Supporting signature drives on church property

As I learned as a young boy growing up in South Boston, life is about God, family and country. I certainly heard that at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury the other day listening to the students. I shared my experiences at CM with a group of professionals and Boston business leaders at the Pioneer Institute on "Education in America" Conference on Nov. 13 at the Parker House in Boston, speaking alongside author and scholar George Weigel.

I said, "If CM were to close because those hard-working middle-class parents can't afford the high costs of tuition, it would be a sad day for our Catholic faith and city. We have great students and dedicated teachers, but they need our support. Yes, we have many kind and generous Catholics helping out, but more children need financial help, as school administrators acknowledged. The government shouldn't be increasing taxes on struggling parents who must pay high tuition for their children, the government should be reducing their taxes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts should repeal all anti-aid laws which discriminate against children who attend Catholic or private schools."

Furthermore, in my opinion, if any qualified high school graduate, public or private, commits to military service, they should be awarded a postgraduate scholarship to a prep school and a four-year public college. We frequently hear politicians saying that the young people are the future of our country. Well, let's start putting our money where our rhetoric is. If we can give big tax breaks to corporations and companies run by multi-millionaires, why can't we give financial support to educate deserving and motivated young men and women? We need to put our country back on the right track, and providing a good education to motivated and determined young adults is the best place to start.

I also said that I support the policy of Church pastors to allow citizens to obtain signatures from Catholics on ballot questions. These are important American moral issues, and the peoples' voice is critical. Unfortunately, there has been a conscious effort to silence the moral and political voice of Catholics. Sadly, over the years it has been successful. But it's time we stood up and challenged our well organized and financed elitist opponents. Let your pastor know we support this policy proposed by Cardinal Seán to allow signature gathering on Church property.

The future of our country, children and grandchildren are on the line. We must be heard on critical moral public issues and not let our opponents silence us or decide public policy for us.

- Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.