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Flynn: Democrats Exclude Catholics
7/28/2004 9:39:00 PM by Dave Eberhart - NewsMax.com
President of Your Catholic Voice, former mayor of Boston, former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton Administration, and author of “The Accidental Pope” and “John Paul II” - Ray Flynn is a man on a mission.
In appearances around the country, in articles on Your Catholic Voice (YCV) Website and in interviews on Meet the Press, Nightline, Face the Nation, This Week, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, this man who describes himself as a “loyal Catholic American first,” wants to re-enfranchise the sixty-two million Catholics in the United States - too many of which he says have become “politically homeless.”
Unabashedly pro-life, pro-family and pro-needy, Flynn has been president since May 2003 of YCV, a non-partisan independent Catholic lay organization dedicated to “motivating, educating and activating Catholic citizens for political and social participation.”
His mantra: “Catholics have become spectators in American politics, not active players.”
Flynn is out to change all that, but suggests that he doesn’t get much help from the Catholic politicians. “Catholic politicians feel they have to compromise their Catholic principles and values to get ahead, he told NewsMax in an exclusive interview.
"The popular line of the day for Catholic elected officials on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage is, ‘I’m personally opposed, but I don’t want to impose my own values and beliefs on other people.’"
"Amazingly, this has become the political response that satisfies both Catholic voters and opponents to Church teaching."
Although not taking specific aim at the nation’s most prominent Catholic politician these days - John Kerry - the description fits. Kerry is the first Roman Catholic from a major political party to seek the presidency in 44 years.
Although Flynn has not formally endorsed Kerry, he has expressed the belief that Kerry’s campaign needs a Catholic movement - a reaching out to Catholic voters.
Flynn maintains it could make a deciding difference in battlegrounds like Ohio, Wisconsin and New Mexico - states with large Catholic populations. Nearly 20 percent of Ohioans are Catholic, and the ratio is higher in cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Flynn suggests that Kerry could serve himself better by being more overt with his own faith. Instead, the candidate rarely gets personal about his faith on the campaign trail, stressing instead his strong belief in separation of church and state.
And Flynn’s complaint extends not just to the candidate but to the party he represents. “At one time, the Democratic Party fought for social and economic justice and was the party of blue-collar, working-class Catholic families," he said. "Today, the Democratic Party is controlled by wealthy, left-wing activists whose extreme political agenda, for the most part, excludes loyal, faithful and patriotic American Catholics.”
As president of a nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization, Flynn has been careful in choosing his words.
However, when Kerry last year suggested Pope John Paul II “crossed the line” by instructing Catholic politicians to block legalization of gay marriage, Flynn, a great admirer of the Pope, was pushed over the edge. “For Kerry to attack and address the Holy Father, the revered moral leader of over one billion Catholics worldwide, in that way was highly disrespectful and cynical.
"If a candidate for President does not understand that the family is the foundation and source of stability for society, I think he is out of touch with mainstream Americans.”
But candidate Kerry may just be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to defining the role of his faith in his candidacy. Flynn says, “It’s different to 40 years ago. JFK, as a Catholic, had to convince non-Catholics that he would not take orders from the Pope. The challenge for Kerry is to convince Catholics that he is faithful to the values and traditions of the Catholic Church.”
Although Flynn laments that instead of attending civic and church meetings, Catholics are shopping in the malls or watching athletic events on TV, he does see hope on the horizon.
“Much to my surprise, young adults are getting involved more than I’ve ever seen before. I’ve seen it in San Francisco, Boston and cities throughout the United States.
"I also see it on college campuses - like Harvard and the University of San Francisco. It’s truly amazing - the sense of commitment these young Catholics women and men have.
”These are young people who have been positively influenced by the moral leadership of Pope John Paul II and are not afraid to get involved.
"A positive movement of young Catholics is building, not only in the United States, but also in many parts of the world. I personally saw the impact that Pope John Paul II has had on young people in my many trips with him over the years.”
In the run-up to the November elections, these are some of the important hearts and minds that Kerry must capture, says Flynn.