Mary Ann Glendon

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mary Ann Glendon. Photo: United States Department of State .

Mary Ann Glendon (born October 7, 1938 in Pittsfield , Massachusetts ) is an American lawyer . From February 2008 to January 2009 she was the ambassador of the United States at the Holy See .


Glendon studied law at the University of Chicago with degrees in Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1959, Juris Doctor (JD) in 1961 and Master of Comparative Law (M.Comp.L.) 1963. There followed a two-year Postgraduate Studies of the European Right at the Belgian Université Libre de Bruxelles and worked as a legal advisor at the EEC . Between 1963 and 1968 she worked for the Chicago law firm Mayer, Brown & Platt and as a volunteer lawyer for the US civil rights movement . During this time she married an African American , but later separated from him and then married Edward R. Lev, a lawyer of the Jewish faith with whom she now lives in Chestnut Hill . She has three children, one of them from her first husband.

From 1968 to 1986 she taught at the private Boston College Law School. In 1974 she received a visiting professorship at the University of Chicago Law School, and then a full professorship in 1986. She has been visiting professor twice at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1993 she was appointed to the Learned Hand Professorship at Harvard Law School . She teaches and publishes there mainly on issues of bioethics , comparative constitutional law (USA and Europe), property and human rights in international law . In 1991 she was elected President of the UNESCO- affiliated International Association of Legal Science (IALS).

On January 19, 1994, Pope John Paul II called Glendon as a founding member of the newly established Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences . In 1995 she took part in the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing as head of the delegation of the Holy See . There she was criticized for the strict negative attitude of the Vatican towards the use of condoms and other means of contraception , even as a preventive measure against AIDS .

As a so-called “pro-life feminist”, Glendon justifies her rejection of abortions with feminist arguments.

In 1998, The National Law Journal named Glendon one of the 50 most influential lawyers in America.

In 2004 Pope John Paul II named Glendon President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She succeeded Edmond Malinvaud and became the first woman in this office (and second woman to head a Pontifical Academy after Letizia Pani Ermini was appointed President of the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia in 2003). Margaret S. Archer succeeded her on April 12, 2014 .

On November 5, 2007, US President George W. Bush announced her call to be the United States Ambassador to the Holy See to succeed Francis Rooney . The appointment was confirmed by the US Senate on December 19, 2007 , followed by a reception by Pope Benedict XVI on February 29, 2008 . with official handover of the letter of accreditation .

Glendon is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome. She is referred to in her position as the "highest ranking woman in the Catholic hierarchy". From 2002 to 2005 she was a member of the bioethics council of the US President and was at times traded as a possible candidate for President George W. Bush for the US Supreme Court . In the primary campaign for the US presidential election in 2008 , she was a member of Mitt Romney's advisory committee until her appointment as ambassador . Until then, she was also represented on the advisory boards of the right-wing conservative lobby organizations Institute of Religion & Democracy and Catholic League .

Since Glendon had limited her ambassadorial activities from the outset to President Bush's term of office, which ended in January 2009, she made a farewell visit to Pope Benedict XVI on January 10, 2009. on. After clarifying her succession, she wants to return to Harvard University.


"What is clearly 'old-fashioned' today is 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."

- Mary Ann Glendon


In 1988 she won the Scribes Book Award of the American Society of Writers (for Abortion and Divorce in Western Law), 1993 the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award of the Legal Academy (for The Transformation of Family Law ). In 1991 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

She has received several honorary doctorates , for example from the universities of Chicago, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) and Navarra (Spain). In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities Foundation awarded her the National Humanities Medal in the presence of US President George W. Bush .

Publications (selection)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Nomina del Presidente della Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze Sociali. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , April 12, 2014, accessed May 9, 2016 (Italian).
  2. So the American Cardinal Curia John Patrick Foley ; quoted in FAZ , April 16, 2008
  3. ^ Point of pride: Glendon glad to have served as Vatican ambassador
  4. quoted from: Steven Ertelt: President Bush Nominates Pro-Life Law Professor as Vatican Ambassador ., November 5, 2007