Editor's note: Students for Life of America have organized a demonstration to oppose the speech on Monday, May 20th, beginning with a prayer vigil and public witnessat 8 a.m. and a press conference at 9 a.m. at the corner of Chestnut Hill Dr. and Beacon St. in hestnut Hill, MA. It is near the driveway to Visitor Parking outside Alumni Stadium. Attendees, please RSVP on the Facebook Event page or email [email protected].
Correction – 05/17/13 at 8:10 am: The headline of this article originally stated, incorrectly, that Molly is a student at Boston College. She is, in fact, a student at Benedictine College. We apologize for the error.
BOSTON, May 16, 2013 (HLI Worldwatch) – Boston College (BC), a university that stands proudly within the Jesuit, Catholic tradition, has raised the ire of Catholics in the United States and Ireland by choosing to honor Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as its 2013 Commencement speaker. During the May 20 ceremony, the school’s leadership will also bestow on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The problem is this: the prime minister is currently pushing legislation to finally legalize abortion in pro-life Ireland, despite promises to the contrary during his campaign.
Thankfully, a movement has begun in opposition to Mr. Kenny’s appearance at BC due to his break with Catholic moral teaching. BC’s pro-life club asked the university to revoke the invitation, reasoning that a Catholic school should not honor those who openly support and promote abortion. When BC reaffirmed its decision to honor Mr. Kenny, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, announced his decision not to attend the BC Commencement, breaking the long-held tradition of the Boston Archbishop giving the final benediction to the new graduates.
Interestingly, Boston College doesn’t seem to see a problem with the decision to honor a pro-abortion politician to a Catholic school’s graduation. Indeed, BC’s spokesman Jack Dunn commented that he did not think the invitation should alienate the Church.
As a Catholic student, I find the university’s decision to be inadequate and insulting.
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The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has advised all Catholic institutions not to honor public officials who support and promote abortion, as it is “a crime against humanity.” There is little debate over the fact that Prime Minister Kenny has invited the legalization of this crime against humanity in Ireland. By inviting and honoring Kenny, Boston College is doing exactly what the USCCB has asked Catholic institutions not to do. This, I think, is a legitimate reason for disapproval from the Catholic world.
Ireland is one of the few countries today that has not joined in the holocaust of abortion, and Kenny, it seems, aims to change that. The bill that he is pushing, “The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013,” (which, unfortunately, does not refer to both lives in the equation, but only to that of the mother) says that a pregnancy may be terminated at a doctor’s discretion if it is done to save the mother’s life—even if she is the one endangering her own life by threatening suicide. The bill also does not provide conscience protection for Catholic doctors.
Since Irish law already allows for life-saving interventions, it is this suicide clause that will basically open the door to abortion-on-demand in pro-life Ireland, and it is unlikely that Mr. Kenny does not recognize this as the likely outcome of the proposed bill.
Nor is this Mr. Kenny’s first public opposition to the Church. Over the past two years, Kenny has tried to pass legislation that would force priests to break the seal of the confessional. He championed the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill, and even closed the Irish Embassy to the Holy See, after implying that Pope Benedict XVI tried to cover up sexual abuses.
And this, in the words of BC spokesman Dunn, is the “internationally respected leader with a well-known reputation for promoting human rights and causes of social justice,” who BC is going to honor at her commencement? This is the man who is going to speak to the new graduates before they go out into the world? This is the man who is going to give them advice on how to be successful in life?
As a Catholic College, Boston College has a bigger responsibility toward her students than a secular public school has to hers. In addition to academics, sports, extracurricular activities, etc., a Catholic school has the duty to provide her students with a Catholic education, and not simply to conform to secular academic fashion that decides which human beings may be denied their basic rights and their claim to “social justice.”
I chose to attend a Catholic university because I want a Catholic education, and want to be able to learn about and grow in my faith during my years at school. I want to be in an environment where that growth would be supported and encouraged, not scorned and disrespected by my teachers and peers. Don’t students who attend a Catholic college have the right to expect that events and activities sponsored by the school are in line with our Catholic faith? Is it not reasonable for us to expect that campus speakers are an example of how to live a good Christian life in the world today?
We are, after all, paying for a Catholic education.
By advertising itself as a Catholic school “committed to maintaining and strengthening the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the University,” Boston College has a duty to form her students with a solid Catholic education and provide opportunities for students to learn about and grow in their faith. Inviting a politician who supports moral evils, such as abortion, and opposes the Church’s teachings on such matters is not consistent with the duty of a Catholic university. This is why Cardinal O’Malley is right to show his disapproval of BC’s decision to honor Mr. Kenny.
Catholic college students everywhere should be outraged at Boston College for this insensitivity to her duty to her students, and to our Holy Church.
Molly Loesel is a communications intern at Human Life International. She is a junior at Benedictine College, a Catholic college founded on the Benedictine tradition, in Atchison, Kansas. Molly is studying Philosophy with minors in Communications and Theology.
This article originally appeared on HLI Worldwatch and is reprinted with permission.