May 10, 2013 (CNS) - Archdiocese of Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley said today that he plans to boycott Boston College's commencement ceremony May 20 because it will feature Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as its commencement speaker. The College is scheduled to award Kenny an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Kenny supports loosening the country's legislation against abortion.

“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach (prime minister) has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,’’ O’Malley said in a statement released this afternoon. “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," he added, referencing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops instruction that Catholic institutions not honor those whose views are inconsistent with the Church's teachings.

Traditionally, the Boston archbishop delivers the final benediction at Boston College's commencement each year.

Continued Cardinal O'Malley's statement:

The Irish Bishops have responded to that development (the introduction of pro-abortion legislation in Ireland) 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.”

"Boston College invited Prime Minister Kenny a year ago to speak at our commencement to celebrate its heritage and relationship with Ireland and our desire to recognize and celebrate our heritage," Boston College Spokesman Jack Dunn told the Boston Globe. "Our invitation is independent of the proposed bill that will be debated in the Irish parliament this summer."

In an interview with the Catholic Herald, Cardinal O'Malley urged Ireland to stand against pressures to legalize abortion.

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“Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life; everyone should resist abortion. Ireland has the good fortune, in part thanks to Catholic sensibilities, that her people have been opposed to abortion despite the great pressure that they have come under from secularising forces,” said Cardinal O'Malley. “Ireland should be very proud of its pro-life heritage and how traditionally there has been great importance given to human life. Every life counts, and I am very proud that in Ireland protection is given to life that is as vulnerable as the unborn.

"I hope that Ireland will continue to stand up against the pressures – I know the pressures are there. Pressure to legislate for abortion is a dehumanising force in our world. The laws have a function of teaching what is right and wrong. And simply because someone is going to do something, does not mean that we have to facilitate it, condone it, or encourage it.” 


Cardinal O'Malley's complete statement:

Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church’s social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.

Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. 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.
 

Reprinted with permission from the Catholic Education Daily