In response to Boston College’s decision to honor Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the school’s commencement next week, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has announced that he will not be attending the ceremony, at which he was expected to deliver a benediction. Kenny is a strong advocate for legalizing abortion in Ireland.
From Cardinal O’Malley’s statement on his decision:
I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church’s teaching that “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong” and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”
Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops’ directives. Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day in their lives, and I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s Social Gospel and “men and women for others,” especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.
Catholic News Agency has further details:
On April 25, Boston College, a Catholic Jesuit university in Boston, announced that it would host Kenny as its commencement speaker and award the Irish Prime Minister an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at its May 20 graduation ceremony. On May 9, the college reaffirmed its commitment to having Kenny as its speaker following condemnation from various pro-life groups within the Boston area and across the country. …
Kenny and his party has been advancing legislation that would legalize abortion when the mother’s life is in danger – including when the mother threatens suicide.
Abortion is currently illegal in Ireland, and both Kenny and his party, Fine Gael, had previously promised not to advance abortion legislation. Kenny has hinted that pro-life members of parliament who vote against the legislation may be expelled from the party.
Kenny has claimed to reporters that the legislation “restates the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland,” and merely places into law an earlier Irish Supreme Court ruling that permitted abortion in such cases. However, critics note that the lack of a gestational age limit means that abortion would be available on-demand to any woman in Ireland who raises the threat of suicide.
As currently proposed, the law also lacks conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and other health care workers, and would force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.
Irish bishops have criticized the legislation in a May 3 statement, calling it “a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.” They also note that the legislation, if approved, would “make the direct and intentional killing of unborn children lawful.”
A BC spokesman told the Boston Globe, “Boston College invited Prime Minister Kenny to speak at our commencement in light of our long-standing connection with Ireland and our desire to recognize and celebrate our heritage … Our invitation is independent of the proposed bill that will be debated in the Irish parliament this summer.”