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Cardinal O’Malley boycotts college ceremony in protest at Irish PM

By on Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, has said he plans to boycott Boston College’s commencement ceremony on Monday because Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is scheduled to speak at the event.

Traditionally, the Boston archbishop delivers the final benediction at Boston College’s annual commencement. But this year Mr Kenny, who has been pushing for a change to Ireland’s abortion law, is set to be awarded an honorary degree by the college. In a statement the archbishop said the Irish Prime Minister had been “aggressively promoting abortion legislation”.

“Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation,” he said.

In reference to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ instruction that Catholic institutions should not honour those whose views are contradict Church teachings, Cardinal O’Malley added: “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.”

Mr Kenny’s coalition government is preparing a law to allow abortions where a woman’s life is at risk or if she is deemed at risk of suicide. In his statement, Cardinal O’Malley went on to quote the Irish bishops, who say the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law”.

“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,” the statement continued.

“I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s social hospel and ‘men and women for others’ especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.”

Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn told the Boston Globe that the invitation to the Irish prime minister was made a year ago and with the aim being to celebrate the college’s “heritage and relationship with Ireland”.

“Our invitation is independent of the proposed bill that will be debated in the Irish parliament this summer,” he added.

In an interview in last week’s edition of The Catholic Herald, Cardinal O’Malley urged Irish politicians to not succumb to pressure to relax abortion laws.

“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,” he said.

  • teigitur

    Good for him. A true leader and shepherd of souls.Enda Kenny=David Steel.

  • Laurence

    Enda Kenny’s left hand, in common with all Irish politicians, does not know what his right hand is doing. Don’t be fooled by the ‘céad míle fáilte’, the guiness and the blarney, it’s all lies, always has been. Modern Ireland is about as far removed from the ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’, Comgall and Columbanus as modern Egypt from the Pharaohs.

  • arcadius

    Indeed it is sad that the EU has managed to do in a couple of decades what the English couldn’t accomplish in several centuries: turn Ireland against the Church.

  • Ghengis

    Either a college is Catholic or it is not. Schools that prostitute themselves for the sake of having the powerful and famous speak on campus makes them non-Catholic if those invited are anti Catholic in principles. O’Malley took a good step but more bishops need to be sterner and say to schools like Notre Dame, Boston College, and Georgetown to either get back to being Catholic or stop using the name Catholic.

  • teigitur

    Its a sad fact that the Church managed that pretty much on its own.

  • Anne

    We are fed up with all those “catholic” colleges and “universities”. promoting the gay lobby, while we never, ever, hear them moaning about the world wide ongoing oersecutions and slaughter of christians.
    Thank you cardinal O´Malley.
    But where are all the other bishops?
    We don´t haer enough condemnation.

  • John Sullivan

    I do have to laugh at the way that the international Irish diaspora is getting all so exercised over this issue of abortion, when in reality it is none of their business, especially Irish Americans.

    The issue that is going through the Irish Parliament concerning abortion at present is for Ireland and the Irish people. America has its own abortion laws, and they vary from state to state. So why are Irish Americans even voicing an opinion on the matter?

    On a separate but related issue, i notice the recent protest against the change in abortion laws by some women in Dublin who had had abortions and then felt suicidal. This, whilst being tragic, is not a cause for concern. Certainly THEY felt suicidal, but many women who have had a termination did not feel suicidal. Each person is different. And the only thing i would say to these women, is that you should not have opted for an abortion. But what happened to you does not apply to everyone else.

    Above all else, this whole issue, both these Dublin women, together with the war cries coming out of America over this issue, indicate 2 things. Firstly the Irish people must now learn to accept that the state is not there to do their thinking for them. WE must all take responsibility for our own decisions. And if those decisions cause us regret later in life, then so be it. It was your decision and no-one else’s.

    Secondly, Ireland is now on the cusp of becoming a mature democracy with cool rationality governing decision making, and leaving behind ‘group-think’. In doing so it will prove to itself and its own people, that whilst there is an Irish diaspora, based on a common history and lineage, there is NOT a diaspora based on mob-rule and histrionics. If that were the case, then Ireland would start to become a Catholic homeland as opposed to a Celtic homeland.

    And it is for this reason that Irish Americans should never fear losing contact with their spiritual homeland. For while Ireland will always be Celtic, and Christian, and possibly always Catholic, it may not always be ROMAN Catholic. And whilst i realise this is a Catholic website, surely even you good people must realise that what matters is that Ireland maintains its Christian heritage, whether that be Roman Catholic or Presbyterian, or Baptist or whatever. For me the divisions and schisms within Christianity have always been deeply political and utterly absurd.

  • Andrew Flanagan

    So be it, you say, john Sullivan. Do you have any memory of the last time such a sentiment was expressed?. Mt 27:25. “And the people every one of them shouted back: Let his blood be on us and on our children.” 30 years later the Romans raised Jerusalem to the ground. In our case we are already paying by the loss of all that made this a good country in which to live and rear a family. Our murder rate is up 3 to 400 fold in 50 years, with all other crimes increasing pari passu. 5 – 600 young men commit suicide every year in a country half the size of Birmingham. Every single public institution including Gardai, Customs and Excise and the Irish IRS is now under suspicion of corruption. Violent children have to be put into prison with hardened criminals because there is no longer any room in detention centres. But so be it. That is the open society that John Sullivan wants. So be it. Bring it on. Let’s have it all.

