She is married to lawyer Edward R. Lev, and is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of six.

Helen Alvare Named Laity Council Consultor
Helen Alvare, a law professor at the Catholic University of America, who served for 10 years as spokesman for the US Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, was appointed to a five-year term as consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Laity on April 25. The council has 36 members and 20 consultors.

“I am delighted to be asked to serve the Church and the Holy Father in this way”, she said. “The appointment inspires me to redouble my efforts toward scholarship on the situation particularly of Catholic laywomen and families, insofar as this might be helpful to the universal Church.”

Helen Alvare addressed the Women for Faith & Family conference in 1991.

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