NEW YORK – After two years serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Joseph Donnelly will soon step down from the post and return to his home state of Indiana, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See announced in a May 30 social media post.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my country in this unique way,” Donnelly, a pro-life Democrat who served in the U.S. House and Senate, said in a statement accompanying the post.

Donnelly will leave the post on July 8. The post doesn’t cite a reason for his departure, but states that the embassy “wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.”

President Joe Biden nominated Donnelly for the post in 2021, and he was confirmed into the role in 2022. Biden didn’t give a reason for Donnelly’s nomination. However, then-University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins at the time said Donnelly “an ideal choice” for the post.

Donnelly earned a BA degree from Notre Dame in 1977 and a JD from Notre Dame Law School four years later. He also spent time as a professor at the university.

“Joe has been an exemplary public servant in Congress, an invaluable friend of Notre Dame and of me personally, and he is the ideal choice to represent the United States at the Vatican,” Jenkins said. “He will bring to this role a deep understanding of the issues currently facing our nation and the world, a genuine Catholic faith and an understanding of the role the Church can play in our world.”

Donnelly spent six years – from 2007 to 2013 – in the U.S. House, representing Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District that included South Bend. He was then elected to the Senate in 2012, serving from 2013 to 2019. Donnelly then lost his reelection bid to Republican Mike Braun.

Donnelly is an ally of Biden who has defended him as a man of faith. He served as co-chair of Catholics for Biden through the 2020 election, and even wrote an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star when Biden’s faith was questioned by President Donald Trump, saying Biden “lives his faith every day.”

Donnelly, 68, brought some foreign policy experience to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See as a former member of the Afghanistan study group. He was also chair of the Soufan Center in New York – an independent nonprofit center focusing on global security challenges and foreign policy issues.

When Donnelly was nominated for the role, he told Insider that, if confirmed, he looked forward “to working with the Holy See on a wide variety of issues, including human rights, religious freedom, immigration, climate change, peace and poverty.”

Donnelly declined a Tablet request for further comment on his stepping down. The White House did not immediately respond to a Tablet request for comment.

Laura Hochla, currently deputy chief of mission at the embassy, will assume the role of Charge d’Affaires once Donnelly officially steps down on July 8.

Hochla’s resume includes posts as the Director of the Office of Caucasus and Regional Conflicts in Washington, leading U.S. relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Prior, she was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, where she advised Biden on U.S. relations with the European Union, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Holy See.

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