  • John Sullivan

    But that’s what we will all end up with anyway, whether we like it or not. The ONLY thing which can act as a measure of a nation or society’s inner strength, is the resolve of its citizens in their everyday lives.

    Any people that has to rely on its government or its state religion to tell them how to behave, will fail in the end. In this sense, government or church dictated morality and/or policy making in place of individual responsibility, is no different to government backed Keynesian economics when the economy is faltering. At best it is a quick fix to avoid huge collapses in demand which can cause worse economic problems later, or at worst it is a useless debt increasing policy which serves no other purpose other than to get the governing party re-elected.

    But either way, the money has to be paid back.

    And the same goes for issues of morality. Morality and ethics are ALWAYS an individual or family affair. And its not even that government or church should not get involved in ethical matters of this sort. Rather it is a case of them NOT being involved, even if they think they are.

    I’m not saying that the church should have no say on the issues of the day. But they should stick to discussing PUBLIC matters, namely things which affect the society as a whole. But the issue of abortion is a PRIVATE matter, and in the end the decision comes down to the pregnant woman, whether she wants the child or not. And if she chooses to abort the pregnancy, but later regrets it, then it will be her regret and nobody else’s. Nations and societies grow and mature this way, but Ireland seems to want to stay in the kindergarten of politics, not facing up to the reality of what happens EVERYDAY, when Irish women travel to England for an abortion.

    In the same way as in the USA and UK, when the banks were bailed out, the public complained that the governments were ‘privatizing the profits and socializing the losses’, so too are the Irish government socialising the ethical losses of abortion. When a woman chooses to abort a pregnancy, she must be FORCED to face the consequences of her own decision, and not given a ‘get out of jail free’ card which says ‘we do not approve of your decision, but you can go to England to get it done if you want to’. Not only is this being immoral to the rest of Irish society by forcing them to live in a fool’s ethical paradise’, it won’t work anyway. Because unless you prevent the pregnant woman from travelling abroad when she is pregnant just on the suspicion she may seek a termination, she is going to go to England to get an abortion anyway. AND, if she is one of the aforementioned women who may regret their decision later in life, then she’s going to regret it irrespective of what was said before, during and after the whole fiasco. And the only net end result from the whole saga, is that the Irish people will continue to pretend that Ireland is morally pure and decent, and that England is a moral cesspit, when neither is the case.

    The true measure of a country’s policy on abortion is the number of women who have had abortions that are living and working in that country, whilst carrying that country’s passport.

    And i dare say that in Dublin alone, there are probably thousands of women who harbour such a secret. Maybe even tens of thousands. Its time they came out of the shadows.

  • Tridentinus

    So abortion is a private matter is it? So if I want to kill someone it is a private matter and neither the State nor the Church should say a word?

    You are saying that because a woman is going to England to kill her child, she might as well save the money and inconvenience and do it at home.

    Whatever about Ireland being moral and pure, I wouldn’t be to sure about England not being a moral cesspit

  • Laurence

    Two things Mr. O’Sullivan,

    “The issue that is going through the Irish Parliament concerning abortion at present is for Ireland and the Irish people.”

    Where’s the referendum?

    ” Ireland is now on the cusp of becoming a mature democracy with cool rationality governing decision making, and leaving behind ‘group-think’”
    Brilliant!…wait a minute…I don’t see this happening…some concrete examples please that don’t involve easy strokes of the pen.

  • John Sullivan

    Abortion IS a private matter, because it cannot possibly be anything else. And the reason is; that whilst we on this blog may have an opinion on the matter, the woman’s decision is not going to impact our lives one bit. That is the definition of ‘private’.

    And to compare abortion with murder is ridiculous. Murder impacts national and domestic security in a way that abortion never can.

    I have never espoused an abortion on demand free for all, but the current debate over this issue is stunted. It has for far too long been the preserve of people who have an opinion about everything, and not those who have proper and reasoned arguments. This has led to a highly vocal campaign which has more in common with the middle east than northern Europe.

    Naturally politics is about finding a sensible middle path, and Enda Kenny’s proposal of 1, 2 and 3 doctors, depending on the circumstances, is a stroke of political genius and downright common sense. Ireland is very lucky to have him as Prime Minister at this difficult time.

    You may not realise it, but in 20 or 30 years time, he will be seen as the man that cleared a lot of the clutter and hypocrisy from the Irish psyche. He’s a great man.

  • Frank

    All of your posts in the previous article on this subject.were answered.
    Abortion kills an unborn child.
    Mr. Kenny made promises before his election did he not?
    Read the SPUC assessment of the proposed law changes because, as they point out the suggestions are even worse than the UK.
    Do those who would promote abortion respect national boundaries?
    Depending on whose figures you read there are about 200K abortions each year in the UK alone.
    People in other countries have experience of what happens when abortion is freely available.
    You still have the chance to do something to stop it.

