Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Ambassador to Holy See Chosen

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Ambassador to Holy See Chosen

Article excerpt

Although the nomination is not official until announced by the White House and confirmed by the United States Senate, sources in Rome have confirmed to NCR that Francis Rooney, 51, will be the next U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Under the terms of diplomatic protocol, the Holy See has already given its agreement, to the appointment, those sources said. At the moment; the White House is examining Rooney's financial disclosure forms, with a formal announcement of the appointment expected sometime in late May or early June, and Senate hearings shortly thereafter.

Barring a surprise, confirmation is expected to come swiftly.

Rooney, a Catholic, is an Oklahoma native and a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. A businessman, he owns Manhattan Construction and Hope Lumber in Tulsa, Okla., and is also CEO of the Florida-based investment firm Rooney Brothers Inc., as well as Rooney Holdings.

Assuming he's confirmed, the posting to the Vatican would be Rooney's first diplomatic assignment. He is not expected to move into the Villa Richardson, the residence of the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, until late summer or early fall.

Rooney has been an ardent supporter of U.S. President George W. Bush. Rooney Holdings donated more than $500,000 to the president's re-election campaign in 2004. Data released by the Federal Election Commission Feb. 7 listed Rooney and his wife, Kathleen, in fifth place on the list of largest individual donors to political campaigns in the 2004 elections, having distributed $341,396 to various candidates. …

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