Washington D.C., May 28, 2009 / 01:35 am (CNA).- In a surprising move, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday evening that Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D., a 45 year old lay Liberation theologian born in Havana (Cuba) is his pick to become the United States Ambassador to the Holy See.
An associate professor of theology at St. John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, Diaz, a strong Obama supporter and father of four, earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla., and his master’s and doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Ind.
He taught previously at Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla.; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and the University of Notre Dame. He also served as the academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French.
Diaz serves on the board of the Catholic Theological Society of America, is past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, and is a past member of the steering committee of the Karl Rahner Society.
He is also a theological consultant to the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics and was appointed to the task force overseeing the review and revisions of the accrediting standards for the Association of Theological Schools.
Diaz is author of the book "On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives" (Orbis Books, 2001); Co-Editor of "From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology" (Orbis Books, 1999;) and author of numerous articles and book chapters inspired in the Latino and Black liberation theology, such as the forthcoming “The Life-Giving Reality of God from Black, Latin-American, and U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives,” “Otherness in Black Catholic and Latino/a Catholic Theologies and the Otherness of God,” and “Outside the Survival of Community there is no Salvation,” in Building Bridges, Doing Justice: Constructing a Latino/a Ecumenical Theology (Orbis Press, 2009.)
Diaz is currently working on two future books: "Cuban-American Catholics" (Paulist Press) and “Migrating Across Theological Borders: The Essentials of Theology from U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives" (Orbis Books.)
His body of work, which includes some controvesial positions on “inclusivity,” has gained him significant praise from the Catholic left, and his nomination was immediately hailed by pro-Obama Catholics such as “Catholics United” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” as well as from Prof. Douglas Kmiec.
Liberation theology can be dangerous. It started in poor countries as a response to totalitarian governments, but went too far. When it reaches radical strains it becomes militant in the response to these governments and advocates violence in order to gain justice. Some other strains become Marxist in their approach to answering the problems of society.
He is an interesting pick, to say the least.