The Clinton administration has appointed Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, 53, ambassador to the Vatican.

The move seemed to indicate that President Clinton was ignoring the call of some Protestant and anti-church groups – including Clinton’s own Southern Baptist convention – to end the diplomatic ties which began under Franklin Roosevelt and were elevated to ambassadorial status by the Reagan administration.

Massachusetts chapter executive director Joe Doyle, while pleased with the decision to continue U.S. representation at the Vatican, was somewhat restrained in his enthusiasm because of Flynn’s uneven record on Catholic issues of importance to the League.

On the plus side, Flynn rejected a domestic partners measure, resisted condom distribution in schools, and vetoed a city ordinance mandating condom machines in bars and restaurants. He supported parental choice in education.

Flynn also has a strong pro-life history. As a legislator, he was co-sponsor of a 1978 law which sought to restrict abortion in Massachusetts. While it passed, it was eventually struck down by the courts. During his tenure as mayor, however, Boston City Hospital continued to perform abortions.

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