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"When I was
confirmed, that is what I thought I should bea soldier in the Army
of God." Raymond Flynn, November 10, 2004, San Francisco
by Valerie Schmalz
For years Raymond Flynns name was synonymous
with Boston and liberal Democrats. The three-time Democratic former mayor
is credited by John Kerry with the Massachusetts senators first
successful try for the U.S. Senate. But this time around, Flynn decided
enough was enoughand publicly
called upon Kerry to renounce his pro-abortion litmus test of the
Supreme Court in an ad placed in The New York Times in the month
before the election.
"There is never any justification for taking innocent life,"
Flynn said during a stop in San Francisco Nov. 10th. "When John Kerry
said he would not appoint faithful Catholics to the U.S. Supreme Court,
all I could think of were the ugly days of No Catholics Need Apply,"
Flynn said recalling the early 20th century.
Flynn, who spent five years as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican for President
Clinton, now heads up Liberty, Life and Family as well as Catholic
Citizenship. Catholic Citizenship is a lay political action group
founded at the behest of Boston Archbishop Sean OMalley to register
Catholics and bring Catholic values to the public square.
In the November 2nd election, the Catholic vote mattered,
Flynn says: "Catholics brought their values into the voting booth."
"This was a seismic avalanche of values," the former Boston
mayor said. Many Catholics chose George W. Bush because he embraced the
Culture of Life, which is the foundation of Catholic values, the self-described
"pro-poor, pro-life, pro-family" liberal Democrat said.
In Massachusetts, in the year 2000, 32 percent of
Catholics voted for Bush. In 2004, despite a Kerry win statewide, 49 percent
of Catholics picked Bush. That in a state where the Democratic presidential
candidate was a favorite son. Massachusetts has re-elected Kerry to the
Senate three times.
Nationally, analysts say Catholics voted for Bush at 51 percent up from
47 percent in 2000. Weekly church-attending Catholics showed even greater
support, 56 percent to 43 percent.
"Catholics in Ohio put George Bush over the top," Flynn says
of that states crucial switch to the Republican column in the election.
"George Bush may be the first non-Catholic, Catholic president,"
"Its not that Catholics have become more conservative or more
Republican. Catholics became more Catholic this election," Flynn
told IgnatiusInsight.com. "President Bush is right, every American,
religious or non-religious, has the right to practice or not practice
their beliefs and still be a patriotic American."
"But people of faith have a right to be heard in the public arena
on important moral and political issues," Flynn said.
Getting the message out is a struggle because most of the media ignores
facts or messages with which it disagrees, Flynn said. He credits the
shift in the Catholic vote to some bishops speaking out, to Priests for
Life, and to work by lay organizations, including Catholic Answers
"Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics," Knights of Columbus,
and Cleveland Catholic Forum.
"As long as youre fragmented, youre divided, youre
not going to have that kind of political influence and your issues are
going to get ignored. And that is what has happened in the Catholic Church,"
said Flynn. While the ideals of the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernadins
"seamless garment" are good, the concept is faulty, Flynn said.
Catholics need to keep the momentum going, the longtime successful pol
told Insight. "While the 2004 election was an important and historic
first step in Catholic political involvement, it must be a challenge and
an invitation for more Catholics to get involved.
"Catholics must never again be treated like second-class citizens
where both parties can ignore us or take us for granted. Catholic values,
which helped build a great country and Church, must never again be dismissed
by politicians, the media, or judges."
Valerie Schmalz is a writer for IgnatiusInsight.com.
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