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Prochoice Catholics Repudiate Conservative Catholic Attack on Dolores Cross

May 30, 2001

Call on Ray Flynn, former US Ambassador to the UN, to Apologize

Catholics for a Free Choice President Frances Kissling issued the following statement today: 

As prochoice Catholics, we are shocked at the intolerance and insensitivity shown by former UN Ambassador and current President of the Catholic Alliance Ray Flynn in his attack on Seton Hall University for awarding an honorary degree to Dr. Dolores Cross.

In objecting to Dr. Cross’ participation in the National Commission on an America Without Roe, a group organized in 1992 by NARAL, Flynn ignores the fact that most Catholics are both in favor of legal abortion and committed to social justice for the poor, minorities and women.  Dr. Cross’ distinguished career honors that tradition and Seton Hall was right to honor her.

Most appalling is the double standard inherent in Flynn’s call for Seton Hall to disassociate itself from Dr. Cross for her prochoice views.  Flynn did not disassociate himself from the prochoice administration of President Clinton.  To the contrary, he campaigned vigorously for the president in spite of Clinton’s prochoice views and served as the administration’s ambassador to the Vatican.  We applaud the Ray Flynn of 1992 who understood that there is more to look at in determining a person’s goodness than their position on abortion.  We rebuke the Ray Flynn of 2001 who has apparently forgotten that lesson.

Sadly, Flynn’s call for Dr. Cross to be stripped of her honorary degree puts him squarely in the tradition of the church’s more intolerant past.  The days of Galileo are over; as the pope apologized for the way in which the church treated Galileo, we call on Flynn to apologize for the way in which he has treated both Dr. Cross and Seton Hall University.  Flynn’s comparison of Dr. Cross with racists and anti-Semites just because she believes women have the right to choose cannot be tolerated.