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Harvard Professor Is Bush’s Pick As Vatican Ambassador


President Bush plans to nominate Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon to be his new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Glendon, 69, is an anti-abortion scholar and an opponent of gay marriage who also has written on the effects of divorce and increased litigation on society. Her 1987 book, “Abortion and Divorce in Western Law” was critical of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion.

The White House announced Monday that Bush will nominate Glendon to the post, which requires Senate confirmation.

Glendon was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1994 to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, a panel that advises the Roman Catholic church on social policy.

Glendon has served as an adviser to the Vatican in several capacities. In 1995, she was the first woman to lead a delegation of the Holy See at the United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing. She has also served on the Pontifical Council for the Laity and as a consultant to the Pontifical Council on the Family.

She also served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, which considers ethics in areas including cloning and gene research. Glendon also is a past winner of the National Humanities Medal.

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who last summer named Glendon to co-chair his campaign advisory committee on the constitution and courts, praised the choice.

“She will serve our country with the honor and dignity we expect from those who represent our country’s values abroad. While I may have lost her trusted counsel to our campaign, our country has gained an extremely gifted Ambassador,” Romney said in a statement.

A native of Dalton, Mass., Glendon was the daughter of a reporter at The Berkshire Eagle newspaper. She received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.

Her first job in academia was at Boston College in 1968. She became a visiting professor of law in Harvard in 1974 and a full professor in 1986.

Glendon teaches in the areas of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and legal theory.

It is not the first time the White House has looked to Massachusetts to fill the post. Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn held the Vatican ambassadorship during the Clinton administration, from 1993 to 1997.

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