Archbishop Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston will not attend the May 20 commencement at Boston College, a prestigious Catholic institution in Massachusetts. This followed an announcement from the college that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny hs been invited as the featured commencement speaker. In addition, the college will award prime minister an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Kenny has been outspoken not only in condemning sexual abuse committed by Catholic clerics and religious in Ireland, but also favors loosening the country's legislation against abortion. By tradition, it is the archbishop of Boston who delivers a benediction at the college commencement.
“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach (prime minister) has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,’’ Cardinal O’Malley said in a May 10 statement. “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." This was in reference to an instruction issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that Catholic institutions such as Boston College not honor those whose views are inconsistent with the Church's teachings.
Cardinal O'Malley continued, "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.”
"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 resist appeals to liberalize its laws on abortion. “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.”
“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.”
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