Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput was not invited to pray or speak at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in what former Boston mayor Ray Flynn called a “serious oversight” and an “insult” to the values of pro-life Catholics.
The archbishop himself reportedly did not take the lack of an invitation personally.
The several Catholics on the Democratic Convention’s program include former Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca, "Dead Man Walking" author Sister Helen Prejean, social justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton and Pepperdine University professor Douglas W. Kmiec, the Washington Times says.
Raymond Flynn, former Democratic mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton administration, said not inviting the archbishop to pray or speak was "a serious oversight."
"Chaput is one of the most respected leaders of the Catholic Church in America," he said, according to the Washington Times. "His record is a strong commitment to social and economic justice and the principles of the Catholic faith. He's also a strong patriot.
"Pro-life Democrats who are proud Catholics like myself feel this is an insult to our values… The party should be aware there are strong pro-life people who are politically successful," Flynn continued.
Archbishop Chaput explained his own reaction to the absence of an invitation.
"I'm happy to see they are having prayer at their sessions, and they have a right to choose whom they want to do that," he said.
Remarking about the Catholics chosen, he said, "Hopefully, they will know being Catholic is more foundational to their identity than anything else."
On Monday, August 25, the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the archbishop will join Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a prayer vigil against abortion near a Planned Parenthood Clinic. The vigil will take place in Martin Luther King Park in Denver.
Natalie Wyeth, a press secretary for the DNC contacted by the Washington Times, said the archbishop informed them he was too busy to attend.
Archbishop Chaput’s book “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” was recently published in what the archbishop said was an attempt “to convince people they should not be embarrassed at being Catholic and not buy the supposedly American notion that people should shelve their faith when they enter the public square.”
“I am tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state," he said. "I hope this encourages people to become confident and active."
Archbishop Chaput said the United States’ 47 million Catholic voters, many of whom have historically belonged to the Democratic Party, in former years could have “demanded that abortion not be part of the platform, but they did not.”