Harry Joseph Flynn

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Harry Joseph Flynn
Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
ArchdioceseSaint Paul and Minneapolis
AppointedFebruary 22, 1994 (Coadjutor)
InstalledSeptember 8, 1995
Term endedMay 2, 2008
PredecessorJohn Roach
SuccessorJohn Nienstedt
OrdinationMay 28, 1960
ConsecrationJune 24, 1986
by Howard James Hubbard, Philip Matthew Hannan, Gerard Louis Frey
Personal details
Born (1933-05-02) May 2, 1933 (age 85)
Schenectady, New York
Previous postBishop of Lafayette in Louisiana
Alma materSiena College
MottoCome Lord Jesus
Styles of
Harry Joseph Flynn
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop

Harry Joseph Flynn (born May 2, 1933 in Schenectady, New York) is a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, where he served from September 8, 1995 to May 2, 2008, when his resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI. Previously, Archbishop Flynn was the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette in south-central Louisiana.


Flynn is a graduate of Siena College, having earned both a B.A. and a M.A. in English. After attending Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, he was ordained on May 18, 1960.[1] He later became a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York.

He was consecrated a bishop there on June 24, 1986.[2] He became the bishop of Lafayette, Louisiana, in the aftermath of one of the earliest public scandals involving the sexual abuse of minors by a priest.[3]


Archbishop Flynn is a member of several boards and committees.[1]

Flynn was named to chair the USCCB Committee on Sexual Abuse in 2002.[4]

Social justice initiatives[edit]

Flynn is especially noted for his devotion to Catholic education and the emphasis in his ministry on social justice, especially within his own archdiocese. He is also a strong advocate for Catholic economic justice abroad, and many of the parishes in the archdiocese have sister parishes in impoverished nations, such as Costa Rica. On September 12, 2003, he released a pastoral letter dealing with the issue of racism titled In God's Image, in which he called for the parishes of the diocese to unite in an effort to end racism and promote diversity and harmony, and in so doing, to make God's love more present to the rest of the world.[5]

Flynn is an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq.

In May 2005, Archbishop Flynn publicly criticized Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty in the Star Tribune for what he perceived as irresponsible tax policies.[citation needed]

In the same month, Flynn departed from archdiocesan precedent by ordering his priests to refuse communion to any person wearing a rainbow sash–a symbol associated with those advocating change in the Church's position on homosexual activity.[citation needed]


Flynn requested that the Holy See assign a coadjutor archbishop, and on April 24, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed John Clayton Nienstedt, Bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, as Flynn's coadjutor. In January 2008, Flynn, citing a Vatican instruction from 2004, ordered an end to the practice of lay preaching at Mass, sending as the end date for the practice his final day as Archbishop. He said: "There has to be that kind of training and theological background that even a person with a master's degree in theology would not have. The church does not want people just standing up there and giving opinions or even things they've read in books."[6]

On May 5, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Flynn's resignation and Nienstedt succeeded him as Archbishop.[7][8]

In November 2010, the Little Sisters of the Poor honored Flynn with their St. Jeanne Jugan Award on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his ordination.[9]

He resigned from the board of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul on October 14, 2013.[10]


In 2009, the University of St. Thomas renamed a residence hall, formerly Selby Hall, to Flynn Hall to recognize Archbishop Flynn. [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Meet Archbishop Flynn". Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  2. ^ "Bishop Harry Flynn". Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana.
  3. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (June 22, 2003). "Healer Bishops Are Sent to Ease Churches' Pain". New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Dillon, Sam (April 20, 2002). "Bishops Replace Head of Sexual Abuse Panel and Name New Members". New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Harry J., Flynn (September 12, 2003). "In God's Image" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  6. ^ Wiering, Maria (May 13, 2008). "Directive from Archbishop Flynn ends lay preaching at Mass". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Service. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Holy See Press Office, Daily Bulletin of 02.05.2008, Rinunce e nomine, Rinuncia e successione dell'Arcivescovo di St. Paul and Minneapolis (U.S.A.) (in Italian)
  8. ^ Archdiocesan Website Archived January 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Little Sisters of the Poor honor Archbishop Harry Flynn with award". The Catholic Spirit. November 3, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ Roewe, Brian (November 4, 2013). "St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese faces clamor for leadership change". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  11. ^ https://www.stthomas.edu/residencelife/housing/apartments/flynn/

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Roach
Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Succeeded by
John Clayton Nienstedt
Preceded by
Gerard Louis Frey
Bishop of Lafayette in Louisiana
Succeeded by
Edward Joseph O'Donnell