  • Frank

    A great man does not introduce abortion on demand when he has promised not to do so.

  • bluesuede

    Do you have a crystal ball? If you do, then you’re ignoring the social upheaval that goes on in countries where abortion is legal. You are obviously pro-abort because you show little compassion for those mothers who have deeply regretted and are haunted by the terrible action they took to kill their baby in the womb. You underestimate the power of being Roman Catholic. Not just any Chiristian religion is the same. It is purely secular to say that Christian divisions have always been political. It’s much more spiritual than that. Henry the 8th, dumped the Church because of his purely selfish desire to divorce and remarry, which, as you know, was against his Catholic teaching, so he just got rid of it. I’ll grant you, that he used his political power to hide behind. Deep down, the reasons for schisms and protestations, are always personal choices first, albeit, the Martin Luther did name some errors that the Church was practicing at the time, but that was only one reason he protested. He had many other personal ambitions to satisfy. Remaining faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, remains faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ himself. Roman Catholic Ireland, along with Chile, also Roman Catholic, are the only countries in the world who have the lowest maternal death rate and the best maternal health care. That should mean a lot to women who want to keep their babies and their health.

  • James Harvey

    Don’t blame the EU. As an Irishman I can tell you that the faith for many Irish Catholics was no more than conforming to a social convention. It was the so-called Celtic Tiger, the love of money and the illusion of sophistication which led many to reject faith. While the abuse crisis also did a lot of damage, the rebellion against faith had already begun: the abuse crisis gave tremendous ammunition to those who needed something to demonise Christianity. As for abortion: I personally think many in Ireland would now favour it. Christian Ireland still exists, but now it is only a remnant. That is not bad though, we in the Church here can now start a serious reform. Bishops have yet to see this though.

  • James Harvey

    He is not a great man. He is hack local politician now in the limelight and puffed up with arrogance. He has broken his promise of protecting unborn life, and having no principles, he will force his way on the people of Ireland. Talking with him it is obvious he is not an intelligent man, nor a deep thinker, just a local politician who does what he can to feather his own nest. He will introduce abortion, and then when thousands of children are being killed each year, he’ll just dismiss it and say it has nothing to do with him. We have a word to describe such public figures: a Gombeen.

  • Katy

    I agree James, he is not a great man, but I think he is a cunning one. When abortion is established and all its fruits become obvious such as lowering life expectation throughout hospitals in general and having to import doctors who are happy to obey the law, the likes of Kenny will do a Pilate and blame it on the foreign woman who died and brought this cause to his attention. He is not a moral man.

  • lroy77

    Proud that he is cardinal in my Archdiocese. Of course, you all have to go to the South end of Boston (the North End is Italians and you know the Irish and Italians are likethis).

  • lroy77

    It is not a private matter, because only God knows what would’ve that person have become. It means that society has one less doctor, lawyer, priest, minister, administrative assistant, or any of a thousand other professions. It means there is one less person in this world who can’t contribute and benefit society as a whole. It is a VERY public matter.

  • lroy77

    The definition of murder is that it is the deliberate destruction of a human being. That is what abortion is.

  • lroy77

    It is not a private matter, because only God knows what would’ve that
    person have become. It means that society has one less doctor, lawyer,
    priest, minister, administrative assistant, or any of a thousand other
    professions. It means there is one less person in this world who can’t
    contribute and benefit society as a whole. It is a VERY public matter.

  • Liam Ronan

    I am reminded of the 1919 poem, The Second Coming, written our Irish poet William Butler Yeats:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  • Romulus

    Rubbish. It most certainly is the business of Irish Americans if honors are being granted on their turf, by an American institution.

  • teigitur

    I think you are correct on everything except on abortion. I think a majority still think its wrong.

  • John Sullivan

    How do you know that the aborted foetus would have grown up to become a doctor, a lawyer, a priest or minister?

    Perhaps they might have grown up to become a mass murderer, or serial killer, or war criminal.

  • Mack

    One would think that a prime minister would understand that murdering children is wrong.

  • Fr. Seán

    I am pleased that Cardinal O’ Malley gave a firm lead in this matter. On no account should Enda Kenny be a commencement speaker in a Catholic university, nor should he receive a degree in laws (even if it is an honorary one). His aggressive promotion of abortion, properly described by Cardinal Seán O’ Malley as a crime against humanity, is something which disqualifies him from being worthy to be granted an honorary degree. The fact that it is in law makes the award particularly galling.

  • Mary Pettifor

    Ireland is, was and please God always will be a ROMAN CATHOLIC country with all that entails including freedom from the scourge of abortion. John Sullivan, your pick’n’mix brand of Catholicism is as outdated as Woolworths.

  • Arden Forester

    Secularists have managed to get into every part of Christendom rather like a Trojan horse or maybe a very pecky cuckoo. The only thing anyone can do is try to resist their blandishments and pressures.

  • Gabriella Valente

    Father Groschel foresaw the death of Catholic colleges in the 1980s, apparently he was right.