By Michael Baggot

ROME, Italy, March 4, 2008 ( – In his message to new United States Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon on Friday, Pope Benedict praised the pro-life and pro-family work of numerous Americans. 

In the address marking the Pope’s acceptance of Glendon as US ambassador, the Pope celebrated “the efforts of so many of your fellow-citizens and government leaders to ensure legal protection for God’s gift of life from conception to natural death, and the safeguarding of the institution of marriage, acknowledged as a stable union between a man and a woman, and that of the family.”

The Pope also noted that “a just global order can only be based on the acknowledgment and defense of the inviolable dignity and rights of every man and woman.”  He called on the United States to recognize the truths of the fundamental equality of men and their inalienable rights.  Pope Benedict added that “the principles of the common moral law, enshrined in its founding documents” should guide the country as an international leader. 

Few doubt Glendon’s intention to support pro-life and pro-family efforts.  In her first address in Rome as US ambassador, Glendon said that quality of relations between the Holy See and the US “has at its core a common commitment to the human dignity of every man, woman and child.”

Pope John Paul II appointed Glendon to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in 1994 and made her president of the same academy a decade later.  She was also the head of the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations sponsored 1995 Beijing Conference on Women.  At the time she gained much attention for her unequivocal statement of the Holy See’s opposition to contraception.

Her 1987 work “Abortion and Divorce in Western Law” attacked the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

In a February 2004 Wall Street Journal editorial, Glendon defended President Bush’s endorsement of a marriage amendment that would define the institution as one between a man and a woman.  Glendon argued that the idea that “alternative family forms are just as good as a husband and wife raising kids together” produces tragic results. 

Glendon has repeatedly criticized the “old feminism” of the 1970s, “with its negative attitudes toward men, marriage and motherhood, and its rigid party line on abortion and gay rights.”

In her own address to the Pope on Friday, Glendon emphasized her concern for protecting human dignity in various ways.  She argued that continued interfaith dialogue was important in fostering common commitment against the misuse of religion for the sake of terrorist violence.

Glendon went on to praise both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  She also celebrated US efforts against human trafficking.

Glendon stated that the US is “eager to work in partnership with the Holy See to enhance the lives of all the world’s people, but in particular, those who are caught up in the despair that comes from poverty, hunger and disease.”

The new ambassador insisted that the relationship between the Holy See and the US is key “in the quest for freedom, justice, peace and human dignity throughout the world.”

See other related coverage:

Praise and Criticism of Bush’s Mary Ann Glendon Nomination

Read The Pope’s Address to Ambassador

Read Glendon’s address to the Pope