President Bush has named Mary Ann Glendon to serve as America’s ambassador to the Vatican, the same post previously held by Raymond Flynn under the Clinton Administration. I wrote about Glendon back in 2001 for The Boston Phoenix. Mitt Romney, in a statement, is already praising the move.
Here’s what I had to say almost seven years ago:
“Glendon’s independent-mindedness has been the subject of much discussion over the years. Early in her career, she worked as a lawyer for the civil-rights movement’s Freedom Riders during the summer of 1964; more recently, she served as Pope John Paul II’s emissary to the Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995. Her staunch pro-life position has drawn the ire of feminists, but she is also known to rail against the world-wide ‘feminization of poverty.’ Catholic Alliance president and former Boston mayor Raymond Flynn lauds Glendon’s ‘commitment to Catholic social and economic justice.’ As part of that tradition, Glendon has always been something of an iconoclastic moralist. Recently, after receiving the prestigious Marianist Award from the University of Dayton, Glendon thanked the Catholic institution for the honor and then proceeded to remind the audience, ‘In the affluent West, we tend to concentrate criticism on the rights we don’t violate, such as torture and slavery, but we don’t say much about freedom from hunger and deprivation.’ ”
Incidentally, now almost a week after the Boston Red Sox “Rolling Rally,” those in the know are already talking about the next major special event in the City of Boston, a possible visit by Pope Benedict XVI, a happening that could draw as many as 2 million people to Boston. I remember when John Paul II came to Boston in 1978. Papal flags flew from light poles. Crowds clogged the streets in Cleveland Circle, where my elderly Jewish grandparents lived, a short distance away from the Chancery. Even with the damage the Church has sustained locally in the wake of the scandals and the distance from which many Catholics now view between themselves and the leadership, I can’t imagine this being anything other than a massive event. And security? Remember John Paul II’s visit back in the 1970s was before the attempted assassination on him. Any Papal visit will sure to entail major safety and security measures. You read it here first.